With summer temperatures reaching up to 37 degrees Celsius in many parts of Vietnam, here are some suggestions for those seeking shelter from the heat.
At an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, Sa Pa, a highlands resort town in northern Lao Cai Province, has a cool climate all year round.
During the month of June, July, August and September you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius. Especially, in the early morning and after 5 p.m., Sa Pa’s temperature drops to 16 degree Celsius, making it ideal to enjoy signature dishes like salmon hotpot and grilled skewers.
For those who want to get away from the extreme summer heat, it’s a great experience to conquer Fansipan, dubbed ‘the Roof of Indochina’ at a height of 3,134 meters (10,312 feet) where travelers can enjoy temperatures of about 10 degrees Celsius.
Around 70 kilometers from Sa Pa, small and dreamy Y Ty Commune enjoys a year-round cool atmosphere with average temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius during the summer, dropping to 17-18 degrees at night.
Lying at a height of 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level, Y Ty allows you to actually touch and walk in the clouds. On cold days, temperatures drop to below 5 degrees Celsius as clouds swoop down over the valleys and villages.
Y Ty is known as ‘the Land of Fog’ due to the clouds that cover it all year round and rarely let sunlight in. The area is famous for its winding roads, tranquil valleys, magnificent terraces, and small, simple ethnic houses.
There are no hotels or resorts in Y Ty yet. But some homestays here cost only around VND70,000 ($3) a night, inclusive of electricity, tap water and Wi-Fi. Since Y Ty is a rural commune still trapped in poverty, it would be difficult to find many tourism services here. There are just a handful of restaurants.
Mau Son rises more than one kilometer above sea level in Lang Son Province, 170 kilometers (106 miles) to the northeast of Hanoi. Here visitors can experience spring, summer, autumn, and winter all in a single day.
In summer, the highest temperature in Mau Son is 27 degrees Celsius but at night travelers can enjoy chilly weather with a temperature drop to 16 degrees. The mountainous town used to be the favorite attraction for the French upper class in Vietnam with dozens of French-built villas and old houses now left abandoned.
Mau Son is home to Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities, though their populations are small. Visitors to Mau Son during May and June every year will have the chance to see locals cultivate rice on terraces hugging anise forests. Besides rice, locals use their fields to plant corn in early summer, presenting a completely different look.
Hoang Su Phi
Hoang Su Phi, a mountainous district in the northern province of Ha Giang, is much loved by visitors thanks to its fresh and cool weather, wild nature and majestic mountain scenery. In the middle of summer, visitors can still enjoy the cold weather and catch the fog through the windows of stilt houses in the early morning.
At night, temperatures in Hoang Su Phi drop to only 21 degrees Celsius.
There are just over 50,000 inhabitants subsisting on rice cultivation, with new crops planted in summer in preparation for harvest in September and October.
One of the most ideal destinations for a summer hideout is Tam Dao, or ‘three islands’ in Vietnamese, a hill town in Vinh Phuc Province, around 90 kilometers from Hanoi.
Tam Dao has been almost a cliche in the capital’s guidebooks for weekend escapes ever since the French visited the area in the late 19th century. Hanoians too have begun to flock there to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. A two-hour ride from the capital offers a sea of clouds and a maze of hidden gems.
Tam Dao is dubbed a ‘dreamy land’ by travel bloggers since everything in the town is engulfed in clouds.
Today, Tam Dao teems with villas, hotels and even luxury resorts. Spend a little time to discover an old stone church as built by the French in 1912. It is situated in a nice, high spot right in the town center, from where you can view the entire area.
Situated 160 kilometers south of Hanoi and 130 kilometers northwest of Thanh Hoa Town, Pu Luong National Reserve in Thanh Hoa Province spreads over 17,662 hectares, including natural forests, falls, caves, and mountains. Dispersed throughout the area are peaceful Thai and Muong ethnic minority villages.
The nature reserve is located in the lowland limestone mountains, surrounded by tropical forests so the weather is always cool, even in summer with temperatures at around 20 degrees Celsius.
Lodging services, including homestays, hostels, hotels and resorts, are widely available in Pu Luong. Since Pu Luong is a national reserve, lodgings there all follow ecotourism principles. Therefore, hotel rooms come without common services like private televisions or air conditioners.
Mooc Stream, which is only 20 minutes from world-famous Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park by car, lies in a valley of limestone mountains in Phuc Trach Commune, Bo Trach District and has become an emerging summer escape destination in the central province of Quang Binh. In summer, water temperatures range from 16-18 degrees Celsius, luring people to jump in to beat the heat.
Mooc Stream has yet to be featured on tourist maps, unlike famous Nhat Le Beach or Son Doong, the world’s largest and arguably most magnificent cave. Enjoy nature at Mooc Stream in your own way: swimming, rope-swinging, kayaking, rowing or night camping.
The stream is open from the early hours of the morning until 4 p.m. daily. At noon, visitors can feast on dishes including grilled chicken, grilled pork, fried stream fish with rice balls and sticky rice. Visitors are provided plastic gloves to eat since there are no chopsticks or drinking glasses available.
Ba Na Hills
Ba Na mountain region in Da Nang is known as the “green lung” and “climate pearl” of the central region. Standing atop Chua Mountain at 1,487 meters above sea level, Ba Na Hills was first developed by the French in the 1920s, who escaped the summer heat for its cool, mountain air. Given the chilly weather and cool temperature, it is now a popular tourist destination for misty summer hideaways.
Despite it being summer, temperatures on Ba Na Hills range from 17 to 23 degrees Celsius. In recent years, tourism services have reached the cool town with the 150-meter-long Golden Bridge acquiring global fame.
Bach Ma National Park
Due to its proximity to the sea, the weather in Bach Ma National Park in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue is similar to that of Tam Dao and Sa Pa, with temperatures reaching 18 to 23 degrees Celsius in summer. The climate of Bach Ma is considered by foreign experts as one of the most pleasant in the regional mountains, home to many deserted villas formerly used by colonial French officers and Hue’s upper-class families to escape the summer heat. After the French left Vietnam in 1954, the hill resort was soon forgotten.
Bach Ma National Park covers a total 37,500 hectares, embracing a diverse landscape and hosting more than 2,300 plant and 1,700 animal species. There are many species that require protection in the forest, including red-shanked douc langur, sao la, white pheasant, Fujian cypress, and agarwood.
Following a 20-kilometer road leading to the summit of Bach Ma mountain at 1,450 meters, visitors might feel like they are surfing the clouds. The journey always starts gently with a drive up the mountain to a two-floor roundhouse known as Vong Hai Dai that acts as viewpoint and rest-stop. The trail then winds past five pristine lakes and waterfalls.
When you Google where to escape the summer heat, Da Lat would be the most preferred destination. The Central Highlands town in Lam Dong Province boasts a year-round cool climate rarely found in a tropical country like Vietnam. It was once a summer hideout for French officials during the colonial period who built villas in the hills to escape the heat and humidity of the lowlands.
From April to June, the town is at its mystical best, when thick clouds and fog envelop mountaintops and valleys, dispersing in dreamy fashion as the sun comes up. During summer, daytime temperatures are around 22 degrees Celsius and drop to 16 degrees at night.
The New York Times named Da Lat among the world’s 52 must-visit places in 2016 while TripAdvisor readers ranked it in the top 10 list of rising destinations in Asia.