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Summer weather in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean

Heading away this summer? Here's what to expect from the weather if you're travelling in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean in July, August and September.

Tat Kuang Si waterfall, Luang Prabang, in full flow during the Laotian 'green season' (image courtesy Shutterstock).

Cambodia

The southwest monsoon blows the wet season into Cambodia from around May onwards. Expect rainfall until October with daytime temperatures hovering in the late 20s. From May to July, hot days are punctuated by short and sharp downfalls but by late July the showers become more constant and heavy.


Travel can be tricky in more remote parts of the country at this time as the rain can flood roads and off-the-beaten-track journeys are not recommended.


However, on a more positive note, all that water ushers in a lush countryside and Tonle Sap Lake, popular with visitors for its floating villages, swells to more than five times its size.


Indonesia

Of all Southeast Asia, Indonesia is one of the driest and sunniest regions during the summer months. Indonesia’s dry season generally runs from May to September. However, regional variations include Sulawesi which receives some rainfall in the north of the island in June and July.


Summer tends to be the best time to visit holiday areas such as Bali, although admittedly there is not a huge seasonal change here. Bali’s dry season runs until September so expect blue sky days and plenty of sunshine.


Java also basks in the sunshine until autumn and the islands of Nusa Tenggara, including Lombok, Komodo, Flores, the Gilis and Sumba, are enjoying the dry season through to September, too.


Laos

Like Cambodia, Laos is also in the wet season during the summer. The dry season ends in May and the heaviest rainfall can be expected in August and September, especially in the south of the country.


June can also be particularly hot, with temperatures pushing into the 30s. Rain showers in May and June are short and sharp and from July until September the rain becomes more constant and heavy.


The tourist hotspot of Luang Prabang in the north tends to remain cooler than the south of the country, particularly overnight when rainfall freshens things, often leading to blue skies the following morning.


The wet season lasts until September.


Malaysia

Expect rain on the west coast and drier conditions on the east side of the country.


The wet season in the west, including Langkawi and Penang, runs from April through to October with short showers and the odd thunderstorm in the afternoon. It’s still possible to enjoy a beach holiday if you don’t mind the odd downpour, but rough seas mean diving is poor.


Central Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur and the Cameron Highlands, is also in rainy season, the downpours often bringing relief from stifling temperatures.


On the east coast, including Tioman and Perhentian Islands, holidaymakers can enjoy beach-friendly conditions.


Maldives

June, July and August are the wet season in the Maldives. The southwest monsoon in May brings rains that can last through until November.


The heaviest rainfall tends to occur in the summer months although conditions can be changeable. Some days can be beach-friendly, other days there are heavy downpours and strong winds and there can be a risk of storms.


Temperatures, however, remain in the 30s.


Philippines

The wet season in the Philippines runs from June to October. From June the wet season takes hold, starting in the north and working its way south. The hottest month of the year is May and the highest humidity is usually experienced in August.


The Philippines falls over the typhoon belt and the most serious storms occur at this time of year, from around August to October. The east tends to be hit most seriously while the southern areas, such as Palawan, are slightly more protected and tend to suffer less typhoon activity.


Holiday hotspots such as Bohol, Cebu and Palawan are generally drier than other areas of the country.


But as with everywhere else in Southeast Asia, the rain turns the landscape lush and green and the Chocolate Hills of Bohol lose their brown hue.


Seychelles

The Seychelles enjoy a tropical, warm and fairly constant climate all year round with average temperatures settling between 26 and 32 degrees. However, the country is affected by the southeast and northwest trade winds.


From May through to October the southeast trade winds blow in. Temperatures sit in the high 20s and there is very little rain during this period. Expect sunny, hot days with a breeze making things more comfortable.


Summer is a popular season to visit the Seychelles and it’s a great time of year for sailing, hiking and windsurfing. However diving visibility is not as clear due to the wind.


Sri Lanka

The Southwest monsoon brings rain to the west and Southwest coasts of Sri Lanka from May through to September. The wettest months are April, May and June and this is not the best time of year to visit - save a trip to these areas from December onwards.


However, over on the east coast and in the north, the summer is the perfect time to soak up the sunshine.


Hill country is slightly cooler than the beaches and despite the chance of the odd shower, the summer is a great time to visit.


Soak up the sunshine on the beaches on the south and west coasts, although seas can be rough and swimming is not recommended during May. This is also a good time of year to head inland to the Cultural Triangle and Tea Country as rainfall is very low.


Over the mountains on the east coast, the rain is clearing and May offers some good sunshine opportunities.


By June the summer monsoon has started to move in, so expect increasing wind and rain in western and southern coastal areas. It’s chillier up in the hills and the north and east coasts remain dry and bright.


Thailand

By June, the rains have started to fall on most of the country. However, the east coast, including Koh Samui, escapes and its wet season doesn’t move in until September.


In the north, around Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Kanchanaburi, the dry season finishes in June. High temperatures last into the rainy season and the cloud cover means rising humidity levels. All in all, it’s not a comfortable time of year to be travelling around.


Meanwhile in the south, the Southwest monsoon hits the west coast - think Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak - between May and July, with rain becoming progressively heavier as the season drags on. The worst of the rain occurs in August and September with a corresponding drop in temperature. Seas can also be rough.


Vietnam

May to October is hot and humid with high rainfall in Hanoi and the north, while the centre of the country experiences hot and dry weather through to August.


Areas in the north experience the wettest weather in July and August which can affect sailing schedules in Halong Bay.


Hoi An, Hue and Danang in the centre of the country enjoy dry weather until mid-August with temperatures hitting the mid-30s. Further south, Nha Trang enjoys a dry season until September.


Southern Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh, Phu Quoc and Con Dao, is warm and wet from May to October, with the highest rainfall occurring in June, July and August.



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