What you should know about traveling during the monsoon season
IF BEING STUCK inside your hotel or Airbnb while on holiday because it’s pouring outside sounds like a bad idea, it probably is.
In fact, for some places in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Laos, Singapore Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam), the monsoon season (the wet, rainy months from May to October) is considered an “off” season due to the lack of activity and people.
You could’ve been hankering for a sunny, beach vacation only to discover that you’re walking right into an afternoon downpour as soon as you step out of the airport. Or, you could’ve been planning to shop till you drop in Singapore only to find that you’ll need to lug a dripping wet umbrella with you everywhere you go.
There are two things you can do in that situation: sulk about your ruined holiday or embrace it. Hopefully, it’s the latter.
But so as to avoid from having to make such decisions, here are some things you need to know about traveling during monsoon season.
Things are cheaper
Most Southeast Asians would know better than to travel during the monsoon season, and because there are not many tourists as well, merchants and hotels would usually do everything in their power to attract visitors.
So expect amazing discounts and mind-bogglingly low prices for rentals, accommodations, and even food and drinks.
Feel the cool breeze on your face
Southeast Asia’s peak travel season is during its dry season, during which the region is relatively free of rain. But that is also when it’s ridiculously humid and hot, thanks to its tropical climate.
Rain or overcast skies on the daily during the monsoon season makes for a more cooling travel so pack a poncho (because that’s easier to lug around than an umbrella) and make the best out of it.
“Sorry, we’re closed”
In bigger and more populated cities, businesses will experience a slowdown during monsoon season. But in smaller towns and on quieter islands, some businesses will decide to close altogether until the dark clouds go away. This affects you as a visitor as you will be left with slim pickings on places to eat and things to do.
Make sure you do your research (Google is your best friend) and get your itinerary done right down to the most minute detail to avoid inconveniences.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t torrential-rain down on people 24 hours a day.
So as soon as the rain slows to a light drizzle and the sun decides to make an appearance for a little while, put on your swimsuit and head to the beach.
Steer clear of the current
Although you’re at the beach, it’s best not to risk swimming, surfing, or diving. Some places, such as Phuket and Koh Chang in Thailand, experience deadly rip currents (powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water) that are capable of pulling you in and under.
Sink your toes in the sand, not the sea.
Flash flooding ahead
Being out and about in a city may prove to be a challenge, but nothing undoable. Some countries, such as Malaysia and Vietnam, are prone to flash floods.
So maybe lay off Ubers or cabs (in case you get stranded in a flash flood) and walk it instead. Do leave your expensive kicks behind and pack a good, trusty pair of non-slip sandals or thongs.
Stay safe and happy monsoon holidaying!