SEA during Christmas Holidays - Good/Bad Idea?

Travel Forums Asia SEA during Christmas Holidays - Good/Bad Idea?

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1. Posted by kevlarcardhouse (Budding Member 5 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Can anyone tell me their experience travelling in SEA during the Winter holiday season?

Because of numerous factors, but mostly my work situation (I never know if I will be insanely busy or bored one month to the next), I am turning 45 and still have never made it to Southeast Asia and in fact had to cancel a booked trip 4 times in the past (1 because of COVID, 1 because of family emergency, but 2 because of work).

However, the two times of year that work is consistently dead for me is May/June (which will be way too hot and humid for my temperament) or late December and early January, so much so that I could even swing 4 weeks off instead of 3.

Does anyone have advice/concerns about travelling during this time? I understand it may be pretty busy and more expensive, and means some options won't be open for me (no green or yellow rice paddies), but have others found it too much of an insane hassle to deal with? Or did it work out okay for you? I do plan to leave before Lunar New Year occurs.

Also, I'm open to itinerary suggestions! I'm currently thinking Laos and Vietnam or Thailand and West Malaysia. Note that even if the heat allows it, I would have a very limited interest in time spent on beaches, but I'm game for nearly anything else.

[ Edit: Edited on 29 Jan 2024, 14:46 GMT by kevlarcardhouse ]

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2928 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Yes, I've been around that area, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, in late December and early January with no problems.

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 5482 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

I have been around this part of the world off and on and had no real problems. Even in the rainy and hot season many millions of tourists still visit. Yes, the Christmas - New Years time of year is high season for plane tickets and some hotel prices. However, since your previous posts mention previous visits to Taiwan and Japan, Thailand for instance, may still be cheaper even during high season.

From Thailand I have been to just about every nearby country. I flew round trip from the US to Bangkok, then visit other places either by cheap local flights or train a few times. Return to Bangkok for a few days and flight home. Bangkok (for me) is cheaper than Tokyo.

Thailand is geared up for tourists. Local travel agencies can set you up with a tour in person if you want. Bangkok has some good cheap city rail service. (Japanese come to Thailand for cheaper holidays.)

If you do visit during the rainy season, when it rains usually it stops in a short time. (Does not rain inside malls, temples, bars, restaurants, etc.) Plant life looks nice and green too. Not to mention hotels and plane rides are cheaper during hot or rainy periods. Nightlife is cheaper in Thailand than Japan or Taiwan too.

How long will your trip be?

4. Posted by dinhoecotour (Budding Member 57 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

December/ January is still a good time to visit Vietnam.
Southern Vietnam will have good weather for some beach time.

5. Posted by kevlarcardhouse (Budding Member 5 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Quoting karazyal


How long will your trip be?

I think I can swing 4 weeks during Dec/Jan, which with my line of work is a lifetime. (When I took 3 weeks off for Japan and Taiwan, my boss was panicking a lot!)

I'm currently considering these two itineraries, or variations within:

1) Singapore - Chiang Mai - Bangkok - Penang - Ipoh - Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur

2) Hong Kong - Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Hoi An - Da Lat or Sapa - Ho Chi Minh

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 5482 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

(5)

"I'm currently considering these two itineraries, or variations within:

1) Singapore - Chiang Mai - Bangkok - Penang - Ipoh - Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur

2) Hong Kong - Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Hoi An - Da Lat or Sapa - Ho Chi Minh..."

-

To me, it looks like you will be seeing quite a few airports.

7. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 5482 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Here is a map of this area:

https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map_of_southeast_asia.htm

I think you are stretching yourself a little thin in planning so many countries on one trip.

Up to you.

8. Posted by dinhoecotour (Budding Member 57 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

[/quote]
I think I can swing 4 weeks during Dec/Jan, which with my line of work is a lifetime. (When I took 3 weeks off for Japan and Taiwan, my boss was panicking a lot!)

I'm currently considering these two itineraries, or variations within:

1) Singapore - Chiang Mai - Bangkok - Penang - Ipoh - Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur

2) Hong Kong - Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Hoi An - Da Lat or Sapa - Ho Chi Minh[/quote]

Dec/ Jan is not a good time for Sapa (Winter time) so Dalat will be a better choice.

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by kevlarcardhouse (Budding Member 5 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

I was thinking Sapa might be nice in Winter. Fewer crowds and as a Canadian I would not mind the cold! But yes, leaning towards a different option if the trip does happen during the Winter.

Right now, itinerary #1 is more likely the option I go with, but I always did want to see a bit of Vietnam so maybe I will rework it to be a Vietnam/Thailand or Vietnam/Malaysia trip instead. Lots to think about!