When to go

The best time to visit Vietnam

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The weather system of Vietnam is appealingly complicated and many people are confused about when to visit Vietnam. In fact, anytime can be a good time to experience both sunshine and rain in various quantities. 

At a glance

Generally speaking, Vietnam is warm and humid and dry season lasting from October until April is considered the best time to visit this country. However, the weather can vary considerably from one region to another due to country length. Winters are cold and misty in the North, while the South enjoys plenty of sunshine and a high humidity almost throughout the year. It is recommended to visit the North between September and November when the temperatures are pleasant, meanwhile the best time to visit the South is from December to April.

Hanoi and the North East

To avoid both summer rains and winter cold, it’s advisable to visit Hanoi and the North East from September to November. However, coming here during April and May is acceptable as long as you are aware of its hot and humid weather. There are many interesting activities in this region including: discover Halong Bay with its thousands of little islands on an overnight or day cruise, walk through the mountains, admire the lakes of Ba Be National Park, the waterfalls and the area around Cao Bang, and last but not least Hanoi capital – the heart of Vietnam.

The North West

This region is described as the most mountainous and surprising destination in Vietnam. In Sapa, you can enjoy a series of superb hikes in the mountains, spend a night at a local village homestay, admire the waterfalls and discover local markets. There can be an extension to the famous North-West Loop to Dien Bien Phu and Mai Chau. The best time to visit the North West runs from September to November when the temperatures are pleasant. From April to August, it starts to get very hot with heavy rains starting in June. It’s not recommended to visit the North West from December to March because of its cold and overcast weather.

The Central Coast

As a transitional zone between Northern and Southern Vietnam, The Central Coast has a particularly complicated climate. The rainy season generally runs from September until February among which late September and December receive the most rainfall. Especially, Hue receives more rainfall than the other cities since during dry season from March to August, there are still several days of showers. Hence, the best time to travel here is in Spring, from March to late May. This region gives you a chance to discover the ancient town of Hoian and Hue Imperial City as well as spend time on some of the country’s finest coastal resorts, enjoy diving, surfing, and windsurfing.

The Central Highlands

With cooler temperatures compared to the Central Coast, the Central Highlands is a more pleasant tourist destination. It’s recommended to travel here from December to April when the weather is drier with less rain. To enjoy more natural beauty, you can go deep into this mountainous region to discover small, isolated villages as well as valleys where there are several ethnic minorities. Many people spend their a weekend in Dalat and enjoy the calm of the countryside away from the crowds.

The South

With constant temperatures year round, the South has two simple seasons: Rainy and Dry. It’s undoubtedly advisable to travel here during dry season dunning from November to late April/early May. However, please be informed that March and April are the hottest (31°C on average). From July to September, the South becomes a “focal point” of sudden rain but still not lacking plenty of dry and bright daylight hours. Apart from the bustling Saigon, you can explore the Mekong Delta – a superb wetland region where rice and sugar cane are grown. Further South, Phu Quoc can be reached year round although the best time to visit is during dry season (from November until July).

The best time to visit Laos

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Thanks to its altitude, latitude and the influence of the monsoon, Laos has a temperature from tropical to subtropical with 2 distinct seasons: the wet and the dry. The wet season lasts from May to October with temperatures around from 30°C. The cool dry season runs from November to February when temperatures can drop to over 10°C in Vientiane and even to freezing in mountainous regions (down to 5°C in January in Xieng Khuang or Phongsaly). Hot dry season is from March to May when the Mekong River riverside in Low Laos may reach 40°C.

Wet season (May – October)

Under the affection of monsoon from May to October, Laos receives a few hours of showers each day rather than all-day torrential downpours. You can expect high humidity and amazing structure of clouds as well as lush and green nature. It tends to be hotter ranging from 23-35°C with short rain showers occurring in the afternoon during the early part of wet season whilst the later part tends to receive more frequent and longer showers with lower temperatures ranging from 23-33°C. August receives the most rainfall.

Whilst Laos is generally affected by the wet season, there’s slight difference among regions. Phongsali in the North, Hua Phan and Xieng Khuang in the Central may receive early rainfall from Vietnam and China during April and May. The higher location, the more rain it gets, and Mekong River areas south of Vientiane get the least rain.

The wet season brings both advantages and disadvantages to travellers. Rainfall undoubtedly damages Laos’s infrastructure and travelling during this period can be incredibly challenging. One should be prepared to encounter landslides and muddy roads. Land transport takes much longer than expected. Also, rivers can get beastly and bridges are commonly down. Good sandals or hiking boots are highly recommended.

Fortunately, you will have opportunity to observe stunning mountainous scenery, and rice paddies bursting with lush green. You can expect lower temperatures, clean air and smaller crowds. Waterfalls are full and rapids along Mekong River are submerged enabling slow boats to take deeper drafts. Speedboat is not recommended due to refusal carried by heavy rainfall.

Dry season (November – April)

After the monsoon period, Laos welcome dry season that can be further sub-divided into 2 sections: Cool dry and hot dry. The cool dry season runs from November to February and the dry hot season follows until approaching monsoon.

The former section is an excellent time to visit Laos, especially in November and December with moderate temperatures ranging from 24-27°C. The rains have gone leaving green and lush rural areas as well as full flow waterways promising ideal boat rides. You can expect minimal rain and plenty of sunshine. The next two months remain a very pleasant time with dry conditions all over the country. It can get quite chilly in Northern highlands in December, January and February, especially at night. Please make sure to bring warm clothing.

The latter section starts to heat up Laos and you can expect hot and dry conditions throughout the country. March and April are also considered the hottest months of the country with average temperatures ranging from 29-33°C. Apart from increasing heat, the smoke caused by an agricultural practice of burning the remaining leaves and unused plant from the harvest may make you feel uncomfortable.

The best time to visit Cambodia

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Located in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is warm to hot with average temperature of about 27°C and you can travel here all year around. Thanks to relatively uniform altitude and latitude, the whole country has the same weather characteristics with two distinct seasons: Dry (October to late April) and Wet (May to late September). The temperatures vary within each season and reach the highest from March to June in excess of 35°C at times and the lowest between October and December at around 24°C – 26°C.

Dry season (October – April)

Running from late October to early April, Dry season brings hot wind blowing all over the country due to north-east monsoon. Whilst first part from November to January is quite cool, the country is dried out fast with heat and dust by April making Angkor sunshine or sunset tours with lunchtime by the hotel pool preferable to most tourists. This is certainly peak travel season thanks to hot weather. Roads to remote areas are also in best condition which helps to shorten transfer time. You can expect plenty of brilliant sunshine on beaches of Kep, Sihanoukville and Ko Kong with clear calm waters.

In October, Cambodia steps into the end of Wet season with less rainfall, especially at the end of the month. The weather is quite pleasant with the temperatures ranging from 24°C – 31°C and 7 hours of sunshine per day with bright mornings. The rain comes every afternoon and last for a couple of hours. The conditions are acceptable for touring when the flora and fauna are in full bloom around the country and villages are surrounded by emerald green rice paddies.

Dry weather has replaced rainfall caused by southwest monsoon by November. You can expect almost no or very little and short rain if any for the next six months. The average temperatures vary from 22°C – 30°C with plenty of sunshine all day creating favorable conditions for those who wish to spend full time at Angkor Temples. The beaches of Sihanoukville with calmer seas and plenty of sunshine promise an enjoyable stay.

December shares quite same excellent weather conditions with November throughout the country. Northwest monsoon has brought dry and sunny weather with blue skies, very little or no rain and cool weather ranging from 21°C – 30°C. This month is listed among the best months to visit Cambodia with lots of tourists. The beaches of Koh Kong, Kep and Kampot on the south coast are amongst the best choice with plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies.

January and February are very lovely with good weather conditions throughout Cambodia. You can expect plenty of sunshine, blue skies, little or no rain with average temperatures ranging from 20°C – 30°C in January and 21°C – 32°C in the other month. This is also amongst the best months to visit Cambodia where you can enjoy breath-taking sunrises and sunsets at Angkor Temples. What’s more enjoyable than spending time on the beaches on the south coast including Sihanoukville, Koh Kong, Kep and Kampot.

In March, high north east monsoon has brought this country excellent weather with 10 – 12 hours of sunshine per day and little or no rain. The temperature increases ranging from 24°C – 34°C with high humidity. It’s not recommended to spend the whole day long exploring Angkor Temples without a break around lunch to avoid the sun and heat. South coast beaches remain an excellent option.

The dry north east monsoon enters the last time in April together with high humidity and temperatures ranging from 25°C – 35°C. You can expect some short rain towards the end of the month. Again, exploring Angkor Temples all day long, especially in the middle of the day is unadvisable due to the heat. Coming here during mid-April, you will have chance to enjoy the atmosphere of Khmer New Year, however, please try to arrange early in advance since bookings can be difficult. It remains great to spend some days on the beaches.

Wet season (May – October)

Entering Cambodia from May to October, the wet season brings almost 75% of this country’s annual rainfall. You can expect clear and sunny mornings and showers often occur in mid or late afternoon with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C. It remains hot with some short showers during first part of the wet season and the showers are more often and heavy in the later part, especially in coastal and rural areas. It’s hard to travel in remote corners of the country due to bad road conditions. However, Angkor Temples are at their most beautiful and photogenic where the ponds and pools are full to reflect light beautifully. The rainy weather also sweeps away dust and brings back lush greenery to the countryside.

During the first month of wet south west monsoon, Cambodia receives increasing rainfall, thunderstorms and humidity. You can expect up to 12 hours of sunshine per day with bright mornings and some downpours from the middle of May, average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C. Some people find it pleasant to visit Cambodia this month thanks to thinner crowds at Angkor Temples and the beaches on the south coast remain reasonable with very short or little rain if any.

In June and July, temperatures remain high ranging from 24°C to 33°C with frequent rain turning everything green. High humidity with 10 – 12 hours of sunshine per day makes it hotter than it really is. However, these are still good months to visit Cambodia because thunderstorms give some spectacular views for photographing and you can avoid crowds at Angkor Temples. It’s not recommended to spend time at remote areas or on beaches due to bad road conditions and heavy rainfall.

Cambodia receives high rainfall in August and September which helps to calm down the heat ranging from 25°C to 32°C. You can expect several hours of rain rather than all-day showers and fewer tourist groups at Angkor Temples where it is cooler thanks to large amount of trees and forested area. It’s an unforgettable experience to explore flooded forests and fishing villages of Tonle Sap with water levels at their peak. Traveling to remote areas and coastal areas are not recommended.

The best time to visit Myanmar

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The period between November and February is the best time to visit Burma: the heat can be overwhelming between March and May, and in the rainy season, from May to October, visiting the country can be difficult and unpleasant. However, you can still go to the mountains in summer, as temperatures are cooler there.  

At a glance

The best time to visit Burma is between December and March: there is no rain and it doesn’t get too hot at this time of year. The southwestern monsoon season begins between May and June and lasts until October. From March to May, the heat is practically unbearable. On the other hand, this is a good time of year to enjoy the mountains, where the climate is much cooler. The best time to explore this extraordinary country and its absolutely fascinating sites, therefore, is during the winter months. You are certain to find Burma a charming place, but avoid the really hot months.

Yangon and surrounding

Rangoon, once Burma’s capital, is today the country’s most fascinating city. Go to see the Shwedagon Pagoda there, the country’s main religious center, before heading off to tour the surrounding area. You will be captivated by the “floating” pagodas and the city of Pathein, which lies not far away. The period from November to March is the best time to visit this intoxicating region. At all other times of year the heat is intense and it rains a great deal.

East Myanmar

This is the region of the wonderful Inle Lake and the magnificent hills that surround it. Take a trip out on the water to see the stilt houses, an experience you’ll find enchanting, before heading off to the Kalaw region to go hiking. You will be able to discover and learn about medicinal herbs and the local folklore during your visit there. Another thing to do is explore the border region and its tribal culture by visiting Kengtung and the surrounding area. There are also numerous pagodas and mountain villages for you to see there. Go between November and February to avoid the rainy season and the overwhelming heat of summer.

The Center: Mandalay and surrounding

Mandalay, the traditional heart of the country, offers a landscape of plains and rice fields, which you can admire before heading off to the Shan Hills to go hiking. Visit the historical site of Bagan and discover its 4000 temples, where depictions of Hindu and Buddhist figures are to be seen alongside those of local spirits. Take a horse-drawn carriage or bicycle tour and spend a day hiking up to the summit of Mount Popa, the extinct volcano where the spirits of Myanmar reside. You can visit the central part of the country more or less any time you like as it’s a relatively dry region all year round. Just avoid the tremendously hot summer months. And be sure not to miss the sunset over the hills of Bagan or the domesticated elephant camps just outside Taungoo.

West Myanmar

West Burma is very different from the rest of the country. The area’s inhabitants speak a different language, their food is different, etc. Arakan is not very open to visitors, but it is a beautiful region and well worth an excursion to see. Fly from Rangoon and take a trip by boat to Mrauk U, formerly the country’s capital. The town combines 700 temples with a village way of life that is impressive for both its uniqueness and the extent to which it has been preserved and protected. Visit this part of the country in the dry season to avoid the rain and the excessive heat.

The North

The north of the country, which is crossed only by a few roads, is the least inhabited area of Myanmar. This is the region where the famous “Ice Mountains” of the Himalayan Myanmar are to be found. These can only be reached via routes that take you on a round-trip. All journeys in this area of the country are very long, so it is preferable to go in the dry season to avoid having to wait for buses and other modes of transport in the rain, which would make the trip difficult and unpleasant. The mountains can also be visited between March and May: this is the only place in the country where the heat is bearable at that this time of year!.

Southeast Myanmar

Winter is the best time to visit the southeast of the country: at all other times of the year the heat is suffocating, and if you go during the rainy season, between May and October, you won’t enjoy your trip as much. There are fascinating local legends to learn about in this area, which lies sandwiched between Thailand on one side and the superb Andaman Sea on the other. It’s in this region that you can observe the monks heading in lines to the giant, gold-covered rock of Kyaiktiyo. The further south you go, the closer you get to a landscape of palm trees and beaches, from where an archipelago of little islands is the only thing to be seen.

The best time to visit Thailand

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The best time to visit Thailand is between November and March, when there is much less rain than during the remainder of the year. After that, it all depends on the regions you want to visit and what you want to do while you’re there. Simply avoid the rain and be aware that it can be very hot indeed!

At a glance

The best season to visit Thailand extends from November to March, when it rains much less than during the rest of the year. In addition, the largest local festivals take place during that time period. Avoid the rainy season, from July to October. Other precautions apply to different regions individually: avoid the center of the country between March and May, where temperatures can exceed 40 degrees and the heat becomes stifling. If you’re heading for the northern mountains, the warm season between March and May, or the start of the rainy season, is better, because the temperatures are still pleasant. Whether lounging on spectacular islands or exploring royal cities, you’ll be bowled over by Thailand, the former Kingdom of Siam with its abundance of cultural treasures. Head for this wonderfully welcoming country and discover its delicious cuisine.

Bangkok and central Thailand

Bangkok’s worldwide reputation is well-deserved: a blend of modern opulence and ancient tradition, the city is buzzing, undergoing a transformation from one day to the next. You can visit stunning temples, and enjoy delicious grilled shish kebabs from street vendors: at least from November to March, when it’s not too hot yet! Otherwise, the city rapidly becomes tiring. Most local celebrations also take place during this period. If your aim is to take a trek through the northern mountains, choose the warm season from March to May, or the start of the rainy season in June or July: the temperatures are more pleasant at higher altitudes.

The North

The north of Thailand includes Chiang Mai, the country’s second city. Chiang Mai is full of sacred temples and surrounded by mysterious mountains. The local cuisine is extremely varied, with a dynamic, modern twist, yet it has managed to retain its simplicity. In that respect, the cuisine reflects the city itself. It’s better to visit this part of the country during the cool season, between November and February: the temperatures are pleasant while rainstorms are few and far between. From March to June, on the other hand, during the warm season, the heat can sometimes be extremely unpleasant.

The North-east

In the north-east of Thailand, the climate is hot and dry between November and March. The climate is mild and pleasant for visitors during this period, with temperatures that constantly hover around the 25-degree mark. From June to October, there are violent rainstorms on an almost daily basis, and some roads can be blocked from time to time. This part of Thailand allows visitors to discover the country as it used to be, with artisanal silk weaving, landscapes that feature rice paddies as far as the eye can see. Seeing all this while travelling by rickshaw will bring you closer to an appreciation of Thai culture. You’ll discover the customs of the country and its most precious heritage, and admire the Mekong River, which has its source near the small village of Chiang Khan.

The South

Koh Samui is bursting with places to party, as well as discreet Buddhist temples: it’s a city with many faces where you can spend your stay in luxury, or discover local life. It’s always sunny from February to April, once the rainy season is over. The period from June to August is the most hospitable, but avoid the period from October to December at all costs, as it never stops raining. Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is a destination for vacationers seeking sunshine or taking a detour via Patong.

Outdoor activities

Discover waterfalls while rafting, and take a trip on the back of an elephant in Nanchanaburi, which is just outside Bangkok. To the south of the city, Kaeng Krachan Natioanl Park offers its visitors a chance to experience nature and a breath of fresh air. You can also choose to set off in small groups and trek through Mae Hong Son, which separates Thailand from Myanmar. At Koh Chang, tourists can explore the local jungle, while more adventurous spirits can take ride a canoe through Khao Sok National Park! Avoid the rainy season if these outdoor activities are a priority.

Diving and snorkeling

Thailand is a corner of paradise for diving enthusiasts. The enormous range of species and the warmth of the clear sea waters delight visitors, who come from all over the world in search of a marine adventure. The Surin and Similan Islands are among the world’s best diving sites, with spectacular hard and soft coral reefs and a wide range of marine species. You can also dive in Koh Lanta for an encounter with manta rays and whale sharks in the Andaman Sea, or Koh Kradan, which is a snorkeling paradise. The best time to dive is between December and April, which represents the dry season for the south-west. Another highlight of the Thai diving landscape is in the south east, at Koh Tao, where the water is shallow and the weather is pleasant all year round. The peak season is in June, July, and August.

Thai holidays and festivals

They know how to party in Thailand! And there are lots of opportunities to do so. In November, festivities are kicked off by the gathering of elephants in Surin and the Lopburi Monkey Festival. The following month features a nationwide celebration of the monarchy, January marks the celebration of the famous Chinese New Year. In February, Chiang Mai hosts its Flower Fetival, where the entire city is draped in flowers for a three-day period. A parade of floats decorated in flowers proceeds through the city to bring the festival to a close. In March, pop and rock groups from throughout Asia come to perform in Pattaya, for the city’s international music festival. From March onwards, the succulent yellow mango is celebrated, until the arrival of the more subdued rainy season. If you want to experience Thailand’s festivities in full, the best time to travel is therefore between November and March.