Most parts of Asia in summer are hot, wet, and humid unless you head south. Here are 12 of the most exciting summer holidays 2018 in Asia, with milder climate but doesn’t lack sunny days and a detailed schedule of summer festivals that you may not want to miss out.
While both north and south of Vietnam are soaking in summer, Hoi An is at its sunniest and driest in May, June, and July. This town may be the most well-preserved area of the country with a lazy river, mustard-yellow houses, Japanese bridges, Chinese temples, and quiet beaches a few kilometers away. Most of the hotels offer bikes to guests to cycle down the roads and get into local life. Joining many visitors to wander the center streets which are banned from motor vehicles, sipping a glass of beer at a nice bar, and enjoying Cao Lau - a traditional noodle of Hoi An are some of many interesting things to do in this town. Yes, it’s touristy, but Hoi An somehow still remains its dreamy atmosphere. Once a month on the full moon, the locals will hang colorful lanterns to illuminate every street. Hoi An becomes magical. Paper lanterns are sold along the Hoai River for visitors. Buy one, light it, make a wish, then release it into the water. You now wait for your wish to come true. A miracle that Hoi An gladly gives you.
Hoi An with the iconic yellow merchant houses
Paper lantern is considered the symbol of Hoi An
Hoi An Lantern Festivals: 27th June, 26th July, and 24th August.
This beautiful island archipelago, 160 miles south of Ho Chi Minh City, is another choice for a summer trip in Vietnam. The cluster of 16 islands boasts natural beauty, wonderful wildlife, and a gloomy history. For many years, this area was a US prison which imprisoned many communists and senior Vietnam political leaders. Now, Con Dao is a pristine paradise of the national park, untouched beaches, turquoise water, and best diving sites. Con Dao Dive Center offers a PADI Open Water course at around $550 US while one day Discover Scuba Diving is $200 US. Summer is also the best time to see turtles laying eggs. July to October is the highest breeding season. Thousands of female turtles will move to the beaches, dig holes, lay eggs, and cover their nest during the night before swimming back to the ocean.
Con Dao is a pristine paradise of the national park, untouched beaches, and turquoise water
Visit in summer to see the turtle laying eggs
This is another destination for family gathering in summer. Unlike Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi where summer is the rainiest time of the year, Koh Samui’s weather is great. Being the second most popular vacation after Phuket, Koh Samui has its own airport, a wide variety of places to stay, and countless interesting attractions to delight the kids. A 2-hour boat ride from the town will take you to the Ang Thong Marine National Park which is home to 42 islands of different sizes. Here, your family can experience many activities including kayaking between the islands, swimming in warm water, and hiking up the rocks to have great views. The kids would love a trip to the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo to play with sea lions and feed a tiger cub. If they are curious about reptiles, take them to snake farms where they can witness the snakes, giant lizards, crocodiles, and watch some shows of these reptiles. Finally, encourage them to join a short cooking course which only lasts 3 - 4 hours where your family can learn some recipes of Koh Samui food and taste summer fruits such as rambutans, salak, java apple, and dragon fruit.
For family gathering in summer, head to Koh Samui - the second most popular vacation in Thailand
Take your children to the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo to play with sea lions (Photo: Samuiaquarium)
If you are a partier, don’t miss out Koh Phangan, the Ibiza of the east. This island will rock your summer with lots of delicious Thai food and exciting activities. You can go diving to see a wide range of fish and reefs, take a bicycle tour, visit 7 amazing waterfalls, sample all kind of food in the night markets, set off a boat trip to do islands hopping, and of course, get ready to join in party meccas during the full moon every month.
Koh Phangan will rock your summer with many kinds of activities (Photo: phanganbicycletour)
The world’s most famous Full Moon parties will take place on 27 June, 29 July, and 26 August 2018 in Haad Rin beach. There are several stages that will be set up right on the beach. You can hop between different performance stages for food, drink, dance as well as watch many beach performers from fire eaters, fire dancers, to jugglers
Full Moon party - one the most anticipated beach parties in the world
Around the world, Bali has become synonymous with a version of tropical paradise. From leisure Ubud to countless bars and clubs, Bali has it all. You can try your luck on a board at Kuta and Uluwatu Beach; grab a motorbike to explore the lakes, volcanoes, and hot springs in a day; follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s book to search the beauty of Bali’s cultural heart - Ubud, or seek the sun at Ku De Ta hotspot - the famous beach club which sets the trend to upscale nightlife in Bali. Head Bali in June to take part in the Bali Arts Festival which starts on the second Saturday of June and finishes in July. During this time, towns are decorated, dances, puppetry, and live music are performed on outdoor stages, while many art exhibitions open up to the public.
Tegalalang rice fields in Bali (Photo: Todata)
Various colors and exciting activities in Bali Art Festival - which starts on the second Saturday of June and finishes in July
The beautiful Gili Islands have been a favorite for summer holiday-seeking travelers for decades. With its own reputation, this three-island archipelago has something for everyone. The epicenter for nightlife - Gili Trawangan, or often be shortened to Gili T, is the largest and most visited of the Gili Islands. You can dive during daytime at its gorgeous beaches and go wild at night at one of the bars along its east side. Used to be a mecca of backpackers, upscale properties have exploded recently on Gili T causing a striking shift in the type of visitors. The island starts attracting more luxury travelers to come to stay.
The beautiful Gili Islands
Gili Meno is the smallest and most isolated of the three Gili islands. Despite having the best beaches with crystal clear water, it might not be for young travelers looking to socialize but people looking for relaxation and couples looking for privacy. Who like diving can dive off the coast of Gili Meno to see 48 haunting underwater sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor. The middle-sized island, Gili Air, is a blend of the two Gilis with facilities as the Gili T has and quiet atmosphere as Gili M., surely is the perfect chill-out spot with a slight hippy feel.
Gili T is the largest and most visited of the Gili Islands (Photo: myfiveacres)
Summer is the best time to visit the Perhentian Islands when the weather allows divers and snorkelers enjoy the excellent visibility of reefs, barracudas, turtles as well as other tropical fishes. While the smaller of the two islands, Perhentian Kecil, attracts mainly backpackers and budget travelers to the beach party scenes on the Long Beach, the Perhentian Besar is the place for couples, honeymooners, and families with more upscale experiences.
Summer is the best time to visit the Perhentian Islands (Photo: Timetravelturtles)
Perhentian Besar - a perfect place for couples, honeymooners, and families (Photo: Tuomas A. Lehtinen)
Although there is a possibility of rain at any time, summer is still the dry season in Borneo makes it perfect for summer holidays for families. With the size as large as Singapore’s, the Danum Valley Conservation Area boasts a vast zone of forests. This is also recorded the highest concentration of wild orangutans in the world and summer is the best time to spot these primates lazing in the sun in their natural habitat. Your children might love a boat journey along the Kinabatangan River. Being the second longest river in Malaysia, it’s easy to catch a glimpse of the Sumatran rhino, sun bear, leopard, and Borneo pygmy elephant roaming over the forest, a crocodile plies through the river, and majestic kingfishers feed on the water.
Borneo in summer is the best time to spot wild orangutans
Families will be interested in Gawai Dayak Festival, a cultural celebration in Borneo which takes place on May 31st and June 1st, with traditional dresses, food, and drums. Young people don’t want to miss the Rainforest World Music Festival - one of the largest music festivals in the SEA - which is held on July 13 - 15, 2018. It is a great way to experience the beautiful beaches while hearing some great music.
A performance in Rainforest World Music Festival 2017 (Photo: rwmf)
Despite its small size, Boracay is still awarded as one of the world’s top destinations for relaxation thanks to its white sand beaches and lively nightlife. For those seeking a revelry like those on Koh Phangan, head to Station 2 on White Beach, which is the center for eating, shopping, and partying. Puka Beach is an image of what people expect on a tropical island with white sand, clear water, and low density. There are few services so it’s better to experience Puka as one of the stops during a day trip. Bulabog Beach on the eastern side, on the other hand, is worth spending a whole day if you are chasing adrenaline surge. The beach is considered among the top beaches in Asia for kitesurfing. For something uncommon, the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy offers fantastic lessons: swim with a mermaid tail.
Puka beach, Boracay (Photo: discoverphilippine)
Learn to swim with a mermaid tail at the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy (Photo: PhilippineMermaidSwimmingAcademy)
Singapore is famous worldwide for its clean streets, awesome airport, shopping centers, and its strict law for littering. But it also has a reputation for green spaces and being the host of many exciting summer festivals. While heading to Long Bar at Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling cocktail, the quintessential ‘Singapore drink’ that every visitor has to try, take note these festivals to make sure you won’t miss out any:
A Singapore Sling cocktail, the quintessential ‘Singapore drink’
- Shipsomnia (June) Shipsomnia is a 5-day electronic music festival. It will take place onboard from Costa Victoria and sail to Phuket (Thailand), then Langkawi Islands (Malaysia). Three dozen of DJs with headliners are Friction, Mark Knight, Netsky, and Christian Smith will set the tunes this year.
- National Day (Aug 9th) Singapore celebrates its independence from Malaysia in August with parades, firework, and lots of fun.
- Ultra Singapore Music Festival (June 15-16) Featuring the best DJs in the world and jaw-dropping production, the music festival is dedicated to the best of electronic dance music, house, and techno. Last year saw EDM titans such as Steve Aoki, Hardwell, Tiesto, Nicky Romero, and Dash Berlin.
Lively Singapore by night
Seoul offers something for everyone. Whether you’re after history, culture, shopping, outdoor activities, or looking for delicious street food, you won’t be disappointed. Head to Namsan Seoul Tower to get the best view of the city, Itaewon to shop antique housewares, and the massive complex Gyeongbokgung Palace to see how the royal lived. If you don’t mind humidity, June will mark the start of an impassioned summer with two big events.
Whether you’re after history, culture, shopping, or outdoor activities, you won’t be disappointed in Korea
Follows right after that is the Ultra Music Festival on June 8-10. This outdoor electronic music festival which has now spread to twenty countries will take place at the Olympic Stadium this year. In 2017, it blasted the stage with amazing fireworks, light show, and the performance of Hardwell, The Chainsmokers, Steve Angello, and Carl Cox. The first is the Seoul Drum Festival where top talents from Korea and best drummers in the world converge on one stage. The second is Seoul Summer Sale where visitors have chances to take advantage of discounted rates for tours, services, cosmetics, and clothing.
Top talents from Korea and best drummers in the world converge on the stage of Seoul Drum Festival (Photo by Republic of Korea)
If you’re looking for a trip to Osaka, summer is the great time to pack your luggage. It’s usually warm but not too hot, and above all, it has a ton of things to do. If you love history, Osaka Castle is one of the main attractions constructed in the 16th century. If Japanese cuisine is your thing, head to Kuromon Ichiba market to enjoy Otoro and Chutoro. If you love flowers, thousands of gorgeous hydrangea in various colors will be displayed on the Hydrangea Festival from mid-June to mid-July, and lanterns will be adorned both sides of the Dotonbori River every night throughout July and August.
Summer is a great time to visit Osaka
Summer fireworks are held in many places in Osaka. You can check out Tenjin Fireworks on 25th July along Sakuranomiya Park, PL Fireworks on 1st August at Sindo Tondabayashi, and Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival which attracted nearly 1 million visitors each year on 7th August along Yodogawu-Ku.
PL Fireworks will take place on 1st August at Sindo Tondabayashi
Besides Japanese traditional festivals such as Tenjin Matsuri ( 24 and 25 July) - one of the largest in Japan, Kishiwada Danjiri (17th Sep) - one of the most thrilling festivals, and Sumiyoshi (July 30th- Aug 1st), there is Summer Sonic in August. The most anticipated event of the year will feature some of the best acts from around the world. Previous headliners have included Calvin Harris, Sum 41, Kesha, Noel Gallagher, Charli XCX, Circa Waves and Royal Blood. The festival also provides activities for children and a variety of enjoyment for all ages.