Weather, Festivals, Monsoon Information, and Where to Go for Sunshine
Traveling through Asia in September is as enjoyable as any other time, however, the monsoon is peaking in some Southeast Asian countries; typhoons sometimes move in to threaten East Asia and produce rain throughout the region.
Rain or no rain, exciting festivals in Southeast Asia and hints of cooler fall weather approaching in China make September a good time to visit Asia!
Enjoying Asia in September
While much of Southeast Asia is wet and humid during September, many backpacking students and families traveling with children have already gone home to begin a new school year.
September is a month of transition between seasons in Asia; weather can be unpredictable. Countries with scorching summers and suffocating humidity such as China, Japan, and India will begin to cool off slightly in September, making for more pleasant days. Many countries in Asia will be celebrating the harvest period in September.
Asian Festivals and Holidays in September
Lucking upon a big festival in Asia may become the highlight of your trip, or a complete nightmare if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Transportation can slow to a crawl and accommodation may increase in price or be completely booked up — plan ahead!
Many Asian holidays and festivals are based on a lunar calendar, so dates change annually. The following festivals could be celebrated in September:
- Phuket Vegetarian Festival: Dates vary
- TheFull Moon Party in Thailand: Monthly
- Chinese Moon Festival: Dates vary
- Malaysia Day: Always on September 16
- National Day in Chinabegins on October 1; travel throughout China around the end of September will certainly be affected as many people leave smaller towns and flock to Beijing.
Places with the Best Weather
Rain can pop up at any time and roving tropical storms can throw all predictions out of whack, but these countries have lower average rainfall and slightly less humidity during the month of September:
- Much of Indonesia including Bali
- The northern part of Sri Lanka
- Beijing and Northern China
- Hong Kong
Places with the Worst Weather
While sunny days are common, average rainfall is high during September in the following countries:
- The Philippines
- Thailand — September is often the wettest month in
- Note: Peak typhoon season in Japan is from August until October.
Travel During the Monsoon Season
The monsoon season in Asia doesn’t always begin or end on time, and it certainly doesn’t come in a straight line. While one side of a country may be dealing with torrential rain, the other side may be enjoying sunny days.
Traveling during the monsoon or ‘off’ season does come with many advantages: smaller crowds, discounts for accommodation, and cooler weather with better air quality. Travelers with tight itineraries may find rainy days interfering with plans, and in the worst case, transportation may be delayed as roads flood and seas become rougher. Outdoor activities such as trekking or snorkeling may end up postponed or become impossible altogether.
Increased rainfall brings additional mosquitoes and an increased risk for dengue fever, particularly throughout Southeast Asia.
The Islands in September
Rowdy places famous for parties such as Bali, some of the Thai islands, the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, and the Gili Islands in Indonesia may be slightly more quiet now that younger backpackers have gone home to study.
Peak season in the Perhentian Islands, Tioman Island, and the Gili Islands is beginning to wind down in September. Seas may be rougher but the weather remains mostly sunny, making September a good time to enjoy the islands with less crowds.
Some islands in Thailand such as Koh Lanta are practically closed down during the month of September. Many restaurants and hotels close to do seasonal maintenance. You can certainly enjoy quieter beaches on sunny days, but there will be fewer choices for eating and sleeping.
The Weather in Singapore
The weather stays relatively the same — warm and humid — in Singapore throughout the year with the potential for rain at any time. The rainiest months are between November and January.
The Weather in Sri Lanka
The island of Sri Lanka is an anomaly; despite the small size, it is subject to two distinct monsoon seasons. In September the north and east sides of Sri Lanka are driest, while the popular beaches in the south such as Unawatuna experience rainy days.