Best time to travel
Asia-Pacific by the Seasons
Asia-Pacific is a term that refers to the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean. The region varies in size depending on who you ask, but it includes much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Oceania. Since the climate and weather patterns vary so much country to country, you will find perfect weather to travel at any time of the year in one area or another. Just do your research before you go to determine whether you should be bringing your winter gear or your bathing suit.
• Oceania: This region is made up of many island countries including Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji and the Soloman Islands. Australia itself has a very diverse climate because of its large size and position on the Tropic of Capricorn. The northern coast is tropical while the southern region has a Mediterranean climate. Otherwise, Oceania as a whole is generally hot and humid year round. The islands experience no winter or summer, but many see seasonal changes in the winds, ocean currents and rainfall. Between the islands themselves, there is a diversity of climates, and you should be able to find one that works with your travel schedule at any time of year.
• East Asia: East Asia (including China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan) has a temperate climate, experiencing colder winters and warm summers. Most of the region’s rainfall occurs during the warm summer months and rice, the primary crop of the region is suited to the warm wet growing season there.
• South Asia: With countries ranging from India and Bhutan to Nepal and Sri Lanka, this vast region’s climate varies considerably from area to area according to altitude, proximity to the Indian Ocean coastline, and seasonal impact of monsoons. The hot southern area sees tropical monsoons while the north experiences more of a temperate climate with cooler winters. The mountainous north is much colder and receives snowfall in the higher Himalayas.
• Southeast Asia: Comprised of countries like Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, Southeast Asia has a mostly tropical hot and humid climate all year round with plenty of rainfall. The majority of the region has a wet and a dry season caused by seasonal shifts in winds or monsoon periods.
What to prepare
Wondering How to Prepare and What to Pack on Your Asia-Pacific Vacation?
Since the regions of Asia-Pacific vary so greatly in climate, weather and temperature, you will want to research your vacation destination before you go to ensure you’re packing the right gear. The detailed packing list in your Pre-Trip Planner will give you specifics, but below are a few tips for how to prepare for your vacation to Asia-Pacific.
1. Packing for Monsoon Season.
If you’re traveling during the Asian monsoon season, you probably won’t need to pack your parka in your suitcase! Chances are it will be hot and humid. You’ll want to pack your lightweight, easy-dry clothing and just leave that denim at home. Sandals will keep your feet cool and comfortable. Take along a lightweight rain jacket that will keep you dry but not overheated; a packable umbrella would also be welcome. Plastic bags are nice to keep in your suitcase as you can easily separate wet clothing, swimwear and shoes from dry ones (hang up your wet items whenever you get the chance!) Last of all, keeping silica gel packs in your luggage and camera bag (which is especially vulnerable to the high moisture content in the air) is sure to keep the inside of your bags dry, even in high humidity.
2. Don’t Forget That Sarong.
We like to think of the sarong as the “Swiss army knife of clothing.” Sarongs are easy to pack in the corners of your suitcase, or you can buy them for low prices in the cities upon arrival. A sarong can be used to dress up or dress down. Wear them to the beach over your swimwear, create a makeshift blanket, use it as a sunshade or make it into a towel if you need one.
3. For the Heat.
If you’re heading to anywhere in the Asia-Pacific area in the summertime, it’s going to be hot! Pack light cotton clothing or easy dry clothing if the region you’re going to is humid. Take along a wide-brimmed hat (there are many on the market that are easily packable), sandals and polarized sunglasses. Some of our guests choose to invest in UV-resistant clothing, which you can buy at just about any outdoor store. You can also treat your clothes with a UV-protectant treatment like Sun Guard. If you’d like to save some money or room in your suitcase, you can always buy very cheap clothing in the cities upon your arrival. Just remember that if you are tall or broad, the clothing might not fit as most of the clothing stores cater to small Asian bodies.
4. Bring Your Own Toiletries.
Items like toothpaste, sunscreen, and shampoo can take up a lot of room in your suitcase, but if you’re particular about your products, you might just want to buy them at home and bring them with you. Toiletries are cheap in the Asia-Pacific region, but western brands can be tough to find. Be sure to check lotions, creams and deodorants for whitening agents before you buy them!
Travel Tips for Visiting Asia-Pacific
A trip to Southeast Asia or Oceania can be a bit overwhelming to plan – there’s so much to research and not enough time in the day! Never to fear, your Adventure Consultants are here -to give you a few insider tips on traveling half-way across the world.
1. What, When, Where, Who?
First of all, the Asia-Pacific area as a whole is an enormous region encompassing many different countries. Your first priority is narrowing down where you’d like to travel: Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia? The options are endless! Once you’ve “thinned out the herd” and picked a few destinations, start figuring out what you’d like to do and see. Do you want to take a cruise along the Kimberley Coast of Australia? Snorkel in a world famous marine park in Thailand? Photograph the endless rice-terraces and clove-plantations of Indonesia? Indulge in some Fish Amok (steamed coconut fish in banana leaves) in Cambodia? Once again, your choices of things to do and see are infinite. You’ll want to take a look at your schedule and see when you can travel and check your timeframe against the best times to travel in your chosen country. Also, if you don’t have time to research or just don’t want to “go it on your own,” why not call up a tour operator who does the researching, planning and follow-through of the trip for you?
2. Check the Customs of the Country
If you’re heading to anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region and you’re from a Western culture, chances are, you may not know the customs of the country you’re traveling to. While you’ll learn many of the customs on your trip itself, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research ahead of time in order to not step on any toes or look a little silly or foolish! For example, if you enter any of the temples, mosques or churches in Southeast Asia, you’ll want to be sure to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs in order to show respect. Australians value authenticity and when meeting someone for the first time, while they may say ‘G’day’ or ‘G’day, mate’, this may sound patronizing coming from a foreigner. In Asian cultures, raised voices, displays of anger and pointing with your index finger are considered rude. All in all, there are many small gestures, mannerisms, and customs that we may not know to adhere to, but remaining friendly with a big smile will get you far regardless of what you do (or don’t do!)
3. Negotiating can be Fun!
When traveling to many of the countries in Asia-Pacific, haggling (something that often doesn’t exist in Western cultures) can be fun and a good deal for all if it’s done right. In many countries, you may walk into a shop, mall, or street vendor and see that many of the items for sale have no price tags. This means it’s time to bargain! Do realize that the first price the vendor will give to you may be quite high if you look like someone who has money to burn. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. But remember not to bargain too low – these vendors have families they need to feed! Everyone should go home happy after the deal is made. If you can’t get a fair deal with one vendor, just move onto the next one!