Spring in Asia: Weather and Event Guide

Where to Go for the Best Weather and Festivals

Mount Fuji and blooming trees for spring in Japan

Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

 

Spring in Asia is marvelous, depending on where you choose to travel, of course!

Numerous spring festivals in Asia celebrate the end of winter and coming of warmer days. Although still a bit chilly, traveling can be especially enjoyable in East Asia where flowers and blooming fruit trees are mindfully appreciated.

On the other hand, many destinations in Southeast Asia become unbearably hot as the rainy season approaches. April is typically the hottest month in Thailand; maybe that's why getting buckets of cold water dumped over one's head during Songkran (the traditional Thai New Year celebration) doesn't sound so bad!

Traditionally, Lunar New Year celebrations such as Tet and Chinese New Year (always in January or February) are considered the beginning of spring—but temperatures suggest otherwise. The definition of spring varies between cultures, but since most of Asia is in the Northern Hemisphere, "spring" here refers to traveling during March, April, and May.

Burning Season in Thailand

As temperatures climb to year highs in spring, fires burn out of control in Northern Thailand. These forest fires are mostly caused by illegal slash-and-burn agriculture methods. Despite efforts by the government to control them, unfortunately, the situation seems to have become worse. Air quality becomes a big concern in popular tourist places such as Pai and Chiang Mai, sometimes prompting school closures and warnings to remain indoors.

Particulate matter in the haze reaches dangerous levels. Some residents flee to southern destinations; meanwhile, everyone else has to wear a mask while outside. If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments, check conditions before traveling to Thailand, Laos, or Burma in March and April.

Golden Week in Japan

If you'll be traveling in Japan this spring, be aware that Golden Week, Japan's busiest travel period, will create chaos the last week of April and the first week of May.

Four consecutive holidays in Japan prompt business closures and millions of people to travel. Flights, hotels, and trains fill to capacity, and prices rise sharply. Parks and public spaces will be much busier than usual.

Southeast Asia Weather in Spring

With the exception of Indonesia, Brunei, and East Timor, spring is the hottest time to travel in Southeast Asia. Temperatures reach their peaks for the year in April and May; although, they remain fairly consistent in Bali throughout the year.

As monsoon season builds in May and showers become increasingly frequent in Thailand, the humidity is stifling. Expect intermittent cloudbursts in late spring. The dry season in Indonesia begins in late spring. If you don’t mind the potential for sporadic rain, spring can be a great time to sneak into popular places such as Bali before the crowds fully arrive for the peak of dry season in June and July.

Average High / Low Temperatures in March

  • Bangkok: 92 F (33 C) / 78 F (26 C)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 91 F (33 C) / 74 F (23 C)
  • Bali (Denpasar): 93 F (34 C) / 75 F (24 C)

Average Rainfall in March

  • Bangkok: 1.2 inches (average of 5 days with precipitation)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 9.1 inches (average of 17 days with precipitation)
  • Bali (Denpasar): 9.2 inches (average of 14 days with precipitation)

Average High / Low Temperatures in April

  • Bangkok: 94 F (34 C) / 80 F (27 C)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 90 F (32 C) / 75 F (24 C)
  • Bali (Denpasar): 94 F (34 C) / 77 F (25 C)

Average Rainfall in April

  • Bangkok: 2.8 inches (average of 8 days with precipitation)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 10.9 inches (average of 19 days with precipitation)
  • Bali (Denpasar): 3.5 inches (average of 10 days with precipitation)

Average High / Low Temperatures in May

  • Bangkok: 92 F (33 C) / 80 F (27 C)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 90 F (32 C) / 75 F (24 C)
  • Bali (Denpasar): 92 F (33 C) / 75 F (24 C)

Average Rainfall in May

  • Bangkok: 7.5 inches (average of 17 days with precipitation)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 7.7 inches (average of 17 days with precipitation)
  • Bali (Denpasar): 3.7 inches (average of 6 days with precipitation)

What to Pack for Southeast Asia in Spring

Expect to take at least two showers a day, if not more! You'll definitely want a clean top for evenings after sweating all day, so bring double or plan to purchase more / do laundry. No need to pack an umbrella or poncho; you'll find both locally for rainy days.

Spring Events in Southeast Asia

  • Songkran: The traditional Thai New Year celebration is widely considered the largest water fight in the world. Songkran officially begins on April 13 each year, but people start celebrating early—watch out for that phone and passport! The epicenter for Songkran is in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.
  • Easter: The Philippines, Southeast Asia's predominantly Catholic country, celebrates Holy Week the week before Easter. During this time, many local businesses are closed and streets get blocked; plan accordingly.
  • Nyepi: The Balinese Day of Silence shuts the island down completely for 24 hours every March. Even the airport is closed! Participation is compulsory: Tourists have to remain inside their hotels for the day.
  • Reunification Day in Vietnam: April 30 is celebrated throughout Vietnam as the day that Saigon was captured and the country reunited.

East Asia Weather in Spring

The hustle and bustle of Beijing is far more tolerable in the spring before pollution traps summer heat in the city. Green, rural places such as Yunnan are perfect for fresh air and pleasant temperatures before June.

Japan comes alive with spring flowers and blooming cherry trees. Big crowds go to the parks to picnic and enjoy the beauty of the sakura blooms—you should, too!

Average High / Low Temperatures in March

  • Beijing: 52 F (11 C) / 33 F (0.6 C)
  • Hong Kong: 71 F (22 C) / 63 F (17 C)
  • Tokyo: 56 F (13 C) / 42 F (6 C)

Average Rainfall in March

  • Beijing 0.3 inches (average of 4 days with precipitation)
  • Hong Kong: 2.9 inches (average of 11 days with precipitation)
  • Tokyo: 4.2 inches (average of 10 days with precipitation)

Average High / Low Temperatures in April

  • Beijing: 67 F (19 C) / 47 F (8 C)
  • Hong Kong: 77 F (25 C) / 69 F (21 C)
  • Tokyo: 66 F (19 C) / 51 F (11 C)

Average Rainfall in April

  • Beijing 0.7 inch (average of 5 days with precipitation)
  • Hong Kong: 5.5 inches (average of 12 days with precipitation)
  • Tokyo: 5.1 inches (average of 16 days with precipitation)

Average High / Low Temperatures in May

  • Beijing: 78 F (26 C) / 57 F (14 C)
  • Hong Kong: 83 F (28 C) / 75 F (24 C)
  • Tokyo: 73 F (23 C) / 60 F (16 C)

Average Rainfall in May

  • Beijing 1.3 inches (average of 6 days with precipitation)
  • Hong Kong: 11.2 inches (average of 15 days with precipitation)
  • Tokyo: 5.7 inches (average of 16 days with precipitation)

What to Pack for East Asia in Spring

Pack layers! Temperature swings are common as winter gives way to spring. You'll want reliable rain gear if traveling to Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Japan.

Spring Events in East Asia

These spring events are big enough to affect the region. Plan ahead by booking transportation and accommodation earlier than usual.

  • Hanami: Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival begins in the south around March and concludes in the north around May. The fleeting blooms are a great excuse for everyone to picnic and party in public parks.
  • Golden Week: The biggest holiday period in Japan begins on April 29 with Showa Day and winds down (hopefully) after May 5. Golden Week is the busiest time of year to travel in Japan. Avoid it or be ready for long queues everywhere you go.
  • International Labor Day: May 1 is celebrated as Labor Day in China. Although not as intense as National Day on October 1, millions of Chinese people will be traveling.

Spring Travel Tips for Japan

Just as hanami winds down, Golden Week (Japan’s busiest travel time) begins on April 29 and goes through the first week of May. Several national holidays coincide to produce an insanely busy time. The peak tourist season begins in May, shortly after. Consider waiting until later in May before visiting Japan.

India Weather in Spring

Per the Hindu calendar, spring (Vasant Ritu) begins in India in February and ends in April. The monsoon season in India typically begins in early June and lasts until October. Excessive heat and humidity become suffocating in some places around India. Temperatures can hover around 105 degrees Fahrenheit in April creating dangerous situations. If you aren't a fan of extreme heat or don't handle it well, steer clear.

Average High / Low Temperatures in March

  • Delhi: 86 F (30 C) / 57 F (14 C)
  • Mumbai: 91 F (33 C) / 69 F (21 C)

Average Rainfall in March

  • Delhi: 0.4 inches (average of 1 day with precipitation)
  • Mumbai: 0 inches (no days with precipitation)

Average High / Low Temperatures in April

  • Delhi: 98 F (37 C) / 69 F (21 C)
  • Mumbai: 91 F (33 C) / 75 F (24 C)

Average Rainfall in April

  • Delhi: 1.2 inches (average of 1 day with precipitation)
  • Mumbai: 0.1 inches (no rainy days)

Average High / Low Temperatures in May

  • Delhi: 105 F (41 C) / 77 F (25 C)
  • Mumbai: 92 F (33 C) / 80 F (27 C)

Average Rainfall in May

  • Delhi: 1.1 inches (average of 2 days with precipitation)
  • Mumbai: 0.8 inches (average of 4 days with precipitation)

What to Pack for India in Spring

Pack for extreme temperatures. Take plenty of extra tops or plan to buy additional clothing there. Rain isn't a problem until the monsoon hits Delhi hard in July.

Spring Events in India

  • Holi: India's crazy Festival of Colors sometimes occurs in March. Dates change annually; you'll definitely want to be ready!
  • Carnival in Goa: The Portuguese brought Carnival to Goa; it still gets celebrated with gusto the week before Lent.

With so much religious and ethnic diversity around the subcontinent, India has numerous other smaller festivals in the spring.

Spring Travel Tips for India

Along with extreme temperatures for Delhi in May, the air quality can often be very poor. Without rain to remove some of the dust and pollution, the suffocating urban heat and particulate matter can cause travelers to easily become heat exhausted while exploring.

Spring Travel in Nepal

Spring is considered the best season for visiting Nepal. Wildflowers bloom, and trekking opportunities abound. Climbing season begins on Everest, so spring is a great time to do the trek to Everest Base Camp if you want to see it in action.

Spring usually provides the best views of the tallest peaks in the world before summer humidity limits visibility. May is a good time to hit the Himalayas!

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