Vietnam Surfing Information

Contents of this article
  • Wind info for Vietnam seasons
  • Types of waves in Vietnam
  • Best surf season based on skill level
  • Wetsuits and water temp in Vietnam
  • Surfing in Vietnam: rentals and guides
  • Local surfers and localism in Vietnam
  • Pre-trip tips for surfing in Vietnam

This article is useful for those who are looking for overseas surf trip destinations, interested in a surf trip to Vietnam, planning to move to Vietnam, or looking for available overseas surf points.

Table of Contents

Surfing Overview

Waves in Vietnam are generated by seasonal winds

Vietnam’s surfing season is divided into two: the winter season from October to April with northeast winds and swells, and the summer season from May to September with southwest winds and swells. In the winter, seasonal winds blow from the northeast, while in the summer, they blow from the southwest.

Winter Season Winds and Waves

In the winter season, strong wind waves arrive from the north in cycles of several days to a week due to the seasonal winds. The waves improve when the seasonal winds weaken. The winter surf season starts as early as October when the northeast wind sets in. Winter swells can last until the end of May. Long period ground swells sometimes arrive during this season. However, even when waves are head high or bigger, they tend to have short periods and narrow, packed up wave faces. In winter, the waves can bring long and good rides that are 200m to over 800m long to unpopulated point breaks throughout Vietnam. These unpopulated point breaks are one of the charms of surfing in Vietnam.

Summer Season Winds and Waves

During summer, weak waves with short rides arrive from the south due to seasonal winds from the nearby sea. The summer waves from the south are mostly knee to chest high, even when they are big. The best spots to catch these waves are mainly located in the southern part of Binh Thuan Province, where Phan Thiet and Mui Ne are located, or on the islands off the coast.

In the northern part of Ninh Thuan Province, where Nui Chua National Park and Phan Rang are located, and in places like Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Hue, there are often long flat spells with no waves. However, there are occasionally small waves that can be ridden with mid-length or longboards when the weak summer wind waves arrive from the southeast. Although the summer waves are mostly short rides under 30 meters, there are also uncrowded point breaks that provide long rides.

Typhoon swell

The best typhoon swell season in Vietnam is in the fall. Vietnam usually has around 5 to 10 chances for typhoon swells each year, and there are years where there are more or fewer chances. However, typhoons can also make landfall in Vietnam, causing disaster.

Typhoon swell delivers the best waves to the empty point breaks across Vietnam. For Vietnam’s typhoon swell forecasts, the monthly typhoon path maps on the South China Sea for the years between 2020 – 2007 page can be helpful.

The best time of the year for waves

Vietnam Surf Spot: Da Nang

The season of transition between two seasons is the period in Vietnam with the highest probability of good waves. This season of transition occurs twice a year, and the timing varies each year but is generally from September to mid-November in the autumn, and from mid-January to around May in the spring. The line of seasonal transition moves down from the north in autumn and up from the south in spring. The difference in seasons between the sea and the land during this transition period creates excellent surfing conditions.

During the transition from autumn to winter, the sea in the north starts to produce waves as it gets colder and sends them to the Vietnamese coastline, while the winds over the land are still relatively weak, and it still feels somewhat like autumn. This time of year offers excellent climate and wave conditions, and there is also a high possibility of typhoon swells, making it the season with the highest probability of good waves in Vietnam.

During the transition from winter to spring, the sea is still cold and produces waves from the north, while the winds over the land are getting weaker as spring approaches. This transition period from winter to spring lasts for several months and offers good surfing conditions as the seasons shift back and forth. Therefore, like the autumn transition period, it is the time with the highest probability of good waves.

Sea Water Temperature and Wetsuits

The coast of Vietnam faces the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, both of which have warm water temperatures year-round. However, on the South China Sea side, the water temperature differs around Nha Trang. The northern part is designated as Zone A, while the southern part is designated as Zone B. Further details are described in the “Wetsuit Index and Sea Water Temperature in Vietnam” section below.

Waves and Wind Overview

This table does not take into account typhoon swells. Taking typhoon swells into consideration along with this table, it is possible to make a wave forecast that takes into account all waves in Vietnam.

Wave heights in Vietnam

Wave Height in Vietnam

In Vietnam, wave heights during the summer months from June to August are small and weak with a southerly swell, typically ranging from flat to waist-high. From around September, the wave size starts to increase slightly, and some days with sets up to chest-high may appear. In October, there are more days with sets up to waist- to chest-high, and the winter surf season begins. In November, there are many days with sets up to chest- to head-high, and the winter waves start to arrive in full force.

December and January see the peak of the winter season with the strongest swells and winds, bringing waves above head height. From February to March, there are still periodic winter swells with waves ranging from chest- to shoulder-high. In April, the summer swells begin to mix in, and the wave sizes start to drop to waist- to chest-high. In May, there are still occasional sets up to chest-high, but the frequency decreases. Also, the waves and currents become weaker as the summer approaches. From June to August, except for typhoons, small summer waves return.

Wave Quality in Vietnam

The evaluation of wave quality is highest during the two seasonal transitions in autumn and spring, when there are distant swells and weak winds on land. There are fewer days with good waves compared to the seasonal transitions, but high-quality waves with good size are still present in December and January. Typhoons can also bring the highest and strongest waves with good quality.

Wind Strength in Vietnam

In Vietnam, winds are typically weaker in the morning, making it the best time for good wave conditions. However, during the strong seasonal winds in the summer and winter, particularly when the summer or winter feels strong, onshore winds can blow strongly in the morning. Therefore, it cannot be said that the morning is always the best. However, to avoid missing the timing when the wind weakens, it is recommended to check the waves in the morning. It is clear that checking the waves three times a day, in the morning, noon, and evening, has a higher probability of finding good waves than checking only twice a day in the afternoon and evening. Since wave conditions can change drastically in a matter of hours due to the timing of swells, winds, and tides, it is ideal to check the waves frequently.

Best Surfing Seasons for Different Skill Levels

Beginners: For those who are new to surfing or beginner surfers, the best seasons for surfing are from around April, when the current calms down after the spring transition period, to early October, before the autumn transition period. In winter, the ocean currents are strong, and the waves are big, making it dangerous for surfing. Many surf cities in Vietnam offer surfing experiences and lessons. For those who are new to surfing, Danang, which has both a great city and tourist experience, is the best option. Fanthiet might also be a good choice for those living in Ho Chi Minh City.

Intermediate: For surfers who can catch waves and ride sideways by themselves, the good surfing seasons are from the latter half of the transitional period in the spring when the current begins to settle down to the first half of the transitional period in the fall around early October when the wind and current are weak in the winter. Vietnam is ideal for intermediate level surfers.

Advanced: For independent surfers with experience in surf trips overseas, the seasons with good surfing conditions are from the transitional period in the fall to winter and spring. From late October to around February, there are days with large sizes and northeast onshore winds. However, there are still places where you can surf during such times. Also, it would be interesting to chase typhoon swells. There are still undiscovered points in the region that do not even have names.

Expert surfers: Vietnam is not suitable for surfers seeking waves over head high, tube waves, or surfing only in offshore or no-wind conditions. It is rare for Vietnam to have good conditions with waves over head high. Most good waves in Vietnam are 2-4 ft. (waist to head high). While there are tube waves in Vietnam, they are few compared to Indonesia. Vietnam often has onshore winds during the monsoon season, making it difficult to find consistent clean conditions. Therefore, I think experts should consider other countries.

Wetsuits and Seawater Temperature

The seawater temperature in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, which are adjacent to the coastline of Vietnam, is warm throughout the year, but a wetsuit may be necessary depending on the time and location, particularly on the South China Sea side. Wetsuits are needed north of the boundary line around Dai Lanh and Ninh Hoa during winter. This is displayed as Zone A in the image. Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, and other areas to the north of this boundary line fall under Zone A, and it is recommended to wear a 3mm full wetsuit or a shorty wetsuit during the winter. This table assumes average seawater temperatures, and it is advisable to take UV protection measures throughout Vietnam throughout the year.

Zone A – Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An

Zone A – Huế, Đà Nẵng, Hội An

In winter, areas where wetsuits such as springsuits, shorties, and 3mm fullsuits are necessary. The rainy and dry seasons vary depending on the region.

From north to south

Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, other remote northern northern islands, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Tam Ky, Quang Ngai, Ly Son Island, Binh Dinh, Quy Nhon, Song Cau, Tuy Hoa, Dai Lanh, Ninh Hoa.

In January and February, the sea temperature drops the most in the A zone. It drops to the same level as Shonan in early June or early November. In January and February, you will want a wetsuit for water temperature, air temperature, and wind protection. However, when the wind is weak and the temperature is high, a spring suit is sometimes enough.

In March, the water temperature begins to rise. When the wind is strong and cold, a seagull or spring suit is necessary, and when the wind is weak and warm, a long-sleeved tapper is enough to get into the water.

In April, the sea temperature continues to rise. Depending on the climate, you can surf in a spring suit, tapper, bikini, or trunks.

From May to October, a wetsuit is not necessary. Both water and air temperatures are high enough that even those who are sensitive to the cold won’t feel the need for a wetsuit. However, in May and October of 2022, the sea temperature was low enough to require a wetsuit.

Around November, there are days when a wetsuit is desired. In a year when winter has fully set in and the north wind is strong, surfers may want to wear a spring suit or a 3mm full suit in November for wind protection.

In December, the sea temperature drops, and a spring suit or a seagull suit is necessary for an average surfer. On days with weak winds and warm temperatures, long-sleeved tappers are also an option, but on days with strong winds and low temperatures, a 3mm full suit may be desired.

Zone B – Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Vung Tau

Even in winter, it is possible to surf in areas where a long-sleeved tapper or spring wetsuit is available. In winter, the temperature can drop to about 20°C. Although they may not be used often, I think it’s good for those who feel the cold to have a seagull wetsuit. In winter, the temperature can drop to around 20°C. However, it’s good to have a pair of seagull when you’re feeling cold.

From north to south

Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, Nui Chua National Park, Phan Rang, Phan Thiet, Mui Ne, Ke Ga, La Gi, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc Island, Nam Du Island, Tho Chu Island, Thu = Phu Quy Island, Mekong and other remote islands in the south.

We have designated the area including Nha Trang as Zone B. In Zone B, the sea temperature is 24°C even in winter. The sea temperature is like a perpetual summer, equivalent to Shonan in late July or mid-September. Therefore, except for times when the wind is strong or the temperature is low, surfing is possible year-round in Zone B without a wetsuit. However, the winter swells in Vietnam are caused by seasonal winds from the north, which can lower the temperature. Therefore, at least for protection against the cold due to temperature and wind, I think it is good to have a long-sleeved tapper or spring wetsuit.

When it comes to choosing a wetsuit, it’s best to make a decision based on destination information just before going to Vietnam. This is because there are regional differences and the length and characteristics of winter vary from year to year. Therefore, there are two key points to consider when choosing a wetsuit. One is whether the water and air temperatures are typically low during the winter season, and the other is whether you will be surfing even in strong winds. If so, it’s important to choose a wetsuit that can protect you from the cold.

Seawater temperature data source: Surf-forecast

Surfing Experience

If you want to enjoy the city, go to Da Nang

For many, Da Nang is a great place to start surfing, with surf spots all over the city.

If you love nature, go to Nha Trang

With clean seawater and sandy beaches, Bai Dai Nha Trang is the perfect place to experience surfing in Vietnam.

If you want a local experience, go to Phan Thiet

Phan Thiet is probably the best place to start surfing, with a mild climate all year round and a high frequency of small waves.

Surfboard Rental

If it’s your first time surfing, go for a rental board

For those who are trying surfing for the first time, I recommend renting a board on-site. There are rental board services available in each area, so please search for them.

Experienced surfers should challenge themselves with their own board

If you can catch waves on your own, I think you’ll definitely have more fun surfing with your own board.

Surf Guide

Why you need a surf guide in the first place

The main reason why surf guides are needed in any country or region is because there are territorial surfers who claim certain surf points, and also because of transportation issues such as not knowing the surf point situation or having a driver’s license or rental car. The biggest problem is when there are territorial surfers at the surf point, and this is something that individuals cannot handle.

Becoming a small group of surfers

In Vietnam, there are no malicious surfers who claim surf points, so you can surf at any point you like at any time. As long as you have one or two surfers in your group, there should be no problem at any surf point.

Grasping surf spot location information and overcoming language barriers

Knowing when and where to surf for your own benefit is solved by having surf spot information and being able to move freely across language barriers. Surf spot information can be found on this website. Moving around can be done with Grab Car. Alternatively, it’s a good idea to find a serious local interpreter to accompany you on your trip. If you find a serious driver who speaks the language, you can kill two birds with one stone by having a driver and interpreter.

Local Surfers

Increasing number of Vietnamese surfers

According to SayamaMove’s sense of values, there are only about 500 to 1,000 surfers in Vietnam as a whole, which is quite low. There are even fewer surfers who go into the sea frequently or surf all year round.


There is no localism where there are no surfers

It is possible to have private use of the finest machine wave.

Surfing localism in Vietnam is absent or loosely present in some areas. Looking at Vietnam as a whole, there are no surfers in most areas, so it can be said that there is no localism in all areas. Incidentally, the only places where we saw surfers in the ocean on our journey across Vietnam in 2019 were in Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet.

Local information written by a Japanese surfer living in Vietnam


From here on, we will introduce useful local information to know.


In urban areas, the number of young people who can speak English is increasing. Occasionally, there are also people who speak Japanese. The good thing about Southeast Asia is that you can somehow manage even if you don’t understand the local language. In Da Nang, from 2016 to 2023, the use of English has become much more popular and convenient.


The population of Vietnam is about 100 million people throughout the country, making it the 15th most populous country in the world. As of 2023, the estimated number of surfers, including SUP surfers riding waves, is between 500 and 1,000 based on an estimation. The number of people considered as surfers can vary, but even taking that into account, it is still a very small number.

Safety and Trust

Good Public Safety and Nighttime Mobility in Vietnam

There are few serious crimes involving foreigners in Vietnam. In some areas, there may be theft or snatch-and-run incidents, but it is generally safe to walk around at night. Overall, the safety situation is good, and it is considered an ideal overseas surf trip destination.

Airplane Travel

Use flight search sites and apps

We use airline ticket search sites such as Skyscanner to search for routes to the destination. Then, we purchase airline tickets directly from the website of each airline. Vietnam has airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways. If you are traveling domestically, it is best to choose Vietnam Airlines, which has fewer delays.

Check the surfboard charge

Before purchasing a plane ticket, check if the surfboard is of the allowable size and confirm the cost. After purchasing the ticket, it is recommended to contact the airline to reconfirm the 3-side size, quantity, and weight of the surfboard case along with the reservation information. The surfboard charge price is not stable and fluctuates. It is better to expect that the price may differ depending on the situation and not become a surfer who complains at the airport counter. If the surfboard is damaged during transportation by air, it will be considered a disclaimer.

Getting around in the city

Ride-hailing apps such as Grab

When it comes to getting around by car during your travels, ride-hailing apps like Grab are cheap and convenient. Grab allows you to set your pick-up and drop-off locations on the app, so you don’t need to know Vietnamese for the entire process. Plus, if you set up credit card payments, you don’t need cash. You just select card payment, call a ride on the app, get in, the card is automatically charged, and then you get out. If there are any issues, you can contact Grab through the app to report route problems or request a refund.


Traditional taxis in Vietnam often have old vehicles and may refuse short trips, making the fare expensive. Nevertheless, if you take a taxi, choose the green MaiLinh Taxi.

I once took a taxi in Hanoi where the meter rate went up at a crazy speed, but I quickly got off and didn’t pay. The driver didn’t resist much because it happened in the city and he didn’t want to attract the attention of the police. If this happened in a less crowded area and the victim was an inexperienced traveler, the situation could have been worse. On the other hand, the impression of MaiLinh Taxi drivers that I saw at the Muong Manh rural station was very good. This difference in region and individual is Vietnam.

Transporting a surfboard by car

When transporting a surfboard by car, it’s possible to fit even a longboard if you choose a seven-seater model. However, there is often a refusal to carry them. For surfboards over 9 feet, it’s better to arrange for a larger vehicle called “Transit.” The surfboard needs to be carried inside the car, as it cannot be placed on the roof.

Type of vehicle: Transit

Bike rental

It’s not recommended as it’s high-risk, but it’s cost-effective if there are no traffic accidents or motorcycle thefts. You can rent one for about 100,000 dong per day or 1,500,000 dong per month. Rental motorcycle shops are everywhere, and they are easy to find in tourist areas. You can also arrange for one at your accommodation reception. Insurance is usually not included in rental motorcycles, and there are also shops that rent motorcycles without a business permit. Motorcycle repair costs, theft, and injury treatment costs are borne by the renter. Depending on the severity of the injury, if you need to be transported to Singapore or Thailand, the out-of-pocket expense may exceed 10 million yen paid in advance.

Currency Exchange

Exchange money at local jewelry stores

The best way to exchange currency is to either exchange only the minimum amount necessary in your home country, or to exchange currency at a local jewelry store after arriving in the destination country. Bringing Japanese yen or US dollars and exchanging them locally in Vietnam provides the best exchange rate and lower fees.

The exchange rate gets better in the order of jewelry stores, hotels, and airports, with a difference of 5-10% or more. It’s convenient to receive half of the exchanged banknotes in green 100,000 dong bills (about 500 yen) and half in blue 500,000 dong bills (about 2,500 yen). Since many people in Vietnam do not carry change, a combination of 50,000 dong and 100,000 dong bills is also useful for amounts of a few tens of thousands of yen.

Withdrawing Local Currency at an ATM

One safe way to obtain local currency is through cash advance on your credit card. The fee is around ¥200-¥300 per ¥10,000 and the exchange rate is not very favorable as it is based on the card company’s own rate. However, it is not a bad deal if you consider it as a fee for safety. There are many ATMs along major roads and near banks, which you can use to withdraw cash. Since the ATM instructions are not in Japanese, it is recommended to select “English” for easier operation.

The withdrawal limit per transaction is around VND 2,000,000-3,000,000 (JPY 1,000-1,500 or USD 10-15). You need to repeat the process until you reach the amount you need. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there are also ATMs that allow withdrawals of more than VND 5,000,000. If you use this cash advance method, it is recommended to set the repayment to one-time payment in advance to minimize the interest. Another recommended method is to use a debit card with a “PLUS” or “CIRRUS” logo and withdraw local currency at overseas ATMs using your card’s debit function. In Vietnam, it is common to have trouble withdrawing money from ATMs, so it is advisable to bring some JPY 10,000 bills or USD 100 bills to avoid this risk.

If you plan to spend a lot of money, it is recommended to bring cash and go to a jewelry store. Bringing cash into Vietnam is easy, but there are restrictions on the amount of cash you can carry out.


Choosing a hotel near the surf spot

For short-term stays, it’s best to choose a hotel within walking distance of a surf point that seems to have good conditions at that time. For medium to long-term stays, I think serviced apartments with furniture and appliances are good. For experienced travelers, even for short-term stays, apartments are often more comfortable to live in.

Search on the Internet

To find accommodations, use Google Maps, accommodation reservation sites such as Airbnb and Using an accommodation reservation site may be cheaper than booking directly with the hotel. If you are already in the area, you may be able to negotiate the lowest price by speaking face-to-face with the reception desk of the hotel in question. If you plan to stay in Vietnam for a long time, keep in mind that choosing accommodations also means choosing accommodation owners, which can help reduce problems during and after the contract period.


Souvenirs are experiences in the local area

Our recommended souvenirs are experiences in the local area, touching on foreign cultures, and feeling the differences from one’s own country. Additionally, Vietnam has a thriving manufacturing industry, and outlet goods straight from the factory are very affordable. This may be good for those who like it, but there are also mixed in with copy products, counterfeit goods, and inferior products.

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