We would like to see most of the South East Asian countries in the best weather, but we are not sure how to plan our itinerary. Lonely Planet lists the best seasons for each country, but they overlap and obviously one can't do all countries in high season. Moreover, we have no idea how 'transit' seasons with showers feel like in this region... Basically non high season is perfectly fine for us, even better from cost perspective, just we have no understanding of how bad rains can get and how difficult it may get to travel because of that.
We will be arriving at the beginning of February either to Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. One more option could be Singapore. We will be travelling by land transport (flights or ferries to islands like Philippines are fine). Would it be best to start from Malaysia, Singapore, Phillipines and then to move to the main land like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar or better vice vesa (considering the climate)? We are not very much limited by time, would like to spend some 2 or even 3 weeks in each country with the exception of Singapore where we don't want to stay for more than a week.
Thanks in advance for any recommendations!
This Web site might help for the weather information you seek: http://www.climatemps.com/
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are the major gateways to Southeast Asia. You can get anywhere from them. If you're going to Myanmar, you might want to fly first to Mandalay, then exit the country from Yangon, or vice-versa. There are flights to/from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
Please note that in some cities, such as Bangkok, there are two airports.
For Thailand and the Philippines "high season" is close to Christmas and New Years holidays. Roughly from the end of November to the beginning of February. Peak prices weeks closest to Christmas-New Years days. In the Philippines many Filipinos working in foreign countries come back home for the holidays. In Thailand this is their "mild" weather period. Also when it is cold in North America and northern Europe. Tourists visit warmer climates at this time.
Singapore is now the most expensive city in Asia. Fortunately Malaysia next door is a little cheaper.
From Bangkok it is not difficult to get to nearby countries like Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia overland. Vietnam is not an expensive flight from bordering countries. Myanmar I would fly to. Not sure if any land border is open. If you find a ferry to the Philippines that accepts tourists share the information. I have always flown to the Philippines.
There is rail service from the top of Thailand, through Malaysia all the way to Singapore. Discount airlines available in this area. Long distance buses travel between these countries too. Seat 61 has info on trains.
For each country research your visa requirements. How long you can stay or if you must apply ahead of time for a Tourist Visa depends on the passport you enter with. So research visa requirements for your particular country passport.
A Google search can give you quick information for weather during particular months.
Thailand sample below:
Make Google your friend!
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Jan-2016, at 13:38 by karazyal ]
If you're going to the Philippines, I recommend visiting Palawan, including El Nido. You'll remember the experience.
Also, if you're 60+ years, Malaysian Railways has a senior discount. This is not offered online. You have to buy your ticket at the station; and show your passport.
Much of the information you see online about Myanmar is dated. There are lots of changes in the country. So check frequently for updates. Recent reviews by travelers on TripAdvisor might be helpful. Your best bet is to fly in and out of the country. I traveled in November 2014 with a Swiss couple who were trying to cross into Myanmar from the Indian state of Manipur. I don't know if they made it.
Be sure you get the right kind of visa for Vietnam, otherwise you might encounter problems trying to enter Laos. This information from the U.S. State Department might apply:
" If you plan to travel from Vietnam to Laos by land, you should request that your visa be affixed to your passport. Lao immigration requires proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa. Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from passports when travelers depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their Vietnam departure. This situation can result in Lao officials requiring the traveler to return to Vietnam."
One more thing. If you plan to fly Vietnam Airlines, it's cheaper to buy tickets in Vietnam.
Singapore should be your first stop as its in the south before moving up to the north from Malaysia all the way up to Laos. For Philippines though its on a different route
If you're traveling to the Philippines, be aware that this is a country that requires proof of onward travel; and this requirement is enforced. I had to show proof that I had a flight from Manila to Hong Kong.
Thanks to all your replies and advices, at the end we ended up going to Malayia, just because the flight ticket was cheapest We will take your recommendations into consideration when moving to other SE Asian countries!
Since you're in Malaysia you can continue to Singapore, then cross over to Indonesia (Sumatra might be a good place to start); and down the island chain to Bali; and perhaps beyond to Irian Jaya. You can use ferries between the islands, or fly. Flights on Wings, Lion, etc., are best purchased in Indonesia. Public transportation is cheap. From Bali (Denpasar) you can fly almost anywhere in Asia; and even to Australia (Bali is a popular destination for Australians). Might be convenient to go to the Philippines from Indonesia. Another alternative is to travel to Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), then cross over to the Malaysian part (Sarawak and Sabah) and Brunei. Last year I traveled from Bali to Flores to Timor-Leste; then to Darwin, Australia. Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are excellent gateways to the rest of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. They also offer good flights to Myanmar. There are lots of choices. Best of luck in your travels!