Now that monsoon is in full swing in my part of the world, I’ve been thinking of exploring places other than my city (Mumbai). A few days back, I had asked my travel blogger friends for some holiday suggestions in Asia, and they’ve sent me some amazing locations that I hope to explore someday. So, here is the list of beautiful monsoon destinations in Asia as recommended by seasoned travellers around the globe:-
Cherrapunji – Meghalaya
Recommendation by Punita Malhotra – 100 Cobbled Roads
“Meghalaya (abode of the clouds), a state of North Eastern India is famed and adored for its ‘all-the-time, anytime’ cloud cover. It is an experience in itself to soak up the full glory of the wettest place on earth at any time of the year in Cherrapunji (‘land of oranges’), also called Sohra. Monsoon is even more special if you’re ready to blend in with the weather. Think little villages, fertile farmlands, tin-roofed houses, vibrant wildflowers, grazing farm animals, and sarong-clad Khasi women.
Redefine your idea of green with the picturesque vision of lush meadows cloaked in a thick cover of mist. Just drive, drive and drive more till you can see nothing but green when you shut your eyelids. Indulge in a walk with the clouds caressing your cheeks. Witness the wonder of Nohkalikai Falls, India’s tallest plunge waterfall, dropping from a sheer cliff 1115 feet and foaming softly into a clear turquoise pool. Come back inspired and refreshed.” Read the full post here.
Udawalawe National Park – Sri Lanka
Recommendation by Eileen Cotter Wright – Pure Wander
“Animals love water – so what better time to spot Sri Lanka’s wildlife than during the monsoon season? In Udawalawe National Park, visitors have the opportunity to take jeep tours along dirt roads in search of protected Asian elephants. Hundreds roam this land, so you have a great chance of spotting them by the side of the road and in the wading ponds. There are plenty of other creatures who call this park home too, such as water buffalo, leopards, deer and countless colourful birds.
Do be mindful in the monsoon season though, flash floods and heavy rains can happen quickly. We got stuck in a downpour and also had to force the jeep to get to safety. Water levels rose and our guide joked we wouldn’t be out-of-range for the crocodiles. (I hope he was kidding!) But the local guides expertly navigate the rains so we felt safe. It was the highlight of our trip to Sri Lanka.”
Annapurna Circuit – Nepal
Recommendation by Zheng Yen Ang – Swing Abroad
“I guess a lot of people have been warned against trekking in the monsoon season due to unpredictable weather and disasters. Yep, I can’t deny that trekking the Annapurna Circuit during the monsoon is dangerous, but it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done! What makes it so special anyway? Well, first of all, Annapurna Circuit traverses through some magical places which fall in rain shadow. That means almost the whole trek is protected against rain in the daytime. During my 14-day trek there, it only rained the first two days. It poured almost every midnight, for your information.
Secondly, crowds are never seen due to the unpopularity of trekking in monsoon. Most of the teahouses are unoccupied, and they will compete for any trekkers passing by. The best thing? They offer free stay as long as you dine in their hostel for dinner and have breakfast the next day! Some might need negotiations. If you’ve never tried trekking in the rainy season, try Annapurna Circuit. And only that! Most of the other treks are not in rain shadow, so they’re not protected against the rain clouds. Check out my article for more info – Trekking Annapurna Circuit in Monsoon Season: Good Idea or Not?“
Koh Kood – Thailand
Recommendation by Josh Shephard – The Lost Passport
“Thailand’s monsoon season goes from July to October. While places like Bangkok experience flash flooding and chaotic traffic, islands such as Koh Kood are quite the opposite. Koh Kood is already an off the beaten track destination with only a handful of tourists in the high season. However come here in the monsoon season and you’ll just about have the island to yourself.
The mornings are hot and humid, perfect weather to go for a dip in the cool clear water surrounding the island, or hang out on the rope swings along the beach. As the heavy rain comes down in the afternoon, the island will transform into a beautiful rainforest setting. The rain is typically warm, so rather than hiding, you can just stand outside and enjoy a shower in nature, the way things should be. Koh Kood is a beautiful island all year round, but even more amazing during the monsoon season. The only tricky part is getting there, as some ferry services stop running.”
Recommendation by Clemens Sehi – Travellers Archive
“Start of the monsoon season in Hong Kong is in May. However, that isn’t the worst time to be there. On the contrary, it might be a good idea to avoid the summer season when it can get really hot, humid and have bad rainfall. Hong Kong has a wealth of amazing things to do on rainy days, and staying indoors can be just as entertaining as exploring the islands.
Indulge in an afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hong Kong, go shopping in the huge malls, check out the galleries and boutiques at PMQ (the former Police Married Quarters of the Hollywood Road Police Force), take the Star Ferry between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and enjoy the view from Victoria Peak. Why? Because the most interesting part of the monsoon season in Hong Kong is the skyline that often disappears in the clouds with a somehow mysterious effect!”
Sen Monorom – Cambodia
Recommendation by Danny Newman – Coddiwomp
“When I think of beautiful Asian monsoons, I immediately travel back to my time in Sen Monorom, Cambodia. I went to this incredible country for a month last year with my girlfriend and, unbeknownst to us, we’d booked our trip in the heart of the rainy season, between August and September. Frankly, it didn’t much matter that the weather was wetter than we’d planned for! The country remained as accessible and superbly beautiful as it would have in the dry season, just with fewer tourists and a cooler climate. Having said that, the rain was something else- a true sight to behold. I’ve been in other Asian countries in the wet season, but I don’t recall rain falling the way it did in Cambodia. It fell relentlessly at times, bucket loads; raindrops the size of stones falling ceaselessly for considerable periods. Rivers rose and roads flooded. It was remarkable.
We got particularly wet in Sen Monorom- a town in the wild east of the country. Brave or stupid, we booked an overnight jungle trek there. Needless to say, we got wet. It started raining in the early afternoon and just did not stop. For hours it fell, soaking us to the core. But there was magic to it. Deep in the jungle, surrounded by nature- immersed in it, even- it felt utterly unlike home; totally and completely removed from normality. It was intense, fresh, wonderful and novel; a unique experience on the other side of the world. And isn’t that why we travel? To be displaced and removed, physically and mentally, from the confines of home? For me it is. And this beautiful monsoon made it happen.”
Sabah – Malaysia
Recommendation by Karen Alexis – Wanderlustingk
“If you’re interested in seeing wildlife IN THE WILD, you must visit Sabah, Malaysia. I visited Borneo in December and January. I was nervous that the rainy season would mean that it was downpouring all the time, but there was enough good weather that the rain didn’t interfere much with our plans. It’s low season during the monsoon, so if you dream of seeing wild primates in Borneo, you’ll find affordable rates for resorts that will take you out on wildlife safaris. If you’re lucky, you might even spot wild pygmy elephants!
Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of being a National Geographic Explorer in Borneo, and going in the rains made all my dreams come true, especially after I saw three wild orangutans as well as countless monkeys in the rainforest near the Kinabatangan river valley. It was a dream come true, so be sure to visit Malaysian Borneo!”
Have you been to any of these places in the monsoon?
Know other destinations that look beautiful in the rains?
Let me know through your comments below! 🙂