Asia Weather Guide
The climate in Asia is as varied as the landmass is large. While Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor and parts of India have a tropical climate with wet and dry seasons, other Asian countries have 4 distinct seasons as well as snow-capped highlands and arid deserts. Within China alone, travelling between regions can see monsoonal storms, sub-tropical humid conditions and windswept plains. The majority of Asia is located in the northern hemisphere and follows a similar seasonal weather pattern with some regional variations.
Season and Clothing
Summer: June to August
The summer months in Asia coincide with the peak travel season in the region and the monsoon season that affects India, Sri Lanka, southern China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. This is also the dry hot season for Southeast Asia and particularly Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines with temps around the mid-30s. When the mercury gets too high in summer, the Japanese and Chinese quit the cities and head for the cooler mountain air to escape the heat for their summer hols. Shorts, singlets and sandals are your best bet with swimsuits a must. Swimming and surfing hotspots like the Maldives and Bali are super busy right now with consistent surf conditions.
Autumn: September to November
The autumn months herald beautiful leaf colour changes, less humidity and clear skies through China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, but also bring typhoons early in the season. Surfers should head to the Philippines during August and September for the best conditions, lesser crowds and water temps in the mid-20s – no need to pack a wetsuit! This is also the peak tourist season for the islands off Thailand’s east coast like Ko Samui and Ko Phi Phi with little rain and less humidity. In India and Sri Lanka, look out for the North-East monsoon and rainy weather. Pack layers if you’re heading to East Asia, and don’t forget your cossie for a Southeast Asian holiday.
Winter: December to February
The cool dry temps in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and northern Thailand) during November to February make this the ideal time to visit the villages, take a cruise down the Mekong River and hike through the rainforest. For snow bunnies and powder hounds, grab your skis and boards and head to the winter resorts of Japan, Pakistan, China and Korea to carve up the slopes or try the hot springs. These months are also the start of the wet season in Southeast Asia with sunny mornings and a short torrential downpour in the afternoons so it’s still a good time to visit. Take thermals and fleece for the snow, and pack good walking shoes for trekking around Indochina.
Spring: March to May
Indochina’s hot season can see temps above 40 so be sure to keep cool and well-hydrated while travelling during these months. In East Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, spring sees rejuvenation and festivals celebrating cherry blossoms ('sakura' in Japanese)with plenty of sunny warm weather, while on the subcontinent and surrounds the temps are hot and stifling as the locals wait for the monsoonal rains to hit. Diving conditions are ideal right now in the Philippines. Dress in lightweight gear and sandals to combat the heat in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India and Sri Lanka, and be prepared with clothing that can be layered for your trip to East Asia.