Off-Season In South East Asia – Is It Worth It?

This is our first time in Southeast Asia during the off season – we discussed many the many pros and cons before finally deciding to go – one of the cons involved was the weather – what would Southeast Asia be like during the off season? Last time we traveled to a hot country during the off season was to Vanuatu, and while the country was amazing – the weather was unbearable and we had to leave 2 weeks early. So, would it be the same in South East Asia? Well, now we’ve been here for nearly 2 months, and for all of you who wonder what the off season is like – here is a sum up from our experiences…

Off-Season In South East Asia What Was Correct:

Off-Season In South East Asia

Off-Season In South East Asia

– It’s Hot & Humid.

The off season can get scorching hot, but while 33-36 degrees does sound pretty hot, it’s not the temperatures that breaks you – it’s the humidity – the more humid it is, the hotter it feels. 33 degrees in 80% humidity feels more like 40. Walk outside for 15 minutes after 10am and you’ll be sweating like crazy and begging to go home again. This makes you actually appreciate and welcome the rain, since whenever it rains, it cools everything down, and afterwards it’s actually really pleasant to be outside.

– Some Months Are Hotter Than Others.

We were told to avoid Thailand during May, as that is the hottest month of the year – in Malaysia, March and April are the hottest months, while May is an ideal time for many parts of the country.

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Off-Season In South East Asia What Was Wrong:

– It Rains All Day.

Looking at the weather forecast on my iPhone, the weather looks seriously depressing: thunderstorms and rain every day. The truth? I can almost count the number of days it has rained during the last month in Malaysia on ONE hand – now I’m talking about days, not nights – we were expecting to experience lots and lots of rain, only to find that it almost only rained during the night. This has been absolutely perfect – as the rain cools down the city, making it perfect to explore – waking up when the next morning with the streets still wet from the rain the night before has been ideal. Don’t be put off by the weather forecast – it really isn’t always what it seems.

– It’s A Bad Time To Be In South East Asia.

I was told that the off-season is a bad time to be anywhere in SEA, but this is simply not true – in fact, some parts of the area is actually ideal at this time of the year, only it takes more planning. Sometimes parts of the same country often have an off and high season at the same time. In Sri Lanka, the western part of the island experience their off season, while the eastern part of the island has the best weather of the year right now. Malaysia is even more obvious, right now is the best time to visit Borneo and the eastern side of the Peninsular, while the western side has its off season at the moment. Bali and Singapore are the same pretty much all year round, and are good places to go at any time of the year. I will say though that some places in SEA are much more uncertain than other – going on holidays to Vietnam should perhaps wait until after August, as parts of the country can be both very busy with kids going on school holidays, and get lots of rain.

The Good Thing About Off Season.

The dusty brown countryside becomes lush and green during the off season – it’s a great time to go for a Cambodia holiday if you’re interested in seeing the best of Angkor Wat. It usually rains in the afternoon and at night, so it’s easy to plan around the weather, and Angkor Wat will be more beautiful than ever, with lush jungles, green moss and lichen on the ruins, and the pools are full of water creating beautiful reflections of the temples.

Final thoughts.

We still have some time left, and we haven’t yet been to Thailand, so we’ll see if our thoughts about it change – but so far, I doubt it.

(photo credits: 1)

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8 Responses to Off-Season In South East Asia – Is It Worth It?

  1. Brock - Backpack With Brock June 19, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    Looks like your time in SEA turned out better than you thought!

  2. Adam Pervez June 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Great article. I’m in the Washington DC airport right now about to head to Singapore, then Vietnam a week later. The weather forecast definitely looks depressing, but I’m less hesitant now than I was before 🙂

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog June 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      Hi Adam!
      I’m glad you found it helpful. We just spent a week in Singapore and it didn’t rain once, so I really wouldn’t worry too much about it :).
      Let us know about how it was in Vietnam when you get back.

      • Adam Pervez June 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

        Well, it rained today. Hopefully it’s the only day it rains… 🙂 Of course, I had just entered the Botanical Garden when it started. I have to go back… 🙂

        • Sofia - As We Travel Blog June 22, 2012 at 3:42 am #

          Oh no, typical 😛 Yeah you should def. give the botanical garden another try, it’s such a beautiful place.

  3. Steph June 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I had read that in SEA during the rainy season one should not assume that it will rain 24/7, however, it is good to hear that it is not a miserable sweatbox all the time either! In 7 years in Nashville I never learned to deal with the extreme temperatures paired with the humidity, so I hope that if we do wind up in SEA during certain country’s low seasons that I won’t get clobbered!

  4. Megan June 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    i so agree with these! ive been in se asia for a month almost and i have seen TWO days with rain. and neither day had rain that lasted over one hour! totally worth coming here during this season for the prices and lower tourism!