Asia in April is anyone's guess as far as weather is concerned; it's a transition month. But the festivals that celebrate the changing of the seasons (and in Thailand's case, the year) are amazing.
As the southwest monsoon approaches, weather is in flux throughout Southeast Asia. The busy season will begin to wind down in countries such as Thailand where tourists have enjoyed months of dry weather.
Meanwhile, countries such as Indonesia that were experiencing rain will begin to slowly dry out. The crowds will trickle south for better weather.
April marks the real start of spring in East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea; flowers will soak up the plentiful April showers and begin blooming.
April is the last month to enjoy mostly dry weather in Hong Kong and many other popular destinations before temperatures and rainfall increase dramatically. The humidity can become a real nuisance.
- See more about the weather and events in Asia month by month.
Big Events and Festivals in April
These large events will certainly affect travel in some places as hotels and transportation book up. Don't get caught unaware; time your trip carefully to be in each place a few days early to enjoy the festivities.
- Songkran in Thailand: Celebrated annually from April 13–15, the Thai New Year is definitely the biggest water fight in the world! For at least three days, both locals and tourists alike will fill the streets for splashing, dancing, and good-natured water fighting. The epicenter for Songkran is in Chiang Mai, however, the festival is celebrated across Thailand and even in Luang Prabang, Laos. Warning: you will get wet at this festival!
- Reunification Day in Vietnam: April 30 marks the celebration of Vietnam's reunification of north and south following the Vietnam War. You'll find temporary stages and performances in the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Flag waving and patriotic propaganda are abundant. Reunification Day is an interesting time to be in Vietnam's big cities, however, some attractions may be closed or extremely busy.
- Hanami in Japan: April is peak month for viewing the cherry and plum blossoms throughout Japan. The beautiful blooms begin to appear from south to north as weather gets warmer. Japanese friends, couples, families, and coworkers will flood parks for picnics and parties to enjoy the blooms with the help of a little sake.
- Golden Week in Japan: Four major holidays hit Japan around the end of April: Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, and Children's Day. With so many businesses closed for the holidays, many Japanese take advantage and travel during Golden Week, making it the busiest time of year in Japan. Transportation will be bogged down until at least May 5 or 6 and attractions will be packed — plan accordingly!
- Nyepi: The Balinese Day of Silence, known as Nyepi, sometimes hits in April. The occasion is based on a lunarsolar calendar, so dates change annually. During Nyepi, the airport closes, all transportation shuts down, and visitors are expected to remain inside their hotels for 24 hours. Tourists aren't exempt! But don't worry: the night before Nyepi, considered a New Year's Eve, is one big party.
For more festivals and big events in April:
Where to Go in April
The weather is in steady transition throughout Asia in April. The first hints of the monsoon season will begin to show as rainfall increases throughout much of Southeast Asia. For the most part, April marks the winding down of the busy season in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and northern parts of Southeast Asia. Thailand is such a popular destination that it's busy practically all year long, regardless of the season.
Southeast Asian countries farther south such as Indonesia will just be gearing up for their busy seasons to begin. April is one of the best months to enjoy Bali before the summer crowds arrive. Australians grab cheap flights to Bali just as winter is beginning to take hold in the Southern Hemisphere.
Spring will be rolling through much of China, Korea, and Japan with temperatures climbing to comfortable highs during the days but dipping back down for cool evenings.
Spring showers will turn East Asia nice and green after a long winter. The fruit trees — particularly cherry and plum trees — will be blooming, making parks and public areas increasingly beautiful and busier.
April and May are good months for doing some trekking in Nepal before rain, snow, and summer humidity arrive to obstruct views. April is a good compromise between pleasant weather and less people on the trail.
Places with the Best Weather
- Central China
- Parts of Sri Lanka (see when to go to Sri Lanka)
- Parts of Nepal
Places with the Worst Weather
- South China (heavy rain)
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (rain)
- Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (rain)
Smoke and Haze in Northern Thailand
Smoke and haze from fires burning out of control in Northern Thailand, Laos, and Burma can cause air quality to become extremely poor in the area. In years past, particulate matter has reached dangerous levels. Sometimes the airport in Chiang Mai has to be closed due to low visibility.
The smoke often affects Chiang Mai and Pai, causing locals to don masks and even some air-quality advisories. Conditions improve quickly once monsoon rains begin, however, travelers with respiratory problems should be aware of particulate levels before planning a trip to the area.