Where should I travel to in Asia and when is the best time to go?

One of the best parts about living in Hong Kong are all the amazing holiday destinations nearby.  From tropical paradises to cultural capitals, we are spoiled for choice. But where to go when?  Nonstop rain, massive crowds, extreme heat — these are the things vacation nightmares are made of.  Each locale has its tourism sweet spot and we’ve broken it down for you — so you don’t find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Holiday Cheat Sheet

Chinese New Year:  Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan (skiing), Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India

Easter/Spring Break:  Borneo, Japan, Singapore, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia

Summer Holidays:  Borneo, Indonesia, New Zealand (skiing), Australia (Great Barrier Reef), Malaysia

October Break:  Japan, Singapore, China, Myanmar

Christmas/December Holidays:  Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan (skiing), Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India

VIETNAM NORD BAIE DE HALONG ELLE S'ETEND SUR QUELQUES 1550 KM2 DANS LA PROVINCE DE QUANG NINH ET COMPTE PLUS DE 3000 ILOTS . Y NAVIGUER SUR UNE JONQUE EST UN PRIVILEGE DONT ON NE SE LASSE PAS.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

The Details by Country

Vietnam

When to Go: Generally, in February to April and September to October the temperatures are more mild and rain is less frequent.  In southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh), the dry season is December to late April

When to Avoid:  The months of July and August are busy, hot and wet.

Keep in Mind:  March and April have the lowest rainfall across all destinations in Vietnam (but can still be quite cool in the north).  The monsoon seasons are opposite for the North and the South. The Tet festival in late January and early February is interesting to see but businesses often close as many Vietnamese travel home to be with family during this time.

Thailand

When to Go:  November to February is when the weather is generally at its best throughout the country.

When to Avoid:  June to October can have heavy rainfall with the heaviest rain in September and October.

Keep in Mind:  December and January are very busy with accommodations booking up months in advance.  Songkran (Thai New Year) is a three-day holiday but celebrations can last all week.

China

When to Go:  Autumn has more mild temperatures and less rain.  Also, late Spring (April to May) is a good time.  Both times are good for visiting Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin, Hong Kong, and Chengdu.

When to Avoid:  June to August is the busiest and hottest time to visit.

Keep in Mind:  Avoid big national holidays such as National Day (the first week of October), Chinese New Year (usually sometime in February) and May 1-7th (Labor Day week).

Niseko, Japan
Niseko, Japan

Japan

When to Go: With four distinct seasons, Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) are ideal although Hokkaido is beautiful in the Winter.

When to Avoid: Summer (June through August) are the hottest and wettest months.

Keep in Mind:  Check the dates for Golden Week (usually the first week of May), a collection of four national holidays, and try to avoid travelling during this time.

Malaysia

When to Go:  March to early October for lower humidity and less frequent rain showers.

When to Avoid: The east coast has heavy rains in November through February, and many resorts close.

Keep in Mind:  While daily rains may be brief in September and October on the west coast (Langkawi, Penang), the seas are rough and diving might be compromised.

Singapore

When to Go:  It’s hot and humid most of the year but March to November is slightly better.

When to Avoid:  December and January are the wettest months.

Keep in Mind:  April and October can be especially hot.

Borneo

When to Go:  You can expect high humidity and rain anytime of the year, but March to December is considered the dry season.

When to Avoid:  December and January are the wettest months. In Sabah (Kota Kinabalu), the wet season is from October to March.

Keep in Mind:  Wildlife is harder to see in the wet months.  If you are going diving, July and August have the best visibility.

Myanmar

When to Go:  From November to February the temperatures are milder and there is less rain.
When to Avoid:  The rains start around mid-May and peak in July and August.

Keep in Mind:  Yangon can reach temperatures of 104 F/40 C degrees from March to May.

Philippines

When to Go:  The dry season is from November to April; January and February are the coolest months.

When to Avoid: Typhoon season is from early May through October; July and August are the wettest months.

Keep in Mind:  The southern Visayas (Cebu) and Palawan have fewer typhoons.

 

Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia

When to Go: The dry season is between November and May and temperatures are cooler from November to February.

When to Avoid:  The rainy season is June to October, with the heaviest rainfall in August and September.

Keep in Mind:  Temperatures start rising during the hot season from March to May.  Also, check the dates for the Cambodian New Year holiday as most of the country is on the move and businesses shut down.

Indonesia

When to go:  In most regions, the dry season is from May to September.

When to Avoid:  The wet season is between October and April.

Keep in Mind:  January and February are the wettest months.  Note, Bali can be quite busy (and expensive) in peak season — July, August and December.

Sri Lanka

When to Go:  There are two separate monsoon seasons.  The best time to visit the west and south coasts and hill country is from December to March.  The best weather on the east coast is from April/May to September.

When to Avoid:  The west and southwest coasts and hill country are wettest from April/May to September.  The north and eastern coastal areas experience wind and rain between October and January.  There is also an inter-monsoonal period during October and the first half of November when there can be rain and thunderstorms across the island.

Keep in Mind:   January to April are hot, dry and sunny on the beaches on the south and west coasts.  December and January is a very busy time with many European tourists.

India

When to Go:  The best time to visit is October to March in the cool, dry season.

When to Avoid:  The monsoons begin at different times in the country but start around mid-May and finish in the south around September/October.

Keep in Mind:  The heat in May and June in the south is intense.  The date of Diwali changes each year but is usually around October and November and is a busy time of year to be in India.

Australia

When to Go:  With seasons running opposite from the Northern hemisphere, summer spans December through February.  The days are long and it is generally warm/hot depending on the part of the country you are in.  April to August are nice at the Great Barrier Reef.

When to Avoid:  June to August brings cold temperatures to most parts of the country.

Keep in Mind:  The school holidays in the summer months of December and January are very busy with locals on holiday.  Accommodation will be more expensive and harder to find.

New Zealand

When to Go:  December through February

When to Avoid:  Temperatures start dropping in May so unless you are skiing this is not the best time to go.

Keep in Mind:  The school holidays in December and January so, like Australia, popular spots (Queenstown) can be quite busy and expensive.

Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
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