Best times to travel in Journeys destinations
Plan your travel for the best season and best weather for visiting your destination.
We are often asked, "When is the best time to visit Nepal?" or "When is the best weather in Tanzania or Kenya?" or "What is the best months to see the whales in Patagonia?"
The best time to visit or travel will depend on your goals for a best possible trip. Most people think of best time to visit in terms of dry, mild, sunny weather. But your own best time criteria might include best time to see wildlife, best time to witness festivals or the best time for photography. Increasingly, more and more travelers feel that the best time to visit is when they will find the fewest other travelers. (General Hint: avoid August.)
The Best Time to Visit discussions below try to cover a general set of factors ranging from best weather to most cultural events to best photography conditions and best mountain viewing by region and by country.
Best time to visit Asia
As the largest continent, the best time to travel varies with country, latitude and and season. Northern Asia including most of China and Mongolia, is cold in mid-winter and warm in Summer. The Indian Monsoon brings rain to much of Southeast Asia and especially South Asia from June through August. April and May are a very hot months for travel in India and Southeast Asia. May of 2010 was the hottest month in history over much of this area. The Himalayas have mild weather from March through May and mid-September through November. This is the best time to see the snowy Himalayas of Nepal and Bhutan. The best time for travel or trekking in Ladakh and Tibet is July-September. The best time for Hindu and Buddhist festivals in the Himalayas is Fall, particularly around the full moons of September, October and November.
Best time to visit Bhutan
The best weather in Bhutan is September-October and March-May. Summers are mild, but misty. Winters are cold and may offer snow down to 5,000' elevation. But people visit Bhutan year around. March and September/October are best months for festivals in Bhutan. Any trip which includes the occurrence of a full moon is likely to offer some potential for a Tsechu or festival event. The best time to see the most Tsechus in a single trip is usually September or October.
Best time to visit China
China, in general, has cold winters and hot summers, but Yunnan in the south has a generally milder climate year-around. The best trekking in Yunnan is in October and November, or April and May. The best time to visit Western China is spring or fall. Southeast coastal china has a rainy summer, but a mild winter. The best time to visit Tibet is April-October.
Best time to visit India
The best time for travel in most of India is October-March. The best time to travel and trek in Ladakh is July-October. To maximize your chances of seeing a tiger, the best time is January-March. The best time for birding trips in India is October-March when local populations are supplemented by tens of millions of wintering birds from northern Asia and vegetation is minimally obstructive of viewing. Some people feel the monsoon months of June-August offer a great opportunity to see India at its most colorful. April and May can be very hot.
Best time to visit Nepal
The best weather for a Nepal visit is February-May and September-November. The best time for Nepal trekking is October-December and February-May. The best time to see blooming rhododendrons is February to late May. Blooming begins in late February at 2,000' to 3,000' elevations and moves up the mountains until late May when you will see the best displays between 11,000' and 15,000' The best time for rhododendron blooming in the Everest region is April and May. The best blooming follows a wet winter. The best time to see the high Himalayas is October and November after the monsoon snows and before the dust and haze of the dry season. The best time to see tigers and rhino in Chitwan is February-May when vegetation is lowest and water sources are concentrated. The best months to avoid seeng other tourists in Nepal are July and August.
Best time to visit Tibet
The best time to visit Tibet is April through October. November through February are cold and snow may linger in the high road passes until early April. If you want to take the train to Lhasa the best time for scenery is May to September. Trains are potentially cold in winter. Winter days are very sunny and Lhasa may be pleasantly mild at mid-day.
Best time to visit Southeast Asia
The best time to travel to Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is November-February for clear skies and mild weather. By April and May most of southeast Asia is hot and humid, but the monsoon rains developing from late May through July bring cooling relief. For local farmers in southeast Asia, India and Nepal the rainy season is the best time of year. October is a good time to travel throughout Asia for vivid photography, festivals and fresh foods. The best time for trekking in northern Myanmar is November to March.
Best time to visit Africa
The best season for travel in Africa is influenced by season rains, migration cycles of animals and peak tourist vacation periods. In general, North Africa near the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco is cold in winter, but ideal in early spring and fall and hot in summer. In West Africa the best time to travel is late summer through the winter after the rains start and the hot winds of spring and early summer have subsided.
Best time to see the most animals in Africa
The best time for a wildlife safari in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is less obvious. You will find animals in any season, but the best combination of accessible migration routes and clear skies is probably July-October and December-March. Weather patterns have varied a great deal in recent years making prediction of the best time to see the wildebeest migrate in any particular country difficult. August and late December are peak tourist times. The best time to see animals on the Serengeti of Tanzania is January-June. The best time to travel in southern Africa depends on your goals and tolerance of heat and cold. The Cape Coast of South Africa is cool May-August. Namibia and Botswana are best for birding October-November. The best time to visit the Okavango Delta of Botswana is June to September when it is cool and dry. To see the most water the best time is May when levels peak. You will see the greatest concentrations of birds as the Delta dries out from June onwards. The best times to climb Kilimanjaro are July-October and December-March, though it is possible to climb any week of the year. We suggest including a full moon on your climb. The full moon of February may offer the best time for a Kili climb plus a Serengeti wildlife safari.
The best time to visit Madagascar in dry weather is April-October, though November is the best month for birds in Madagascar as the rainy season stimulates nesting and wintering birds have just arrived. September and October can be very hot.
Best time to visit Central America
September and October are the wettest months and the least popular for visitors. June to August, not quite as wet as early fall, generally brings more rains than other times of year but showers are usually brief and they're proceeded and followed by abundant sunshine and fresh clear air. This season is aptly referred to as the "Green Season" and offers the advantage of fewer tourists. Keep in mind that regional micro-climates create attractive travel opportunities throughout the year. December-March is high season - typically dry, and offering a break from the cold in the the northern latitudes.
Best time to visit South America
Seasons in southern South America are reversed from North America. In northern South America, straddling or close to the equator, the temperature is less variable year-round and is much more dependent on altitude. Chile and Argentina are cool to cold from May-September. The best time to visit Patagonia is October-May when it is relatively warmer, drier and less windy. The best time to visit the Brazil Pantanal is May to September in the dry season when roads are more accessible and nesting and migrating wildlife concentrates around water areas.
Best Time to visit the Amazon Rain Forest
Generally, the best time to visit the Amazon of Peru, Ecuador or Brazil for dry weather is May to October, but the best time in the Amazon for seeing wildlife and for cooler weather is the rainy season from November to March, especially if you are on a boat-based trip.
Best time for travel in Peru
The best time to visit Peru for dry weather is April to September although people hike the Inca Trail in March and October. There are several festivals in June. The Amazon region is driest May-October, but some people feel the wet season, November to April offers the best experience of Amazon natural history. Water levels are higher and permit more penetration into the forest by boat. In the dry season sand bars offer bird and animal viewing areas, but it is harder to take a boat or dugout into tributaries. It is cooler in the wet season.
Best time to visit the Galapagos Islands
The best time for a Galapagos cruise depends on your objectives. The seas are warmest December through May, but this is also the wet season, though little rain falls and sunshine is frequent. This is the breeding season for many birds, mammals and reptiles so biological activity is at a peak. January-March is the best time in the Galapagos for calm seas. The best time for diving in the Galapagos is June-November though this is when the water it coldest and the seas roughest. The highest prices and the most difficult reservations coincide with school vacations over the Christmas holiday period, Spring breaks, Easter and the summer. It is best to make reservations at least one year in advance for these popular times.
Best time to visit Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
The best time to visit Indonesia and Papua New Guinea may depend more upon the activities you want to pursue than climate. Generally, March-October is the drier time, though the temperature varies little through the year. PNG sing-sings, small and large, tend to be more frequent July-September when wet weather is less likely to damage delicate feather costumes. August is the most touristed month. The best time to visit Bali is anytime. You will encounter fewer other tourists September-April. A little rain and mist makes Bali more beautiful. These area some of the best Asia summer destinations.
Best time to visit Australia
At any time of year some area of Australia has "best" weather. Generally the south is cool to cold June-August, but pleasantly warm October-March. The far north has hot, wet weather November to March and some areas are impassable due to heavy rain and flooding, but major cities are accessible.