Travel to Southeast Asia in Summer 2023: Most Underrated Destinations, Things to Do, Weather
The tropical climate of Southeast Asia experiences warm and hot weather all year round and has always been a top holiday destination for adventurous explorers, providing a wide range of luxurious experiences and backpacker adventures. However, this region faces a brief period of rainfall during the summertime in the western hemisphere which results in low season and less number of international visitors during this period. Still, if you’re planning on travelling in south east Asia during this time, Lub d comes up with underrated summer travel ideas for this region, where to go, the weather, and what to do. So get ready to pack your bags and embark on an extraordinary journey to explore the unexplored in Southeast Asia.
What’s the Weather Like in Southeast Asia?
Tropical Southeast Asia is renowned for its incredible travel destinations and sought-after vacation spots. It is warm and hot all year round with temperatures typically ranging from 26 to 33 degrees Celsius (79 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit).
While the Western hemisphere experiences the summer months, its counterpart experiences periods of rainy days as there are exceptions for Malaysia and the east coast of Bali.
When it comes to rainy days, the average monthly count ranges from approximately 15 to 18. Rainfall is typically concentrated in the afternoon and at night, which minimally affects travel activities.
Compared to the months of July and August, June offers a more favorable time for a trip due to relatively lower rainfall, fewer crowds, and cooling weather.
Overall, Southeast Asia is full of many underrated travel destinations for early summer. With proper planning, flexibility, and keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, the rainy season poses minimal challenges.
1. Luang Prabang, Laos: A Spiritual Getaway in Northern Laos
Experience the cultural heart of Laos in Luang Prabang, a captivating small city nestled in northern Laos. As a UNESCO heritage site, Luang Prabang is one of the underrated places that offers a serene escape from bustling urban life, immersing you in natural wonders and spiritual bliss. The city boasts an abundance of golden-roofed temples, monasteries, and colonial French architecture, while situated along the Mekhong River.
Luang Prabang is a perfect blend of rich traditions that live up to UNESCO heritage sites and awe-inspiring natural beauty which can easily become one of your best summer holiday destinations. Many travelers also choose Luang Prabang to be an underrated cheap travel destination for their slow travel journey due to the slow-paced lifestyle among the locals.
What Luang Prabang is famous for is the enchanting daily alms-giving ceremony where the locals offer alms of rice to the monks at the break of dawn. This sacred tradition involves lines of monks walking out of the temples while the locals are waiting at the tables for meals and preparing to give the alms to the monks. The monks in Luang Prabang only eat one meal a day and the meal from the locals is considered as a gift. Witnessing this ancient tradition is one of the most astounding and spiritual experiences that shouldn’t be missed.
Beyond its cultural heritage, Luang Prabang boasts breathtaking natural attractions, making it one of the best summer holiday destinations. Explore the majestic Kuang Si Falls, where untouched nature flourishes, offering a refreshing and rejuvenating escape from the heat.
2. Langkawi, Malaysia: Southeast Asia’s Only UNESCO Geopark Destination
Langkawi is undoubtedly one of the most underrated travel destinations out there. From a well-preserved nature and stunning beaches, Langkawi is the only place in Southeast Asia granted a UNESCO Geopark site status. It is earned due to the remarkable collection of awe-inspiring rock formations nestled amidst ancient jungles, expansive caves adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, mangroves, captivating sea caves and tunnels, abundant wildlife, and picturesque waterfalls.
Langkawi can be one of your top summer destinations if you’re the type of traveler who loves beach destinations with lesser crowds. From November to December and April to August, there may be occasional showers, but the number of tourists is relatively lower during these months.
All types of accommodations ranging from backpackers-friendly hostels to luxury resorts are available on stunning beaches, so no need to worry about the places to stay on the island.
Things to Do in Langkawi
Take a day trip to the scenic Kilim Geoforest Park, one of the top things to do here is to kayak through the lush jungle groves. As you leisurely cruise along the river, take the chance to visit local fishing villages and catch glimpses of magnificent wildlife, including eagles and fish. You will get to see the fascinating local vegetation, from the diverse flora and fauna to the delicate ecosystem that thrives since the ancient time.
As one of the best summer vacation spots, one of the main activities to do in Langkawi is to do island-hopping and visit the most popular destinations such as Pulau Beras Basah, Pulau Singa Besar, and Pulau Dayang islands.
Or you can just dedicate a whole day to riding a bike around the island and visiting each stunning beach. Experience the tranquility of Pantai Kok Beach, a serene coastal haven adorned with palm trees, perfect for travelers seeking secluded relaxation and even surfing. You can stop by Pantai Cenang, the bustling hub of Langkawi’s beaches, offering a wide range of beach activities and a multitude of dining choices, including delightful street food stalls. Lastly, make a unique visit to Black Sand Beach, locally known as Pantai Pasir Hitam, where you’ll be enchanted by the charcoal-colored crystallized sands, setting it apart from other beaches in Langkawi.
3. Discover the Traditional Splendor of Mandalay: Myanmar’s Hidden Gem
While Yangon may steal the spotlight, we’d recommend you also visit Mandalay, Myanmar’s fourth-largest city. This culturally diverse metropolis, known for its significant population of monks, offers a captivating blend of history, spirituality, and a slow travel experience. Immerse yourself in Mandalay’s wonders, from the iconic Royal Palace, a magnificent walled city constructed in the 19th century, to Maha Myat Muni Paya, the country’s second holiest pilgrimage site.
Things to Do in Mandalay
We recommend you visit the astounding architectural marvel of the temples in Mandalay. Our personal recommendation is to visit Hsinbyume Paya (Mya Thein Tan Pagoda). This temple is famous due to its picturesque and Instagrammable quality. However, the temple is even more impressive when you see it in real life. The highlight is that you get to climb to many levels of the white temples to see the views from above.
Another recommended thing to do is to visit Anisakan Waterfall. It is a giant waterfall with blue-color water with magnificent scenery and a pagoda next to it. The way done to the waterfall is moderately difficult for some as it is pretty steep and requires a lot of caution when walking. It takes around 30-45 minutes to walk from the start to the waterfall, and on the way back will require a lot of work. So you will need to be prepared by having bottles of water with you, wearing comfortable clothes and shoes and swimsuits as you will definitely want to swim here!
Beyond its cultural treasures, Mandalay is a haven for food enthusiasts for those looking for places to visit in the summer. The city’s diverse culinary scene, influenced by neighboring countries like Bangladesh, China, and India, offers a gastronomic adventure that will delight your taste buds. Indulge in Mandalay’s renowned specialties, and make sure not to miss the opportunity to try Htou Moun, a delightful traditional Burmese dessert exclusive to the city.
4. Hidden Paradise of Lombok: Your Ultimate Indonesian Island Retreat
Lombok, an island located just east of its renowned sister, Bali, is a true paradise on Earth and one of the hidden vacation spots. Picture pristine sandy beaches, lush verdant forests, and captivating waterfalls—all without the overwhelming crowds found in Bali. While Bali may offer a wider range of accommodations and entertainment options, we believe Lombok boasts more idyllic beaches and superior surfing opportunities. Plus, you can easily embark on a short boat journey to the nearby Gili Islands for unforgettable diving adventures, vibrant parties, and a plethora of exciting activities.
Things to do in Lombok
As a quieter and less bustling island, Lombok is an ideal destination for wellness getaways. Whether you seek a rejuvenating yoga retreat or a peaceful meditation escape, Lombok provides the perfect environment to recharge your mind, body, and soul.
Make the most of your Lombok adventure by taking a hike up the majestic Mount Rinjani, offering breathtaking views and an exhilarating trekking experience. For water enthusiasts, catch exhilarating waves at Senggigi Beach, renowned for its fantastic surf conditions. If pure relaxation is your goal, head to the expansive shores of Selong Belanak, where you can unwind and soak up tranquility.
To immerse yourself in Lombok’s rich culture, visit the vibrant Muslim mosques, a testament to the island’s diverse heritage. Explore the traditional markets, such as the colorful Cakranegara Market, where you can discover local produce and exquisite crafts, showcasing the authentic flavors and craftsmanship of Lombok.
5. Khao Yai National Park: Thailand’s First and Ecologically Significant Destination
As the first and the largest national park in Thailand, Khao Yai National Park holds immense global and regional importance, boasting a unique landscape characterized by towering mountains, lush jungles, spectacular waterfalls, and wild animals.
Things to do in Khao Yai National Park
You can experience the natural wonders of Khao Yai National Park at your own pace. Reachable by both car and bike, perfect for a road trip and making it convenient for everyone. While driving through the national park, if you’re lucky, you might get to spot incredible wild animals in their natural habitat such as wild elephants, deer, and manjacks roaming around.
The park is well-organized, with friendly staff available to guide you through the park. There are also food, fruits, and drinks available as well as informative areas. Whether you’re up for camping or prefer a road trip, don’t miss this holiday destination for the opportunity to hike and witness the breathtaking waterfalls within the park.
Traveling in Khao Yai during the summer period is the perfect time for visiting the national park as you will get to see beautiful waterfalls namely Kong Kaew Waterfall, Haew Suwat Waterfall, and Haew Narok Waterfall, while the atmosphere is much cooler and temperate which is ideal for the trekking and exploring the wildlife.
6. Experience the Serenity of Koh Tao, Thailand
If you’re looking for a secluded summer getaway, Koh Tao is probably one of the underrated vacation spots. While its neighbor Koh Samui may be easily accessible by direct flights, Koh Tao’s lack of direct flight options keeps it blissfully more serene and less crowded.
This is an island paradise where you get to explore its vibrant coral reefs, go snorkeling or scuba diving, or simply relax on the idyllic shores, due to its secluded area and less popularity.
Koh Tao is sunny all year round but the brief monsoon season typically occurs from mid-November to the end of December. From October to March, the tide in Koh Tao is high, resulting in favorable conditions for swimming and snorkeling, and making the island one of the best summer destinations. The beaches and bays are filled with water, making it easier and more enjoyable to engage in water activities.
Things to Do in Koh Tao
Learning how to dive and getting the scuba certificate is totally recommended if you have been wanting to dive in the ocean and you happen to be in Koh Tao. The island is known for its diving and snorkel destination with a multitude of dive schools available
For certified open-water divers, Koh Tao offers ample opportunities to expand your credentials. From advanced diver courses to divemaster training and more, you can enhance your expertise in various areas. Additionally, many dive shops provide specialized underwater photography classes for those interested in capturing mesmerizing marine moments. Undoubtedly, scuba diving takes the lead as one of the must-try activities in Koh Tao.
Another exhilarating experience to consider is cliff jumping. After an intense workout of scaling rocks, there’s nothing quite like the joy of leaping into the refreshing water to cool off. Unleash your inner adventurer and make the most of your time on Koh Tao by exploring the thrills of rock climbing and cliff jumping.
If you’re looking to have an absolute blast in Koh Samui with non-stop parties before unwinding with some laid-back vibes in Koh Tao? Lub d Koh Samui can be one of the perfect choices to base yourself on. It’s a lively hub where you can socialize, meet fellow travelers, and still find your own chill corner to relax.
So, if you’re ready to escape the ordinary summer spots and experience Southeast Asia like a true explorer, these places might answer all of your questions. Let’s turn the low season into your own personal high season of unforgettable moments and breathtaking experiences. It’s time to embrace the unexpected and create memories that will last a lifetime.
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