Travel Tips

5 min read

May Magic in Asia: Best Temples and Serene Spots to Visit

May's the perfect time to explore Asia. Why? The weather's just right - not too hot, not too rainy. It's like Goldilocks' porridge, just perfect. You're probably thinking, "But where should I go?" Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Tobi Miles
April 4, 2024
May Magic in Asia: Best Temples and Serene Spots to Visit

From beaches that'll make your Instagram pop to cities buzzing with culture and tasty food, Asia's full of spots you've gotta see. Whether you're into chilling by the sea or checking out cool temples, there's something for everyone. Let's dive into some of the best places to visit in Asia during May.

Key Takeaways

  • Asia in May offers a mix of splendid weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable travel options, making it a prime time for exploring both beach destinations and cultural cities.
  • Bali, Phuket, and Palawan stand out as top beach destinations with their perfect mix of sun, sea, and cultural experiences, showcasing less crowded beaches and vibrant local communities.
  • Kyoto, Hanoi, and Udaipur are highlighted as cultural cities to explore, offering a blend of festivals, historical sites, and gastronomic delights with the benefit of pleasant weather and fewer tourists.
  • Mountain getaways like Sapa, Pokhara, and Bhutan are recommended for their stunning landscapes, ideal weather for outdoor activities, and the chance to immerse in local cultures without the peak season crowds.
  • Food enthusiasts will find May to be the perfect time to visit foodie hotspots such as Penang, Tokyo, and Bangkok, where they can enjoy a diverse array of street foods, seasonal specialties, and unique culinary experiences.
  • Visiting iconic temples like Angkor Wat, the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, and the ancient city of Bagan is suggested for those looking to explore spiritual sites with the advantage of cooler mornings, light crowds, and scenic beauty enhanced by the season.

Beach Destinations in Asia

When you're planning a trip in May, you want to find the best places to visit that offer everything: the best weather, fun activities, and opportunities to avoid crowds, all at the lowest prices. Asia, with its vast coastline, delivers some of the best beach destinations you could dream of. Let's dive into where you should head for sun, sea, and sand.

Find Your Perfect Spot Under the Sun

Bali, Indonesia, is no secret, but if you hit the beaches in May, you're in for a treat. It's just before the peak season, so you'll find beautiful spots like Seminyak and Nusa Dua less crowded. The weather is fantastic – warm, but not too hot. You can surf, sunbathe, or explore local temples. Plus, Bali has some of the most stunning sunsets. It's the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

Heading over to Thailand, Phuket is a gem in May. Sure, it's popular, but for good reasons. The weather is on your side, with sunny days and a cool breeze in the evenings. Beaches like Kata and Karon are less crowded, letting you enjoy the beauty without bumping elbows. Don't miss the chance to snorkel in the clear waters; you'll see colorful fish and maybe even some corals. Local markets and street food are a must-try here – delicious and affordable!

The Philippines should be on your radar too. Places like Palawan and Boracay are breathtaking in May. Palawan, with its incredible lagoons and hidden beaches, feels like a private paradise. Boracay, after its cleanup, is more beautiful than ever. You'll find clean beaches and tons of water activities. Plus, visiting before the wet season means you're getting the best weather without the crowds.

Dive Into Local Culture

Every beach destination in Asia isn't just about the sand and sea; it's also about the rich culture and unique experiences.

In Bali, take a day trip to Ubud, the cultural heart of the island. You'll see traditional dances, craft markets, and might even catch a local festival.

Cultural Cities to Explore

When you're thinking about the best places to visit in May in Asia, you can't skip the cultural gems scattered across the continent. May's the sweet spot for traveling— you get the best weather, fewer people crowding the sites, and often lower prices on travel and stay. Plus, there's a ton of fun activities unique to each city. Let's dig into a few cities that are a must-visit for culture buffs like you.

First up, Kyoto, Japan. May is the perfect time to visit Kyoto because the cherry blossoms are just leaving, and the summer crowds haven't hit yet. You'll get to experience temples, gardens, and traditional tea houses without long waits or packed spaces. Don't miss the Sanja Matsuri festival if you're there in late May. It's one of Tokyo's three great Shinto festivals and it's something you gotta see to believe. Plus, Kyoto's weather in May is mild and perfect for walking around all day.

Next, consider Hanoi, Vietnam. May's a really good time to go because it's right before the hot summer months. Hanoi is rich in history and culture. You can enjoy exploring the Old Quarter, eating street food like Phở and Bánh mì, and visiting the many museums without worrying about rain or scorching heat. Plus, if you're looking to avoid crowds, early May is your best bet.

Udaipur, India, should also be on your list. Known as the "City of Lakes," Udaipur's stunning architecture and cultural festivals make it a dream destination. May is hot, but it’s also the time when you’ll find fewer tourists, making it easier to explore the city’s palaces, lakes, and markets. Bonus: hotel prices usually drop during this time, so it's kinder to your wallet. Make sure to catch a traditional dance performance at Bagore Ki Haveli, you won't regret it.

Here's a quick look at what makes these cities great in May:


Why Visit in May

What to Do


Less crowded, pleasant weather

Visit temples, Sanja Matsuri festival


Before the hot summer, less rain

Explore Old Quarter, try street food


Mountain Getaways

If you're thinking about the best places to visit in May in Asia and you love mountains, you're in for a treat. May is a fantastic time for mountain getaways, with the best weather, fewer people, and plenty of fun activities.

Why May is Great for Mountains

In May, the weather in mountain regions is just right. It's not too hot, not too cold, which means you can enjoy hikes, sightseeing, and local festivals without sweating too much or shivering. Also, because it's before the peak tourist season in summer, you'll avoid the crowds and even catch some places at the lowest prices of the year.

Where to Go

Here are a few mountain destinations you've got to check out:

  • Sapa, Vietnam: Famous for its terraced rice fields, Sapa is stunning in May. The weather is pleasant, which is perfect for trekking and exploring local villages. Plus, the May crowds haven't arrived yet, so you'll find peaceful paths and untouched nature.
  • Pokhara, Nepal: Nestled beside beautiful lakes with jaw-dropping views of the Annapurna range, Pokhara is a must-visit. May offers clear skies and the perfect temperature for paragliding, zip-lining, or just enjoying the views. It's also less busy than in autumn, so you'll find that sweet spot of great weather and fewer people.
  • Bhutan: This whole country is a mountain lover's dream. May is a special time here with clear skies and vibrant festivals. Visit the Tiger's Nest Monastery without the long lines, and check out local markets bustling with life but not overcrowded.

Tips for Your Mountain Getaway

  • Book in Advance: For lodgings with the best views, book a bit ahead. You might snag some early bird deals too.
  • Pack Right: Even in May, mountain weather can be unpredictable. Bring layers so you're ready for anything.
  • Go Local: Try local eateries and stay in guesthouses when you can. It's not just cheaper; you'll get a more genuine experience.
  • Check Festivals: Many mountain areas have festivals in May. They're a fantastic way to see local culture in action.
  • **Trekking and

Foodie Hotspots

After a day exploring mountains or basking in the gentle warmth of Asia's springtime sun, there's nothing better than diving into the local food scene. Here's the scoop on where to find the tastiest bites in May.

Penang, Malaysia is a paradise for food lovers. It's known for having some of the best street food in Asia. You'll find a mix of flavors here from Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisines. Imagine walking the streets, the air filled with the smell of fried noodles, spicy soups, and sweet treats. Plus, May is just before the rainy season and the tourist crowds are thinner, so you'll get to enjoy all these delicious foods without much wait.

Heading to Tokyo, Japan, you might think it's all about sushi. But May is the perfect time to try fresh springtime vegetables and seafood at local markets. The weather's great, not too hot or too cold. And while Tokyo is usually packed, May is somewhat of a sweet spot between the busy seasons. You've got to try the street food snacks and the unique treats from tiny local bakeries.

If you're looking for an adventure for your taste buds, Bangkok, Thailand is the place. This city is buzzing with food markets, street food stalls, and cooking classes offering endless fun activities. The weather in May is warm, making it an excellent time for sipping on coconut water or enjoying a mango sticky rice as you wander around. And since it's the start of the low season, you'll likely catch lower prices on accommodations, giving you more to spend on delicious eats.

Lastly, don't skip Hanoi, Vietnam. This city offers a unique blend of French and Vietnamese cuisine. May brings perfect weather for exploring the Old Quarter's narrow streets, filled with vendors selling pho, banh mi, and egg coffee. Prices are generally friendly to your wallet, and with fewer travelers around, you won't have to fight for a spot at the best eateries.

Here's a quick rundown for foodies planning their trip in May:


Must-Try Food



Penang, Malaysia

Street Food (Char Kway Teow, Laksa)

Warm and Dry

Fewer Crowds

Tokyo, Japan

Spring Vegetables and Seafood


Moderate Crowds

Must-Visit Temples

As you're planning your May journey through Asia, adding some of the region's most awe-inspiring temples to your itinerary is a must. May's generally sweet weather and the chance to dodge the heftiest crowds make this an optimal time to explore these spiritual sites. Here's a guide to the temples that promise not just stunning architecture but also a deep dive into the local culture, all while keeping an eye on enjoying the best weather, avoiding tourist-packed spots, and getting the most value for your money.

The Peaceful Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a name that resonates with anyone keen on exploring Asia's temple landscapes. Visiting in May, you'll enjoy slightly cooler mornings perfect for watching the sunrise over this iconic structure without the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds seen in peak seasons. Plus, the light rain in the afternoons adds a mystical touch to the ancient stones, making for unforgettable photos. Here's why it's a top pick:

  • Avoid crowds by starting early in the day.
  • The best weather for outdoor exploration is in the morning.
  • Engage in fun activities like bike tours around the temple complex.

Kyoto's Golden Pavilion, Japan

Kyoto is filled with treasures, but the Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, shines brightest, especially in May when the surrounding gardens burst into vibrant greens. Unlike the sweltering summer or busy cherry blossom season, May offers a chance to see this golden wonder in peace, with fewer people and more pleasant temperatures. Don't miss:

  • The reflection of the pavilion in the mirror pond is best enjoyed with fewer folks around.
  • Exploring the serene gardens is a fun activity that's peacefully uncrowded in May.
  • Early mornings or late afternoons offer the best weather conditions for visiting.
  • Sunrise and sunset balloon rides offer a magical experience with the best views and avoid crowds.
  • Early morning temple visits are cooler and less crowded.
  • Exploring Bagan by e


Exploring Asia in May offers an exquisite blend of adventure and serenity. From the tranquil mornings at Angkor Wat to the lush vibrancy of Kyoto's gardens, you're in for an experience that's as peaceful as it is picturesque. Whether it's cycling through historic sites or floating above Bagan at sunrise, each moment is tailored to avoid the hustle and ensure you're soaking in the beauty without the crowds. Remember, the early bird not only catches the worm but also enjoys the coolest, most serene temple visits. So pack your bags and set your alarms; unforgettable experiences await.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia?

May is an excellent time to visit Angkor Wat for its peaceful mornings and mystical atmosphere, particularly during light rain which adds to the temple’s enchanting ambiance.

Can you enjoy the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto without crowds?

Yes, visiting Kyoto's Golden Pavilion in May allows you to enjoy its vibrant gardens and peaceful ambiance with fewer crowds, providing a more serene experience.

What are some recommended activities when visiting temples in Asia in May?

Engaging in bike tours and exploring serene gardens are highly recommended. These activities allow you to enjoy the optimal weather conditions while also experiencing the beauty of the temples in a unique way.

Is it possible to watch the sunrise or sunset in Bagan, Myanmar?

Yes, magical sunrise and sunset balloon rides are available in Bagan, Myanmar, offering a breathtaking view of the temples from above, making it a memorable experience for any traveler.

Why are early morning temple visits recommended?

Early morning visits to temples are recommended for a cooler and less crowded experience. This timing allows visitors to fully appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the temples without the hindrance of heat and crowds.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 4, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes

You may also like...


Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes