May Travel Guide for Southeast Asia

Here are our recommendations for where to go and what to do during May in Southeast Asia.

Thailand

Hot and humid in the north of the country and the chance of rain starts to increase throughout the month.

In Bangkok temperatures are increasing and average temperatures can hit 31°C/88°F with high humidity. Rainfall increases and can be very heavy at times.

In southern beach areas the temperatures increase a little but so does rainfall and the frequency and duration of rainfall will increase throughout the month.

On 1st May Thailand recognises and honours labour workers and their contributions to the country. If Labour Day falls on a weekend the public holiday is on the following Monday.

Coronation Day is a public holiday commemorating the official instalment of the Thai monarch. It is celebrated on 4th May or on the following Monday if it falls on a weekend.

Visakha Bucha Day commemorates the three major events in the life of Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his death. 15th May 2022 (holiday on the 16th), 5th May 2023 (holiday 5th June 2023), 22nd May 2024.

Picture Chiang Mai, Thailand. Credit Flyingdog Travel

Malaysia

An excellent time to visit the east coast with dry, sunny weather the norm and excellent snorkelling and scuba diving conditions.

Less attractive on the west coast where the Southwest monsoon starts to take effect with increasing rain and humidity.

Labour Day is a national holiday for Malaysia on 1st May.

The Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, called Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a national holiday. 3rd May 2022, 24th April 2023, 11th April 2024.

Wesak or Vesak Day commemorates the three major events in the life of Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his death. 16th May 2022, 4th May 2023, 22nd May 2024.

There are a number of regional holidays in Malaysia during May.

Picture Sabah, Malaysia. Credit Hugo D on Unsplash

Cambodia

Hot temperatures and increasing frequency and levels of rainfall throughout the month as rainy season approaches .

On 1st May Cambodia recognises and honours labour workers and their contributions to the country. If Labour Day falls on a weekend the public holiday is on the following Monday.

King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday on 14th May is a public holiday. The holiday is on the following Monday if the birthday falls on a weekend.

Visak Bochea Day commemorates the three major events in the life of Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his death. 16th May 2022, 4th May 2023, 22nd May 2024.

Picture Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Credit Flyingdog Travel

Vietnam

Temperature and rainfall continue to increase in the north as the risk of heavy rain and possibly typhoons increase.

Central Vietnam experiences excellent weather throughout the month.

Rainfall starts to increase in the south as the rainy season approaches but temperatures decrease making it more pleasant.

Picture Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Credit Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Singapore

There is not really a bad time to visit Singapore, May is the start of the Southwest Monsoon and rainfall does slowly increase.

Labour day on the 1st May commemorates the 8 hour working day in Singapore. In 2022 the holiday is on 3rd May.

Hari Raya Puasa is the celebration at the end of the Ramadan month of fasting. It is also known as Eid al Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri. It falls on 2nd May 2022, 21st April 2023 and 10th April 2024.

Vesak Day is a holy day celebrated by Buddhists. 16th May 2022, 5th May 2023, 22nd May 2024.

Picture Super Tree Grove, Singapore. Credit Coleen Rivas on Unsplash

Indonesia

An excellent time to visit Indonesia with temperatures a little higher and still sunny and dry. Peak time for snorkelling, scuba diving and mountain trekking.

On 1st May Indonesia celebrates the contributions of workers to the economy and workers rights.

Hari Raya Idul Fitri is an Indonesian holiday that celebrates the conclusion of the fasting month of Ramadan. 2nd May 2022, 22nd April 2023, 10th April 2024.

Lebaran is a public holiday that allows Indonesians to spend time with their friends and family members. 3rd May 2022, 23rd April 2023, 11th April 2024.

Ascension Day is a public holiday across Indonesia. 26th May 2022, 18th May 2023, 9th May 2024.

Picture Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia. Credit Ella Hanson on Unsplash

Philippines

The start of the rainy season alongside very hot and humid weather.

Much more comfortable in the highlands and coastal areas in Palawan.

Labor Day in the Philippines is a public holiday every 1st May to celebrate the Filipino worker.

Eidul Fitr is an important celebration for Muslims, marking the end of the month-long fast during Ramadan. 3rd May 2022, 22nd April 2023, 10th April 2024.

Picture Small Lagoon, Philippines. Credit Jules Bss on Unsplash

Laos

A transition month where dry weather can be hanging on or early rains can take effect. As the month progresses however the rain becomes more consistent but still generally is short, sharp showers. Temperatures remain on the high side.

1st May is Labour Day in Laos, a public holiday dedicated to recognising the vital contribution of workers to the country and to fighting for workers rights. Holiday 2nd May 2022.

Picture Thakhek, Laos


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