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The best time to travel Southeast Asia (Backpackers Guide)

best time to travel southeast asia

(( We are still updating this guide, please bear with us! ))

If you are planning your travels to Asia and looking for a guide on when is best to go, look no further!  There are 5 major factors that affect the best times you should travel as a backpacker in South East Asia.

  • Temperature
  • Rainy Seasons
  • Humidity
  • Festivals
  • Party Seasons for the young and inebriated

Given your going to be light in items of clothing your carrying in your backpack, travelling between countries in different seasons or different climates is not the most advisable thing to be doing for medium-term travel.  The positives of travelling through Asia during the best seasons is you could get away with not bringing coats and warm clothing at all.  But if you will end up travelling between seasons your going to have to carry way more with you than you otherwise could have left behind at home.

Read our below country guides on weather, festivals and going ons during the year. Hopefully they will enable you to better plan the best time to travel Southeast Asia.

 BURMA (MYANMAR)

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan Temples)

In terms of weather, November – April offer you the most sunshine hours per day and with little to no rain. If you enjoy the heat, then March and April are the hottest months of the year, but be aware it is in the mid 30's around Yangon.Burma has many festivals throughout the year, so if you are looking to travel and catch a glimpse of a traditional festival happening, you are likely to be travelling during at least 1. Here is a good website for finding out about the main ones.Climate Data:

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Temp (c) 25 27 29 31 30 27 27 27 27 28 27 25
Rain (in) 5 2 7 15 303 547 559 602 368 206 60 7
Humid (%) 62 66 69 66 73 85 86 87 85 78 71 65

WHEN TO AVOID TRAVELLING HERE

The tourist season starts end of October and finishes before January. So if you want Burma a bit more to yourself avoid this time of year and plan to instead go January – April instead. Avoid the rainy season which like most of SE Asia starts in May and finishes around September time.

 Thailand

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Thai Islands)

The least rainy months in Thailand is January and anytime between mid November – mid April will see you enjoying, the least amount of rain, relatively lower humidity and reasonable temperatures.If you are looking at doing Thailand during Songkran, that festival falls between 13 to 15 April every year. It coincides with the New Year of many calendars of South andSoutheast Asia. The festival does happen at one of the hottest times of the year, so the water festivals can be a refreshing change to travellers in this region!Another major festival of the year is Loi Krathong (Light Festival). This occurs during the full moon of the 12th Thai month which is 17th of November 2013 and 7th of November 2014. This festival coincides with cooler temperatures and less rain making it a great time of year to visit Thailand (Burma and Laos also have this festival).If you are looking to make your way to Koh Phangan in the south Thai Islands for the famous Full Moon Festivals, then jot down the following dates in your calendar for 2013. Jan 26, Feb 26, March 26, April 25, May 25, June 23, July 24, Aug 21, Sept 19, Oct 19, Nov 17, Dec 17.Climate Data:

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Temp (c) 26 27 29 30 29 29 28 28 28 28 27 26
Rain (in) 9 30 29 65 220 149.3 155 197 344 242 48 10
Humid (%) 74 76 75 75 80 81 81 82 82 82 80 76

WHEN TO AVOID TRAVELLING HERE

Generally avoid Chinese New Year period. As many businesses will close for 3-4 days as families get together and worship at one of the many Chinese Buddhist temples. Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first Chinese lunar month, usually in February.

 Malaysia

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL (Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Kajang, George Town, Malacca)

Malaysia climate is characterised by little daily, weekly and monthly variations in temperature and humidity. It rains pretty much every day at some point (mostly mid afternoon to early evening) as it lies at the tropics, right next to the equator. This makes the weather in Malaysia very predictable, which is actually good in ways, as it makes going out in the day easy to plan around the weather.The rain can become heavier from March – May and then again October – December. Apart from the rain, there is little else that distinguishes the seasons apart in Malaysia. This makes the best times of year to travel to Malaysia January – February and then June – September weather wise. However given Chinese New Year occurs during the Jan – Feb timeframe it might be best to travel instead between June – September, as the country will simply shut down and transportation will become more problematic.In terms of Festivals, just take your pick! Depending on where you are travelling will depend on how much the locals will celebrate the national holidays. Due to the mix of Chinese Buddhism and Islamic influence the country is a hot bed of religious festivals that occur on an almost weekly basis it sometimes seems like. Chinese New Year is likely one the largest festivals in the central and westerly parts of Malaysia.Climate Data:

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Temp (c) 32 33 33 33 33 33 32 32 32 32 32 32
Rain (in) 169 165 240 259 204 125 127 155 192 253 287 245
Humid (%) 79 79 78 80 82 80 79 79 80 81 82 79

WHEN TO AVOID TRAVELLING HERE

Generally avoid Chinese New Year period. As many businesses will close for 3-4 days as families get together and worship at one of the many Chinese Buddhist temples. Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first Chinese lunar month, usually in February.
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