WE ARE HAVING A FAMILY HOLIDAY IN VIETNAM OVER THE CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR PERIOD, WITH CHILDREN AGED TWELVE AND SEVENTEEN. WE LIKE BEACHES, NATURE, HISTORY AND ART. SHOULD WE GO TO NORTH OR SOUTH VIETNAM? F. FITZPATRICK, PUTNEY NSW
Definitely south at this time of the year. Although it's dry and pleasantly cool in the north, the mist can hang around for days, which is not so bad in Hanoi but not great in the northern hills around Sapa or out on the waters of Ha Long Bay. Further south, the north-east monsoon, which affects Central Vietnam, should be tailing off, but you can still expect showers in the region around Hue and Hoi An, with a possibility of typhoons along the coast. Getting towards Ho Chi Minh City, rainfall drops off quite sharply so the beach resort of Nha Trang is one of the sweet spots at this time of the year, and the same applies to Mui Ne, which has developed as a watersports centre.
The end of the year is the dry season in the south, a great time for exploring the towns, cities and backwaters of the Mekong Delta. Ho Chi Minh City is also less afflicted by tropical humidity and temperatures. The city puts on its party hat to celebrate Christmas, a great time to be there.
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