19 Best Asia destinations in May of 2019

If you are planning a trip to Asia in May you'll have probably more great choices than in any other month of the year, but it's still important to plan carefully. The main cities in southeast Asia such as Bangkok and Saigon are extremely hot this time of year, and you might get some rainfall as well.

Fortunately May is a perfect weather month to visit Japan, China, or South Korea, so stringing together a bunch of those places is ideal if you've got the time. Parts of India are still nice, and we have some good island destinations listed below as well.

19 Best destinations to visit in Asia in May

Bali, Indonesia

  • May avg high: 86F/30C
  • May avg low: 78F/26C
  • May avg precip: 3.0″/7.5cm

While most of southeast Asia sizzles with heat and humidity in May, Bali is entering it's (relatively) cool and dry season. As the island is a bit south of the equator, May is actually part of its autumn, even though it's actually fairly hot and humid every day of the year. Still, May is one of the best months to visit because the weather is nice and the large crowds of June haven't yet arrived.

Hotel prices in May in Bali are very reasonable because it's not yet part of the high season, and finding an affordable flight shouldn't be too tough either. The popular Kuta Beach/Legian/Seminyak area is now so crowded that it's hard to recommend unless you are there to surf during the day and party at night. Lovina in the north is still like Bali of old, and quite a bit cheaper as well.

>>>Bali prices and travel tips

Tokyo, Japan

  • May avg high: 73F/23C
  • May avg low: 59F/15C
  • May avg precip: 5.0″/12.5cm

Tokyo has cold winters and surprisingly hot summers, so a visit in May is just about as good as it gets. You might get a bit of rain, but that is true almost all year round, and the city is well suited with shelter and drainage. May is a good month for hotel prices as well, since it's before the summer rush.

Most new visitors to Japan will just focus on Tokyo, which is understandable because it's a huge city with plenty to offer. But it's easy to take high-speed trains to Kyoto and Osaka, which are also very interesting, not to mention a bit cheaper as well.

>>>Tokyo prices and travel tips

Seoul, South Korea

  • May avg high: 73F/23C
  • May avg low: 55F/13C
  • May avg precip: 4.0″/10.0cm

Similar to Tokyo, Seoul has a nice sweet spot for weather in the spring and autumn, so a May visit will get you some of the nicest weather of the year. This huge city is not known for huge tourist crowds from overseas, but still there is a lot to see and do here. Seoul also has some of the world's favorite Asian food, and prices here can be pretty reasonable.

Some people start in Seoul and then take the train or a flight elsewhere on the peninsula, and that's a good idea if you have the time because the capital is rather crowded and the rest of the country has some very nice views. Flights into Seoul tend to be pretty cheap, and it's a good place to start an Asia tour if you are coming from the western US or Canada.

>>>Seoul prices and travel tips

Luang Prabang, Laos

  • May avg high: 93F/34C
  • May avg low: 74F/23C
  • May avg precip: 5.9″/13.8cm

The May afternoons in Luang Prabang are going to be hot, but this city doesn't feel quite as stifling as some larger cities because it's fairly spread out and located along a wide river. The evenings in May get cool enough to make up for the daytime heat, and the night markets here are always a great way to spend a few hours after sunset.

Getting to Luang Prabang isn't easy since they don't have a large airport with an abundance of cheap flights, so many visitors are those touring Thailand or Vietnam. But if you can make it you'll find this one of your favorite stops on your whole tour.

>>>Luang Prabang prices and travel tips

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • May avg high: 91F/33C
  • May avg low: 75F/24C
  • May avg precip: 8.0″/20.0cm

Kuala Lumpur is pretty much scorching every day of the year, and most of the year has the potential for a heavy afternoon rainshower, but it's still very much worth a visit. This is a modern and fairly rich city with great public transportation and even long above-ground paths that allow you to walk across downtown in the air-con the whole time.

Hotels in Kuala Lumpur are usually a bargain by Asian standards and you can often get great deals on 4-star hotels that would cost at least 3 times as much in nearby Singapore. Flying into KL is also easy because it's got a large and busy airport and it's one of the main hubs of Air Asia.

>>>Kuala Lumpur prices and travel tips


  • May avg high: 88F/31C
  • May avg low: 78F/26C
  • May avg precip: 6.8″/17.0cm

Singapore isn't far south of Kuala Lumpur (see above) and it has basically the same climate and rain patterns. Both cities also offer a fascinating mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cultures, with outstanding food from each. Hotels and most other prices in Singapore are quite a bit higher than in KL, but this ultra modern city is still worth a look.

Speaking of food, Singapore is famous for its hawker centers where you can still get an excellent meal for very little. Visiting Singapore on a budget is easy if you can find a reasonable priced bed and avoid the expensive restaurants and bars of the business districts.

>>>Singapore prices and travel tips

Bangkok, Thailand

  • May avg high: 93F/34C
  • May avg low: 78F/26C
  • May avg precip: 8.7″/21.8cm

It can be debated that Bangkok may not belong on a list of great Asia destinations in the month of May because it's hot, humid, and it can be rainy. But the rain tends to come down in 30 minutes or less, and Bangkok is filled with modern shopping malls with air conditioning that is pleasant every day of the year.

Flights into Bangkok are usually pretty affordable compared to other destinations in the area. Hotels and hostels in Bangkok are great value most of the time as well. Since May is part of the shoulder season you can often find a 4-star hotel room for a price that a 2-star or 3-star would cost just a month or two earlier.

>>>Bangkok prices and travel tips

Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • May avg high: 93F/34C
  • May avg low: 74F/234C
  • May avg precip: 6.2″/15.5cm

Thailand's second city has hot days in May, but at least the evenings cool down enough to make up for it. Chiang Mai is another city with extremely popular night markets, and most locals actually avoid the daytime heat and wait until sunset to come out for shopping and socializing.

Chiang Mai is also one of the world's great travel bargains with hotel and hostel prices that look like misprints at first. This is a great city for a little splurge because you can get a very nice 3-star hotel room here for only a little more than a hostel bed will cost in Singapore or Tokyo.

>>>Chiang Mai prices and travel tips

Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • May avg high: 96°F/36°C
  • May avg low: 78°F/26°C
  • May avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

As you can see just above, the daytime temperatures in Siem Reap are scorching, especially when combined with the ever-present humidity, and the evening temperatures don't provide as much relief as we'd all like. Still, this town is worth a stop if you are touring the area and at least you'll get long days to enjoy the neighborhing Angkor Wat temples that are the whole reason for the visit in the first place.

Siem Reap is a small town compared to most of the rest on this list, and it's more pleasant than most as well. Do like the locals and minimize your exposure to the sun during the day, and focus on the night markets and evening restaurant and bar scene along Pub Street. Hotels here are excellent value as well.

>>>Siem Reap prices and travel tips

Hanoi, Vietnam

  • May avg high: 87°F/31°C
  • May avg low: 77°F/25°C
  • May avg precip: 7.7″/19.3cm

Hanoi does get some rain in May, but it's a dense city so finding shelter in a storm is always pretty easy. The temperatures here are also pretty reasonable for this time of year in southeast Asia, so it's still worth a visit if you are touring Vietnam or the area in general.

Another reason to visit is that Hanoi is always at or near the top of our annual Backpacker Index of Asia cities from cheapest to most expensive. Hotels here are excellent value and you get much more for your money than you might expect at the room rates that are offered.

>>>Hanoi prices and travel tips

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • May avg high: 93°F/34°C
  • May avg low: 77°F/25°C
  • May avg precip: 8.7″/21.8cm

Most people who visit Vietnam will either start in Hanoi up north or in Saigon down south, and take the train between them. The highlight in the middle of the two for most people is the lovely village of Hoi An, so make it a point to stay there for a few days if you can.

Ho Chi Minh City, which it's officially known as, is hotter than Hanoi and much more spread out, but there is plenty to see and do here so your really want to visit both of them. The food in Saigon is amazing as long as you enjoy Vietnamese cuisine at all, and hotel prices are great value as well.

>>>Ho Chi Minh City prices and travel tips

Boracay Island, Philippines

  • May avg high: 90°F/32°C
  • May avg low: 77°F/25°C
  • May avg precip: 4.0″/10.0cm

While some beaches and islands in southeast Asia are getting extremely hot and even a bit rainy in May, Boracay Island in the Philippines has one of its nicest weather months. You might get a quick afternoon rainstorm a few days a week, but the rainy season hasn't started yet in May and they are almost over before you know they started.

Boracay Island is one of Asia's loveliest beach areas that will remind older travelers of the way things used to be before the chain hotels and stores all moved in to Phuket and elsewhere. Hotels here aren't the cheapest, but at least each of them is either on the beach or just a very short walk, so it's still good value.

>>>Check Boracay resort deals

Malé, Maldives

  • May avg high: 84°F/30°C
  • May avg low: 79°F/26°C
  • May avg precip: 8.6″/21.5cm

While this entry is officially for the tiny and crowded capital island of the Maldives called Malé, you really don't want to visit that city unless you have a special fascination for it already. The reason to come to the Maldives is to visit one of the private-island resorts up and down the archipelago, and if you can afford it you'll want to stay in one of the water villa resorts in the Maldives.

You can get island rooms starting around US$100 per night, but the water villas start a bit above US$300 per night. The best value all-inclusive resort is usually Meeru Island, where you can get a huge Jacuzzi Water Villa for around US$500 to US$600 per night including all meals and alcohol.

>>>Malé prices and travel tips

Pokhara, Nepal

  • May avg high: 79°F/26°C
  • May avg low: 63°F/17°C
  • May avg precip: 4.0″/10.0cm

Kathmandu is the crowded capital of Nepal, but the main tourism hub is Pokhara, which is a small and relaxed town on a lake at the base of some huge mountains. This is perhaps the trekking capital of Asia, and a very pleasant place to just hang out in general because it's so friendly and cheap.

The May weather in Pokhara is fantastic so it's one of the most popular times of the year for a visit. Hotels here are amazingly cheap and so is most of the food. The guided treks into the nearby mountains are not cheap, however, so plan ahead for that.

>>>Pokhara prices and travel tips

Goa, India

  • May avg high: 91°F/33°C
  • May avg low: 79°F/26°C
  • May avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

Goa has its high season from December through May, so this is the last month to enjoy the fabulous and relaxing beaches here. Starting in June the rainy season begins and it's so wet that localized flooding can be a problem. Since May is the last month of the season, crowds here are small and prices are even lower than usual.

Parts of India are scorching or roasting by the time May rolls in, but Goa is one area where it's still pretty nice. If you are going to visit other parts of India this month it's important to plan carefully.

>>>Goa prices and travel tips

Mumbai, India

  • May avg high: 92°F/33°C
  • May avg low: 79°F/26°C
  • May avg precip: 0.5″/1.3cm

Another part of India with decent weather in May is Mumbai, which is also where many international flights from Europe land. This huge city isn't known as a tourist hub compared to Delhi, but there is still plenty to see and do here for two or three days. After that the crowds will feel so intense that you'll want to move on anyway.

Hotels in Mumbai are the most expensive in India, but still reasonable by international standards. The tourist area in the south is quite small and surrounded by water, so there isn't room to build enough new hotels.

>>>Mumbai prices and travel tips

Beijing, China

  • May avg high: 79F/26C
  • May avg low: 57F/14C
  • May avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

China's most famous cities are more than are very cold in winter and scorching in summer, so May is a perfect month for a tour of China that includes Beijing. This huge city is very spread out and traffic is usually bad, so it's not an easy place to visit on your own. If you mainly want to see the Forbidden City and Great Wall, it's probably better to do a tour.

Flights into Beijing are fairly cheap, but be aware that almost all nationalities will need a travel visa and they require more time and paperwork than most others. Hotels here are expensive for China, but still pretty cheap by international standards.

>>>Beijing prices and travel tips

Shanghai, China

  • May avg high: 75F/24C
  • May avg low: 61F/16C
  • May avg precip: 4.0″/10.0cm

Shanghai is China's other main international travel hub, so tours of the country often start in Beijing and end in Shanghai or the other way around. Again, tours of China are probably a wise idea for most visitors compared to planning and visiting on your own.

Unlike Beijing, Shanghai has a very compact center and English is more widely spoken. It's probably better to see Beijing in as few days as possible and linger in Shanghai if you want to spend more time in the country. Hotels here are also expensive by China standards, but good deals even with good views are still possible.

>>>Shanghai prices and travel tips

Xi'an, China

  • May avg high: 80F/27C
  • May avg low: 58F/14C
  • May avg precip: 2.0″/5.0cm

The third most common city for foreign visitors to China is Xi'an, which is almost exclusively known as the home to the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. Lest you think this is a small city, Xi'an actually has 9 million people within the city limits and many more in the general area.

The Terra Cotta Warriors are a once in a lifetime attraction, but honestly Xi'an isn't all that great otherwise. If you don't care much about the Warriors it would be better to head instead to Guilin to see the famous karst hills along the Li River.

>>>Xi'an prices and travel tips

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