Monsoon Magic: Our Top Picks for Green Season Travel
Monsoon season is a spiritual and life-nurturing time of the year, and an underrated time to travel. Sharp rises in precipitation caused by changes in the winds facilitate crop growth, breathe new energy into lush forests and jungles and rehydrate parched earth.
OUR TOP PICKS FOR GREEN SEASON TRAVEL
Monsoon season is a spiritual and life-nurturing time of the year, and an underrated time to travel. Sharp rises in precipitation caused by changes in the winds facilitate crop growth, breathe new energy into lush forests and jungles and rehydrate parched earth. Many visitors fear leaden skies will hamper their plans, but with some of the world’s most incredible destinations coming into their own during the monsoon period, nothing could be further from the truth with relatively few tourists and rain only falling in brief spells.
Southeast Asia's rainy season starts in late April and concludes around the start of November. Khareef season runs from June to early September in Oman.
MOUNTAIN HUESKuang Si Waterfalls, near Luang Prabang
In Thailand, the rains following the dry season transform mountainous northern provinces such as Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai into a vibrant carpet of emeralds. Bisecting this impossibly lush landscape are deep valleys where powerful rivers charge through steep walls of limestone. Next door in Laos, the mountains of the north are equally attractive following short, sharp bursts of rain. Luang Prabang, the jewel of the landlocked nation, is especially alluring and home to Amantaka. With the spring showers giving added urgency to the photogenic Kuang Si Waterfalls and restoring the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers to full force, the scenery is at its most epic. The absence of crowds makes the city and nearby caves, temples, and traditional villages even more serene than usual. Further east, the mountains of northern Vietnam are also at their most stunning during the green season. The verdant rice terraces at Mai Chau and the karst studded paddies surrounding Ninh Binh are unmissable.
CAMBODIA CALLINGPreah Khan Temple, Angkor
Cambodia hits a brilliant peak during the green season when its rice-paddies turn luminous green, and the crowds thin out at banner sights such as the temples at Angkor Wat. Showers are generally confined to an hour or two in the afternoon. There are ample opportunities to include outdoor activities such as temple-hopping near Siem Reap during the dry part of the day. The monsoon brings an almost surreal lushness to the surrounding jungle and varying hues of intense green to the moss and lichen-covered temple stones. Urban draws such as Phnom Penh, Cambodia's vibrant capital, and the artsy town of Battambang in the west of the country are eminently more manageable in the cooler weather.
HIT THE BEACHESNusa Penida, Off Bali's Southeast Coast
Beach breaks in Southeast Asia are far from incompatible with the monsoon period. Sparse crowds and long periods of sunshine make the green season an underrated time to strike out for the region's stretches of sand. A long, snaking coastline makes Vietnam a fine choice for beach lovers. Prime options in the country include the island of Phu Quoc, and the emerging destination of Quy Nhon, where two of our favorite new resorts — Anantara Quy Nhon and Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho — reside. The Anantara operates a luxurious old fashioned railway journey down the dramatic coastline from Danang. Bali is another great option. On the other side of the equator from the rest of Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s rainy season hits between December and March, which means beautiful, dry and coolish weather in which to explore the “Island of the Gods”.
GREEN DISCOVERIESAyn Khor Waterfall, Salalah
Oman is one of the most surprising green season destinations. The country's southern Dhofar region is transformed from a desert to a subtropical Garden of Eden during the Khareef (wet season). Dense fog and monsoon clouds cover the landscapes. The dry, brown slopes of the mountains come alive with nature and waterfalls. Salalah, the regional capital, is especially appealing during this period with its annual tourism festival — held during the Khareef — showcasing local products such as handicrafts and incense.
OPEN WITHOUT QUARANTINEVaccinated travelers can travel to any of these destinations right now. Armenia
Papua New Guinea
UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
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