What to expect when you travel southeast Asia in low season

halong bay sunset vietnamRain

The low season is the off season because it’s wet. We travelled in May/June, which was still very dry. You might get anything from odd showers through to heavy rain. We found that rain didn’t seem to last very long, though – usually a few hours at most. Apart from one big storm in southern Thailand, it hardly rained during our trip at all.

Low prices

Accommodation prices drop like a rock, and you may well have your pick of rooms in certain places. Case in point: our first resort on Koh Lanta…

Limited choice

A lot of places close down during the quiet season, which is a bummer. While stuck in Krabi between transfers, I went wandering through the town looking for food. To say that there wasn’t a lot to choose from would be an understatement. Luckily, I stumbled across the local markets and picked up a clam curry, fried veggie fritters and some coconut treats.

We also found that the boats between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh weren’t running, leaving us no choice but to catch a bus – a bit disappointing, since I’d hoped to get a taste of river travel that way.

With all that said, aside from south Thailand, it was still incredibly busy everywhere we went. Bangkok was bustling, Angkor Wat was packed, and Halong Bay was pretty darn crowded too – I can’t imagine what it would be like in peak season.

Do you normally try to travel off-peak?


5 thoughts on “What to expect when you travel southeast Asia in low season

  • Reply krantcents June 28, 2013 at 08:49

    For 10 years, I taught at a school that had different breaks from summer. I was able to travel in the off season many times. I saved money, but importantly I could avoid the crowds.

  • Reply Jennifer June 28, 2013 at 23:51

    I’ve travelled twice to Asia during wet season and I’ve had beautiful weather each time. However you could land on some bad luck and end up with a tropical storm – although giving the savings in price both on flights and accommodation I’d still encourage people to go during the wet season. Like you said – mostly it only rains for a couple of hours each day – mostly in the afternoon, but then it comes out lovely and sunny again. I was in Koh Samui in low season and got a beautiful hotel with a pool, and the weather was great, but the beach empty!

  • Reply Linda June 29, 2013 at 01:45

    I like to travel during the “shoulder seasons,” too. I really don’t like crowds and do my best to avoid them, and this is the best way for me to do so. Prices are usually quite cheap, too.

    For example, a couple years ago I lucked into a RT airfare between Chicago and Madrid for about $650. It required me to travel in March, several weeks before the more popular Easter season. Although it was colder and pretty rainy, I still enjoyed my time in Spain immensely. I sure wish I could get such a fantastic airfare for my next trip to Europe! I had to pay $1,000 to fly to Edinburgh this fall. Ouch!

  • Reply Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility July 1, 2013 at 05:29

    I haven’t traveled anywhere like this in years but I know a friend of mine who likes to travel in “shoulder season”. I think that’s what it’s called.
    Anyway, shoulder season being between high and low season – the prices aren’t quite as low but the weather is more likely to be cooperative and more businesses are open!
    Your pics are amazing!

  • Reply Pauline @ Make Money Your Way July 1, 2013 at 13:20

    I was in Europe last year just before the summer season and it was great to visit Greece and Italy in particular without the hordes of tourists. Those places get really crowded! And the weather is sunny but not too hot. Hotel deals were amazing too, but like you said sometimes the fun things to do are closed, like we arrived once in a ski resort one day after the station closed and couldn’t go skiing.

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