Hot on the heels of our ‘Where to go in Asia in January’ blog, it’s time to talk about February.
Something of a theme emerged as we settled down to think about our favourite February spots. It’s all party party party in Asia in February! Whether it’s Chinese New Year celebrations (which is typically in February but falls in late January for 2020) or festivals of snow and ice, this is the month to throw yourself in and really see how the locals celebrate.
February, much like January, is also a great month for sun seekers. You can expect warm weather coupled with low humidity in the tropical areas. Families looking for a half-term sun-drenched retreat have a great deal of choice.
So here they are, our top picks for Asia in February. Enjoy, and as always don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions in the comments or by email.
Swim with whale sharks in the Philippines
If you’re willing to get a little off the beaten track, February is a great time to look for whale sharks in Donsol as they tend to come through in high numbers this month. These gentle giants are spotted nearly every day by snorkelers in the bay and sometimes by lucky SCUBA divers further from shore.
The area may be lacking in luxury but with flights from nearby Legaspi to Cebu and Manila, you can combine this with any number of other sun-drenched islands, beaches, dive spots, and lush hotels.
Party in Penang, Malaysia
If it didn’t happen at the end of January, Chinese New Year brings the streets and temples to life this month, especially in George Town on the island of Penang. With a large population of Chinese ancestry, the holiday is celebrated in a big way in this UNESCO-designated heritage city. The crowds can be intense but seeing the temples lit up at night, catching a lion dance, dragon dance, drumming competition, fireworks, and all the frivolity makes for a memorable few days. Check out our hotel picks for ideas of where to stay.
Marvel at snow sculptures in Japan
The undisputed top dog of winter-themed events in Japan, Sapporo’s Snow Festival in February draws over a million visitors each year. A vast array of ice and snow sculptures at multiple venues provide the main attraction. Food and drink on offer at countless kiosks keep moods buoyant as temperatures drop. Since Japan’s mountains welcome significant snowfall, you can find ski resorts all across the country and they rank amongst the world’s best ski areas. High-quality powder snow, long runs, and extensive off-piste options all contribute to the prestige.
Another option in February is to seek warmer climes down south. Okinawa is already in the middle of Cherry Blossom season in early February.
Explore the northern states in India
February is a great time to visit India’s northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The early morning fog and city smog that can sometimes linger in the months of December and January begins to lift and visitors can enjoy all of the colour and vibrancy these regions offer in abundance. Our Classic Rajasthan itinerary gives a taste of both city and rural life in north India, and explores the culture, food and rich history. Add in a train journey to experience India’s incredible rail network.
Something for everyone in the Maldives
February is the month for romance, and you can’t go wrong in the Maldives at this time of year. You can expect clear skies and intense sunshine across the region, and some great treats for couples staying over Valentine’s Day.
But families shouldn’t shy away – the Maldives is ideal for a blast of sun during February half-term. There are dozens of child-friendly islands within a 30 minute speedboat ride of the airport. Pop the kids in the kids club while you try out the spa – or even take a scuba diving taster course.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Vietnam
We love Vietnam in February, when the rain has gone into hiding, the sun has come out to play and the south is delightfully tropical. But more than that, it is often the month of Chinese New Year (or TET as it is called in Vietnam), so perfect for those wanting to experience a traditional Asian festival. In fact, it is the most important festival of the year in Vietnam and one of our favourite places to head is the UNESCO town of Hoi An which comes to life with hundreds of colourful lanterns that fill the streets and float down the river. The dates of the festival are set by the lunar calendar so change every year, in 2020 Tet falls in January but in 2021 and 2022 it will be in February. The perfect February Vietnam holiday is our Highlights & Tropical Island trip.
Get off the beaten track in Myanmar
Whilst February is a popular time of year to visit almost all of Southeast Asia for its excellent weather, those wanting to avoid the crowds should head to Myanmar (Burma) as it remains one of the region’s more undiscovered gems. Did you also know it is home to isolated and stunning beaches where you are more likely to encounter an authentic experience with the local tribespeople (known as “sea gypsies”) than a fellow tourist – the Myeik Archipelago is one of the country’s best kept secrets, a collection of hundreds of islands with pristine white sand in clear water with incredible visibility – we recommend cruising this area as offered in this itinerary.
Celebrate Independence Day in Sri Lanka
With lovely weather across the south, west and middle of Sri Lanka, February is a great month to head up into the hills, hike from waterfall to waterfall and live in a converted tea planter’s bungalow or even on a working tea estate, where you can pitch in with leaf picking if you like.
If you prefer beach time, take your pick of the south and west coast beaches and choose a luxury villa to rest in. February 4th is Independence Day so you can expect festivals, parades and fireworks across the island.
Get Festive in Laos
If Laos is considered a country of festivals and celebrations, February is the king of all months as it has more festivals than any other month in the year. Not to mention amazing weather up and down the country! Four of our favourite festivals this month include the Magha Puja and Wat Phu (both full moon celebrations) and the Elephant festival, where more than 50 elephants bathe with monks and are blessed in a special ceremony.
Our Perfect Introduction to Laos is a great starting point for holiday inspo.
Escape the humidity in Cambodia
February is one of our favourite months to visit Cambodia because the skies are sunny, the rain has passed, the Christmas and New Year crowds have thinned but it is before the humidity increases. You can have your pick of the country without having to hibernate from the mid-day sun! The temples of Angkor can get very busy over the peak season so we really recommend travelling when there are fewer tourists and February is great as it falls between the peak seasons of Christmas and Easter.
For a more off the beaten experience take a look at our from Temples to Jungles and Paradise Itinerary.
See Thailand in bloom
February is an excellent month to visit Thailand, with great weather in most parts of the country and visitors can get lower prices for flights and accommodation compared to the other high season months of December and January.
If you’re near Bangkok around the end of January and into early February you will cross over with the celebrations for the Chinese Lunar New Year (25 January 2020, in February in 2021). Make your way to the city’s Chinatown district to join in! And it’s a good time to head north at the beginning of the month (7-9 February 2020) and experience the beautiful Chiang Mai Flower Festival.