Where best to visit in Southeast Asia during the early summer months
Southeast Asia is an underrated early-summer destination, with most assuming that the ‘green season’ is not an optimum time to visit. However, we believe that some destinations, such as Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia, can be even more inspiring at this time of year. Here’s why.
In this enchanting country, the increase in rainfall between May and June means there are far fewer crowds at the main temples in Angkor, and we can even ensure you have some of the sites entirely to yourself, perhaps biking from temple to temple with a surprise picnic breakfast near the ruins.
We always secure excellent guides for our clients but, of course, the most knowledgeable experts tend to get booked up well in advance. At this time of the year, there is more chance of attaining one of our favourite guides, even if you only book a few months in advance.
The lush vegetation guarantees that the country is at its most scenic, giving way to magnificent photographic opportunities. Our favourite hotels tend to have much more favourable rates, making an out-of-this-world holiday more affordable.
The early summer in Laos can be hot and humid but it is also green and lush, and there are far fewer tourists. We recommend a few days in the charming town of Luang Prabang, where you can relax by the idyllic swimming pool at Amantaka, before setting out on a private boat trip along the Mekong River to escape the heat. The Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens are also beautiful in this season.
May and June would also be a great time to set off on an adventure to Muang La Lodge in the remote northern mountains of Laos. During these months, the shimmering landscapes are emerald and the Mekong River rushes past in full flow. This is a serene place to rest and recuperate in picturesque surroundings and encounter some of the fascinating traditions and customs of rural Laos. We particularly love the ever-changing menu here, which includes delicious dishes cooked with foraged, local ingredients.
There are few better ways to spend a week in the early summer than island-hopping around Indonesia. We can arrange a luxury yacht charter around the Komodo Islands, the archipelago that is a chocolate box of cultural treats and nature-based adventures. This is a superb scuba-diving destination, and for those who like adventure, peace and quiet, there is nothing quite as inspiring as an expanse of crystal-clear waters dotted with tropical isles. Inaccessible to anyone staying in a hotel or lodge on land, many of the small Indonesian isles and the sea that encircles them are still very much unexplored and unspoilt by tourism, allowing for the most exclusive and unforgettable experiences.
Bawah Reserve, made up of six islands in the Anambas archipelago, is wonderful in the early summer. This fabulous, no-frills beach retreat would be a glorious place to put your feet up for a few days after visiting the Borobudur Temple in Java or sightseeing in Cambodia. The only way to get there is by seaplane, but the journey is well worth it. With tasteful, unpretentious over-water suites and tented beach suites, this is barefoot luxury at its best.
Our summer is a good time to go to Sumba, a forgotten world of rugged mountains, wild coastlines and white-sand beaches strewn with volcanic rocks. The island is home to one of the best hotels in the world: Nihi Sumba. Tucked away on the south-west coast, Nihi is an incredibly spoiling yet laid-back hideaway. All the stylish villas are unique – with private verandahs, plunge pools and personal butlers. The service here is top-notch but unstuffy. The famous ‘left-hand break’ here draws in professional surfers, which makes for some exhilarating viewing. But if catching waves isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more on offer – an unusual highlight being a spa safari for two, which combines an interesting trek with three treatments and a private breakfast overlooking the crashing sea. It’s an experience like no other.
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