It’s no accident that some people are on vacation at the right place, at the right time and have the perfect photographs!
If you’re hoping to be a jetsetter in 2016, you’d better get planning, and to make sure you are at the right place at the right time, we have put together the perfect Asia travel planner.
Public Holiday: 1 January
Mid to late January is a great time to travel if you have stayed at home for Christmas and successfully avoided the airport crowds over the silly season.
For an extraordinary bucket list ‘check’, pack your winter coat and head to North-Eastern China for the Harbin Ice Festival, the world’s largest ice and snow exhibition. This spectacular ice festival will wow you with its illuminated ice sculptures and true winter wonderland experience.
Festival: Harbin Ice Festival, NE China – 5 January to 25 February
If you prefer to stay a little warmer, pop over to Chiang Mai, Thailand, it will be on average 17-28 degrees with little rain, so you can soak up the sun and explore this Northern Thailand treasure. (More on what to do in Chiang Mai here.)
Elephants are a popular attraction, particularly around Chiang Mai. Be sure to have an ethical elephant experience at a sanctuary like the Baanchang Elephant Park.
Public Holiday: 8-10 February
Chinese New Year falls on 8 February this year and it’s time to Monkey around!
If you’ve always dreamt of skiing in Japan then Sapporo is the place to go, with 6 ski resorts within an hour of the city and plenty of slopes for kids and beginners.
Festival: Have a blast playing on the snow slides and admire the ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival, from 5 February.
Should snow not be your thing, February is the perfect time to explore the Philippines. The January crowds will have gone and the heat won’t kick in until March. Getting to Cebu is easy from Hong Kong, while Boracay is just a connecting flight away, both offering beautiful beach and diving experiences. Check out our friend Jetlag & Mayhem for some great ideas on travel in the Philippines.
Being a very popular time for travel, you might want to start thinking about 2017 to ensure you get the best vacation at the best price! CNY in 2017 is 28 January.
Public Holiday: 25-28 March
Vietnam is paradise in March, when you can expect dry and sunny weather throughout the entire country. So travel the country from tip to toe or just dip your toes in the sand in Danang and stay put. (More on Vietnam here.)
Neighbouring Cambodia also experiences brilliant weather in March, not too hot, making touring the temples of Angkor enjoyable and the pool still an enviable afternoon option.
Festival: Experiencing the Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto, Japan, can be a tricky affair due to their delicate and unpredictable nature… but The National Cherry Blossom Festival from 20 March – 17 April is your best chance to witness this beautiful moment in nature.
Public Holiday: 4 April
Langkawi and Penang, Malaysia are both a great choice for April. The high season has ended and the weather is still a balmy 30 degrees Celsius, with little chance of rain.
Festival: Wash away your negative thoughts and bring on some good luck at the Songkran Water Festival, Thai New Year 13-16 April. Enjoy the street party vibe and expect to get soaking wet! While this is one of Thailand’s hottest months, this festival is also celebrated in Penang.
Public Holiday: 2 May & 14 May
If you fancy your best chance for blue skies in Beijing, China, then May is it. The summer crowds haven’t arrived and you might just get a spot on The Great Wall all to yourself. If you’ve already ventured to China’s capital, then you might want to consider a resort style vacation in Guilin, Southern China, with its picturesque karst landscapes, you won’t be disappointed.
Public Holiday: 9 June
If you don’t mind it hot and sunny with the odd tropical rain shower then Koh Samui, Thailand is perfect. Plus you’ll get to take advantage of some cheaper hotel rates and have a little more elbow room before the summer vacation travelers arrive.
If you are a shopaholic, then you will definitely want to head to Singapore for the ‘Great Singapore Sale’. With unbelievable bargains across the city, your wallet will be very happy.
Event: The Great Singapore Sale – 29 May-26 July
Public Holiday: 1 July
By this time of year you’ll be gagging to get out of Hong Kong’s high humidity and unpredictable weather. While you might not think there is any relief within a few hours flight, you couldn’t be more wrong. July and August are Bali’s driest months, with a tolerable average daily temp of 27 degrees celcius.
While most of Asia is experiencing monsoon rains, the North and Eastern Coasts of Sri Lanka remain a go-to spot, where you will have your pick of beaches. August is also the month for all things Elephant with the annual ‘Elephant Gathering’ in Minneriya National Park. With its amazing list of natural wonders and wildlife, Sri Lanka is now on my bucket list! (Check out this article for more on Sri Lanka.)
Festival: Esala Perahera is the most spectacular and colourful of Sri Lanka’s festivals with processions of jewel-encrusted elephants.
Public Holiday: 16 September
Borneo, Malaysia is one of the lucky few Asian destinations to be experiencing dry weather at this time of year and is the perfect holiday spot for wildlife, nature and beach lovers.
Festival: The Borneo International Kite Festival in Bintulu, Sarawak is a spectacular event where professional and amateur kite enthusiasts showcase their magnificent and artistic kites.
Public Holiday: 1 October & 10 October
Korea has four distinct seasons, but Autumn is definitely one of the more spectacular and pleasant times to visit. While the vibrant capital, Seoul, is a buzzing good time, there is a treasure trove of experiences to be had, from street food and palaces to open air hot springs.
October in Taiwan is also a wonderful time to visit, with typhoon season at its end and temperatures dropping. If you’re craving a beach getaway, then head to Kenting in the South.
November is considered one of the best times to visit Japan (the other is April). The Autumn colours are spectacular across most of the country and the weather is typically perfect for hiking Japan’s most famous mountain, Mount Fuji.
November is also an ideal time to visit India, with the monsoon rains over and cooler weather creeping in. Festival season is starting and beach areas such as Goa aren’t yet packed with tourists.
Festivals: November is the start of festival season in India and you can expect plenty of vivid colour, glitz and glamour at these epic ‘once in a lifetime’ occasions.
Diwali “Festival of Lights”, throughout India – 11 November
Dev Deepavali “Diwali of the Gods”, Varanasi – 14 November
Pushka Camel Fair, Rajasthan – 8-15 November
Public Holiday: 26-27 December
With Hong Kong weather getting colder, Phuket, Thailand is delightful in December, it’s unlikely to rain and you can enjoy a cool evening breeze while sipping your cocktail. (We’ve got more on Phuket here.)
If you prefer a less touristy holiday spot, the simple pleasures of Myanmar are sure to surprise and delight you. The pristine white sand and clear blue water at Ngapali Beach is the place to really get away from it all.
Wherever you travel in 2016, we wish you a safe and exciting experience, with memories that last a lifetime. Don’t forget your camera!
Kim is a creative, happy-go-lucky Aussie mum of 2 girls. She has an extensive travel background and after nearly a decade in Hong Kong has discovered her love of discovering new things and helping start-ups. She blogs about it here: