February in Asia: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Where to Go in February for the Best Weather

Beautiful weather in February at Freedom Square in Taipei

shen wei / Getty Images

 

The weather for February in Asia varies by region: Thailand and large swaths of Southeast Asia along with India will be enjoying warm temperatures and dry weather. Meanwhile, Bali and destinations farther south will be inundated with rain during monsoon season. China, Japan, Korea, and most of East Asia will be dealing with winter temperatures and preparing for spring.

If your goal is to escape winter at home, February is a fantastic month to take advantage of the dry season in northern parts of Southeast Asia. Thailand and neighboring countries will be enjoying the peak of their high season. Days are hot but not as scorching as they will be in March and April when the highest humidity and temperatures for the year hit.

Asia in February
 TripSavvy 

The Lunar New Year in February

While Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are experiencing the best of their dry seasons, Lunar New Year celebrations have the potential to shake everything up in February. Dates change annually for Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year), but the holiday is always observed in January or February. Travel in Asia the week before and after Lunar New Year may be affected.

The largest human migration on earth is referred to as Chunyun, a time when more than a billion people are on the move just before and right after the 15-day Lunar New Year holiday period. During the break, millions of additional travelers take advantage of time off work to visit some of the top destinations around Southeast Asia. Plan accordingly for transportation delays and price hikes on flights and accommodation.

Monsoon Season in Bali

February is typically one of the wettest months for Bali and nearby islands. Although you can still enjoy some sunshine during monsoon season, Indonesia's most visited island receives an average of 17 days of rain in February—not exactly ideal for coming home with a tan!

The good news is that Bali will be far less busy than it is in the summer months.

Asia Weather in February

(average high / low temperatures and humidity)

  • Bangkok: 90 F (32 C) / 75 F (24 C) / 70 percent humidity
  • Kuala Lumpur: 90 F (32 C) / 73 F (23 C) / 80 percent humidity
  • Bali: 92 F (33 C) / 76 F (24 C) / 85 percent humidity
  • Singapore: 88 F (31 C) / 76 F (24 C) / 69 percent humidity
  • Beijing: 39 F (4 C) / 22 F (minus 6 C) / 53 percent humidity
  • Tokyo: 51 F (11 C) / 37 F (2.8 C) / 50 percent humidity
  • New Delhi: 75 F (24 C) / 48 F (9 C) / 66 percent humidity

Average Rainfall for February in Asia

  • Bangkok: 1.1 inches (28 mm) / average of 2 rainy days
  • Kuala Lumpur: 6.7 inches (170 mm) / average of 14 rainy days
  • Bali: 10.8 inches (274 mm) / average of 17 rainy days
  • Singapore: 6.5 inches (165 mm) / average of 10 rainy days
  • Beijing: 0.2 inch (5 mm) / average of 3 days with precipitation
  • Tokyo: 2.8 inches (71 mm) / average of 11 wet days (mix of rain or snow)
  • New Delhi: 0.6 inch (15 mm) / average of 2 rainy days

Most of China and Korea will be cold in February; Japan is slightly warmer. Meanwhile, northern parts of Southeast Asia will enjoy the last months of pleasant temperatures before heat and humidity peak in April. The air in Southeast Asia is suffocating until the monsoon season moves in to cool things down in April or May.

Although the weather is excellent in places such as Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, February marks the peak of the busy season. You can pretty well expect to pay full price for accommodation; negotiating discounts will be difficult. UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the temples in Ayutthaya, Thailand, get very busy during February. Vietnam's long shape causes a spread in temperatures. Hanoi in the north will experience much cooler average temperatures (62 F) in February than Saigon does in the south (82F).

What to Pack

Even if you're traveling to sunny Southeast Asia in February, you'll want to bring one warm top or coverup. Public transportation is often freezing cold, and even destinations such as Pai in Northern Thailand get cool at night due to the nearby mountains. Dress warmly for major cities in East Asia—buildings funnel the icy wind, causing it to pick up speed.

If you'll be traveling during Chinese New Year, consider bringing along something red to wear for good luck!

February Events in Asia

Many February events in Asia are scheduled around lunar events or are based on lunisolar calendars, causing the dates to vary from year to year. These winter events and festivals could potentially take place in the month of February:

  • Vietnamese Tet: (usually coincides with Chinese New Year) You'll need to plan ahead if traveling in Vietnam; the country's largest national holiday really shakes things up. Tet is a very exciting time to be in Vietnam, but it's also the busiest season.
  • Setsubun: (usually February 3 or 4) The bizarre Japanese bean-throwing festival marks the traditional beginning of spring. Beans, and sometimes money or candy, are thrown to ward off evil spirits and delight spectators.
  • Thaipusam: (January or February) The Hindu holiday of Thaipusam falls in January or early February. Festive celebrations, including some face piercing, take place in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and any other place with a large Hindu Tamil community. The Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia host one of the biggest celebrations.
  • Carnival: (dates vary) The Christian celebration of Carnival, observed as Mardis Gras in the United States, isn't regularly observed in Asia; however, festivals and parades are sometimes held in places where Christianity was introduced by colonists. Carnival was brought to Goa in India by Portuguese colonists; large parties and lots of revelry take place each February. Ironically, the Philippines, Asia's most Catholic nation, doesn't typically observe Carnival in the usual way. They have their own version split into separate festivals that usually take place in January.
  • Full Moon Party: Thailand's popular Full Moon Party on the island of Koh Phangan will be raging in February as tens of thousands of travelers head there. February often sees one of the biggest parties of the year. The event has grown large enough to affect the flow of backpackers in Thailand for a week each month! Destinations in the north such as Chiang Mai become quieter as the islands on the Gulf side of Thailand (the east) become very busy.

February Travel Tips

Massive holidays such as Chinese New Year, Tet, Thaipusam, and others in Asia get busy! The affect of big events varies by region. You should certainly take this into account when planning a trip to Asia in February. Either arrive early and plan to enjoy the festivals or avoid the area altogether until the chaos subsides and things return back to "normal."

If Lunar New Year celebrations occur in February and you aren't interested in participating, consider moving your trip to January or March.

Places With the Best Weather

Places With the Worst Weather

Of course, you can always find enjoyable places to go in all destinations, no matter the season. For warmer choices, go for sea level in the tropics. Any destination higher in elevation will be cold and possibly buried in snow during February.

Finding pleasant weather during your trip is also a matter of good timing. To learn more about traveling in Asia during specific seasons, check out our guides for Asia in winter, spring, summer, and fall.

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