I spent the last 5 weeks of last year traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia, and it has left me with a desire to travel back and see all the things I missed the first time around (another SE Asia fanatic born :).
Now while I truly loved the area (and the people), I was sometimes annoyed with the hordes of tourists and tour groups in certain areas. I am therefore thinking of taking the next trip outside of high season to hopefully get a better insight into everyday life.
It is not hard to find out what is the preferred time to visit SE Asia (roughly nov - feb), but when is it absolutely not recommended. For instance, when will it be impossible to travel by road in Laos ( I can easily live with slow travel, but 6 hours wait because the road caved in is too much for me :).
Does anyone have any insight on this? I am primarily thinking northern Thailand and Laos, but also Malaysia and the Phillipines are possible travel destinations this time around.
#1 Remedy has been a member since 25/7/2009. Posts: 31
I don't think there's any time of the year when one absolutely should not travel to those parts. I've been in SE Asia in June and July for the last couple of years, and found that a great time to travel. Less people for sure in many parts, refreshing rains and everywhere is all green and lovely. It's really rare that road travel is totally impossible even when you do get a lot of rain.
That's a relief. I was picturing massive flooding and washed-up roads in northern Laos. Thanks,
#3 Remedy has been a member since 25/7/2009. Posts: 31
Lother, did you find that the rain affected your travels alot? Are there any other disadvantages to this time of year? Thanks alot
#4 andrea13 has been a member since 5/5/2010. Posts: 31
I love the rainy season, i wouldnt let it put you off. its fun, everything is very fertile and green, the rain is refreshing and provides a great relief in those hot months and it only rains for short spurts of time. Plus you get discounts everywhere and its not so touristy!
I'm very wary of travel in N. Laos when they start burning the rice stubble in Feb-March. I understand that it's hard to breath let alone taking pictures then. I had wanted to return to Vietnam at that time and also go to Luang Prabang, but have since rescheduled that trip for Nov-Dec '10. I also understand that Laos is quite a bit hotter than Vietnam most of the time.
I would suggest Indonesia. There are loads of islands that are completely undeveloped and you can avoid the tourists. And with over 18,000 islands to choose from you will be spoilt for choice. Plus they are amazing, there is so much to see and do and its very easy and ridiculously cheap to travel around! Have fun!
I've found traveling during the rainy seasons fairly enjoyable. Sometimes a sudden downpour can be refreshing and fun! I remember being in Bangkok around 8 years ago during a thunderstorm, and myself and a friend literally having to dive into an internet cafe as the lightning struck the roof of a shop only metres away! We still laugh about episode now.
As others have pointed out, escaping the hordes and getting cheaper accommodation is also another perk of traveling during the rainy season and out of peak time.