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When’s the best time to visit Asia?

written by Emily Kratzmann March 31, 2016
Weather in Bali, Rice Paddy

Spoiler alert: when it comes to Asia, there’s really never a bad time to visit.

From its picturesque beaches and dense jungle, to bustling markets and hushed temples, Asia puts on a great show, rain, hail or shine.

The only big thing to keep in mind is the monsoon season (it varies from country to country depending on latitude and a few other factors). But when you’re a continent of just over 44 million square kilometres that spans half the globe, there’s always a country where the rainy season doesn’t hit so hard. Pick any month on the calendar and there will be somewhere in all of Asia that’s hot, sunny and worthy of a postcard.

Unawatuna Beach, Sri Lanka

Unawatuna Beach, Sri Lanka

Here’s our basic guide to get you started:

Asia in January, February & March

CAMBODIA

Although it’s peak season between November and March, the first few months of the year are particularly great times to visit this stunning Southeast Asian country. Temperatures range from 20°C but can get up to a steamy 35°C in March (good excuse for a swim, if you ask us!). But it’s also worth mentioning it might be more busy and expensive than other times of the year.

If you’re on the hunt for other option, consider checking out Borneo, particularly in the south (away from the thunderstorms). Sri Lanka is also a great option during these months, especially along the southern coast

Asia in April & May

VIETNAM

Best time to visit Asia - Halong Bay, Vietnam, Asia

At this time of year, Vietnam is gearing up for some seriously steamy summer months. Rainfall hits its peak in June and July, so travel during April or May if you’re keen to see Hanoi before it gets too humid or you want to venture out onto Halong Bay under clear skies. The northern hill country around Sapa has pretty temperate weather all year round.

In April and May, the central coast (Hoi An, Hue and Da Nang) is in the thick of what can only be described as perfect beach weather – blue skies, warm sun and ever-so-gentle sea breezes. Slather on some sun block, pop on a hat, and relax on the sand with an icy beer in hand.

READ MORE: 8 BEACHES IN VIETNAM TO PUT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST

NEPAL

Feeling spontaneous? Book a trip to Nepal right now – it’s the perfect time to go. Temperatures in April are pleasant (28°C/82°F) and relatively dry; the rainy season arrives with the warmer months of May and June. April is also a great time to see wildlife and the gorgeous rhododendrons in bloom.

THAILAND

Best time to visit Asia - Erawan Falls, Thailand Asia

If it’s beaches you want, it’s beaches you’ll get – in Thailand, that is. Monsoons sweep through the country between July and October, but temperatures in the south – particularly around the coast – sit at a balmy 34°C/93°F throughout April and May. Expect the occasional drenching shower but don’t let the rain put a dampener on your trip; downpours are brief and it’s the perfect time for you to check out a temple or order yourself a big plate of pad thai.

READ MORE: 6 BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THAILAND YOU SHOULD VISIT

Asia in June & July

CAMBODIA

Cambodia is pretty hot and humid at this time of year, but the countryside blooms into emerald greens and vibrant pinks as the trees and flowers soak up all that summer rain. And there’s something pretty special about waiting out a downpour in the shelter of an ancient Angkor temple before hightailing it back to Siem Reap in a tuk tuk.

MYANMAR

Best time to visit Asia - Sunrise weather in Myanmar, Asia

Myanmar tells a similar story: while the rains are just beginning to sprinkle their way across southern parts of the country, central Myanmar is looking fine, fine, fine (and not too hot either). It’s the perfect time to visit the temples at Bagan or spend a night or two at Inle Lake.

READ MORE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO 7 DAYS IN MYANMAR

Asia in August & September

INDONESIA

If Bali’s on your bucket list, now’s the time to tick it off. While the island paradise is still in its high season in August, things quieten down in September and it reclaims a laid-back feel. Ubud, situated in the mountains, enjoys pleasant days – perfect for guided walks through nearby villages, or sipping on fresh-made juices at a local café – and evenings that are made for wandering through night markets or watching traditional dance performances.

The coastal areas of Sanur, Seminyak and Nusa Dua all boast gorgeous sunny skies, minimal rainfall and delicious fruity cocktails.

READ MORE: 9 UNDER-THE-RADAR DESTINATIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA WORTH A VISIT

BORNEO

Best time to visit Asia - Happy orangutans, Borneo Asia

Wildlife lovers should make haste for Borneo, where beautiful weather abounds year round. Lowland areas are always pretty hot and humid, and rain tends to fall across the island – albeit briefly – every day of the year. Explore the heritage-listed Kinabalu National Park, cruise along the Kinabatangan River and come face to face with a big-eyed beautiful orangutan in Sepilok.

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A word about monsoons:

Understandably, monsoons get a bit of a bad rap, but don’t let them put you off your Asia adventure. Caused by a reversal of wind, and cool sea breezes meeting warm land gusts, monsoons create strong winds, torrential rainfalls and some truly spectacular electrical storms. Serious monsoons have caused flooding and landslides, particularly in India and Mexico.

Almost all of Asia is gripped by soaking rains and fairly extreme humidity between May and September, but some areas are certainly less wet than others. If you ask us, it’s actually pretty refreshing, and a good excuse to head indoors to eat more food, drink more smoothies or have a sneaky nap.

Ready for an adventure? Check out our range of small group trips to Asia. 

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10 comments

Jenny Brooks February 7, 2018 - 10:03 pm

Hey 🙂 Thanks for such inspiring post!
I’m a little bit confused cause I’ve booked my flight in mid-March to see the blooming Vietnam. Before that, from https://rove.me/to/vietnam I discovered that it’s the best time to witness some rare blossoms like ban or coffee. From your post I got that April and may are perfect to wisit but how about second half of March? Is it too critical ? Cause https://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/weather says that it is the shoulder season and I’m worried. Can you give me a good advice? Thanx!!

Reply
Andrea December 28, 2017 - 6:53 am

Hi,
Like to visit Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia (KL and northwest islands)….what would be the best time of the year, in terms of not-that-rainy period? Andrea from Croatia

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Andrew Darwitan August 6, 2017 - 11:51 am

Very useful guide. There are two distinct monsoonal patterns in Southeast Asia. So when one side is raining, the other is dry. I’d say your post really encapsulate it!

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Steve February 15, 2017 - 12:52 pm

Where can we go in Asia in June or July without the high humidity?

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James Shackell February 20, 2017 - 10:14 am

Hi Steve,

Good question! Myanmar isn’t a bad place to start – you might catch a little rainfall, but the sky-high temperatures should have passed. June/July can be a lovely time to travel there. Malaysia is likewise a good option (at least on the east coast – avoid the west coast in June and July). Anywhere in West China could be good (Xinjiang, Qinghai, Dunhuang or Xi’an), at least in early June, before the temperatures start to rise too much. If you’re thinking of Vietnam, try to stick along the central coast where the day’s should be warm and bright; down south you’ll find more showers and higher humidity. Hope this helps!

James

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Roni May 19, 2016 - 9:49 am

Can you advice me as to when is a good time(not too wet or humid) to visit Vietnam and Cambodia please?

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Emily Kratzmann May 19, 2016 - 11:31 am

Cambodia is beautiful between November and March – temperatures range from 20°C but can get up to a steamy 35°C in March (good excuse for a swim, if you ask us!). It’s also peak season, so can be busy and more expensive than other times of the year. The south of Vietnam is great from February to May, but stays pretty hot with temperatures sitting in the mid-30s; visit northern regions from September to November for temps in the high-20s and minimal rainfall. Let us know if we can help with any extra info!

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Lou April 14, 2016 - 6:28 pm

Any tips for where to go in Asia during December and January? Thanks!

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James Shackell April 15, 2016 - 9:12 am

Hi Lou,

Yep, a few countries in Asia actually improve over December and January. You should check out Borneo, particularly in the south away from the thunderstorms; Sri Lanka, again especially along the southern coast; Thailand, Cambodia and Laos are also pretty good around this time. There’s the odd chance of storms, but the worst of the monsoon should be well over. Most days will be sunny and dry. If you’d like to chat to someone about what’s best, give our team a call. They’ll be happy to recommend something based on your needs.

Cheers
James

Reply
Anonymous June 14, 2017 - 11:49 pm

hhi

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