Traveling to Asia? When to Go Where!
Anyone who has set foot in Asia knows that one could spend a lifetime exploring this part of the globe. From serene rice paddies in Vietnam to the staggering scale of China’s Great Wall to Japan’s frenetic, futuristic capital, Tokyo, there are as many places worthy of a visit as there are moods to greet you when you get there.
Yet just as Asia‘s destinations are diverse, so are the best times to travel to each. To make the most of your travels, here’s some guidance around the timing of peak seasons and major events in this corner of the world.
Travelers flock to Japan during major festivities: the New Year, Golden Week (when the country celebrates nature, in early May) and Obon (a Buddhist event for commemorating one’s ancestors). That means if you want to join in the fun, you’ll also have to weather pricier flights and larger crowds. Honshu, the largest and most populous island in Japan, is bustling from late March to early April, when the cherry trees blossom. Weather-wise, the only months worthy of extra consideration are June and July, which can be very rainy and humid.
Those in the know will encourage you to consider a trip to China in the spring and autumn, when tourism crowds tend to be lighter but the weather is still temperate and cool. Summer, the peak travel times, actually coincides with heavy rains in much of the country, though the rains are rarely heavy enough to discourage a trip altogether. Winter globe trotters should note that the Chinese New Year (in January or February) attracts massive waves of visitors each year, so booking in advance is advised.
The country’s monsoons can range from an hour or two of intense rain to a full-day’s worth of flooding, which explains why travelers tend to shy away during the summer rains. Of course, flexible tourists who don’t mind a change in itinerary thanks to the rain will find they have many attractions to themselves. If you plan a trip to Thailand in the fall, though, you’ll be rewarded with so much post-rain lushness – the greenery after months of precipitation is almost otherworldly.
The Tet festival, typically celebrated in January or February, on the same day as the Chinese New Year, marks the start of spring and is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. You’ll have to book in advance and not mind the crowds in order to join in the festivities – but it can be so worth it. Heavy rains are possible during July and August, and typhoons are possible from September to November (particularly along the coast), but otherwise Vietnam is remarkably temperate year-round.
Thanks in part to India‘s massive size, it’s possible to find a place to visit no matter which month you’re traveling. When May and June are scorching much of the country, savvy travelers head for the hills. Coorg, for instance, boasts verdant landscapes and blissful waterfalls. When December and January cast a chill over New Dehli and the northern states, many head south to areas like Mumbai and Kerala for slightly warmer climates.
Between cultural offerings and climate variations, it’s possible to find the perfect spot to fit your interests in Asia at any time of the year.