Seasons and Weather
Shrouded in mystery, the Far East is one of the most intriguing regions in the world and certainly deserves a place on everyone’s to-go list. Of course, one of the most important factors to take into account when travelling is the weather. This means that choosing the right time of the year to travel can make the difference between a good trip and a great trip. Check out our guidelines to work out when will be the ideal time for your holiday.
Spring in the Far East
One of the main reasons that people travel to the Far East during spring (March to May) is to witness the stunning cherry blossoms that bloom all over Japan and South Korea. However, if you are planning on visiting Japan in spring, try and avoid travelling during ‘Golden Week’, which falls at the end of April or beginning of May. Transport during this time can be extremely busy and many offices are closed. Entry to Tibet is usually not possible in March because of the Tibetan New Year but April and May are excellent months to visit as the ice has melted but the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet. The most northern parts of China are still best avoided at this point as they will still be very cold but the central and southern areas will be ripe for visiting.
Recommended tours and trips in Spring
Cherry Blossom Festival
Spectacular South Korea
Summer in the Far East
During the summer months (June to August), most places in the Far East experience pleasantly warm weather – perfect for outdoor activities such as exploring the countryside or chilling at the beach. However, be aware that summer is also the busiest time of the year to travel to this part of the world and so tourist sites are likely to be at their most crowded. There are also a number of big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu that can get very hot. It is also important to note that rain falls periodically across the region during this season and South Korea and Japan become quite damp and muggy. However, visiting rural China, Tibet and the more northern parts of the country are excellent during this time. When it comes to Tibet, summer is ideal and the busiest time of the year (though the crowds in Tibet never get too big anyway). With the sun shining, the oxygen content at its highest and the sky clear, conditions are perfect for trekking around the roof of the world.
Recommended tours and trips in Summer
Highlights of Tibet
Land of the Samurai
Autumn in the Far East
The autumn months fall between September and November. September will usually see a residual heat still warming up much of the region but by November this will have dissipated for the most part. Many will consider this the best time to travel to the Far East as the summer crowds will have died down and the heat and chaos of the big cities will be much more manageable. Now is the perfect time for sightseeing in China as the entire country will have pleasant weather from the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an and Chengdu to the national parks and rural zones. Autumn is also ideal for checking out the scenery in Japan and South Korea, which will by this point be bathed in reds and oranges as the leaves start to change colour. The weather start to cool down dramatically in Tibet but trekking in early autumn will still be a great experience and a clear sky makes for some awesome photo opportunities.
Recommended tours and trips in Autumn
Tokyo to Takayama
Nepal to Tibet
Great Wall & Warriors
Winter in the Far East
Far lower numbers of travellers opt to visit the Far East during the winter months (December to February) of the year as temperatures drop considerably and in many places experience snowfall. However, it is cheaper and less crowded than the rest of the year. It is not recommended to visit Tibet during this time as many routes will be inaccessible because of ice and snow and it is very cold. South Korea takes on a rather magical feel during winter, making it a good time for sight-seeing if you can brave the cold. Ski resorts in northern Japan and South Korea open during this time so if you are a snow-sports fan, this is a great time to visit. When it comes to China, winter produces a mixed bag of results. The northern areas are usually too cold to visit but the southern areas are still reasonably mild and the lack of crowds makes exploring much easier. Alternatively, if you don’t mind the notable chill, seeing Beijing under a blanket of snow is pretty spectacular. Of course, the main reason travellers go to China during the winter is to see the Harbin Ice Festival.
Recommended tours and trips in Winter
Harbin Ice Festival
Harbin Ice Festival Express
Seoul & Silla Kingdoms
If you're after more detailed information on when best to visit the countries we cover in the Far East of Asia, check out our comprehensive guides to the weather and festivals for China, Japan, South Korea and Tibet.