This is our first time traveling off season in South East Asia – we discussed many the many pros and cons before finally deciding to go.
One of the cons involved was the weather – what would Indochina tours 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
Southeast 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.
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.
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.
Rainy Season Is 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 in South East Asia
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.
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.
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.
What I Will And Won’t Miss From South East Asia
Spending 4 months in South East Asia was perfect.
We had planned to visit Philippines, Borneo and Vietnam, but when The Europe Train Challenge became a reality, we had to postpone those plans for another time and focus on the challenge ahead of us.
Leaving South East Asia, there are some things that I know I’ll really miss:
The Cheap Living
Not even the cheapest soup kitchen in Europe can compare with the 1 dollar meals and 20 cent drinks you find in South East Asia.
Luxury suites and resorts for the same price as a 10 bed dorm in Europe just doesn’t make any sense.
I know that I will question leaving a continent where we lived on a combined budget on 25 dollars a day, to a continent where 20 dollars will barely get you food for the day.
I didn’t realize how much I would miss the food until I arrived back in Europe.
Already the next day I longed for Asian food, spices and variety.
Plus, in South East Asia we never cooked our own food – what a luxurious life!
The Never Ending Surprises
A day in South East Asia will never let you down on surprises. Quirky details are part of the every day life for a traveler here.
Funny interactions, signs, things that happen – you’re always surprised.
The Religion and Strong Beliefs
The culture and traditions here really blow life into the world.
While I’m not religious, I truly appreciate the dedication they have in South East Asia and their strong bond with their traditions, implementing it in every part of their daily lives.
I will really miss this colorful way of life, with prayers and traditional clothing.
The Misunderstandings and Culture Shocks
Misunderstandings and culture shocks are things that I both hate and love at the same time.
Travel would be more boring without them, and you get some funny memories afterwards.
I learned how to love it and appreciate it, because it taught me something about myself as well as others.
And – What I Won’t Miss
Pollution so thick you could almost touch it, the never ending beeping horns in Kuala Lumpur and the ignorance for pedestrians are some things I really won’t miss.
Knowing that you’re putting yourself in danger every time you buy a bus ticket in Laos just isn’t very comforting.
The Customer Service
Some people really get it, and those who do make it an incredible experience.
But then there are those who really don’t get it, who are afraid of confrontations, and instead of fixing it and apologizing, they pretend it never existed.
After a while you get used to not getting a straight answer if your cockroach infested room is cleaned and OK, but I would be happier if they could sometimes swallow pride and deal with it.
Perhaps they handle embarrassing mistakes differently from us, or just don’t see the problem.
The last week we were there it rained more than it had in decades. You couldn’t even go outside – so what’s the point then? :p
I’m happy to be in Europe for the dryer summer months, and will let Asia dry up before I consider returning.
What are some things you loved and/or hated about Asia?