If there’s one season that must be experienced in southern Asia, it’s monsoon-season. Though travellers from all over the world come to the tropics for sun, sand and sea, the period of daily rains is equally unmissable.
“Monsoon season is perhaps the best time to visit tropical destinations in Southeast Asia. The jostling crowds thankfully scatter as the first raindrops hit. It infuses a new life into these destinations, leaving them refreshed and renewed,” says Jon Stonham, CEO of Elite Havens Group, a villa rental company. He adds, “The low-season rates are an added blessing!”
But great deals and thinner crowds are only the practical advantages of embracing the rains. For seekers of beauty, the occasional delay or washed-out day is a small price for the chance to see oft-visited places in a new light.
For example, the arrival of the monsoon is a chance to enjoy the cooling power of the rains from the comfort of a luxury houseboat in Kerala or explore the thundering, replenished waterfalls in Coorg, a beautiful, five-hour drive from Bangalore.
Outside Siem Reap, a few weeks of rain transforms the temples of Angkor Wat. The ancient structures gleam and glisten, the landscape turns an iridescent green, the moats fill with water and lotuses bloom in the hundreds. And in northern Thailand, the terraced rice fields shimmer in the brief periods of sunshine that punctuate the rains, an idyllic experience to explore by bike.
Furthermore, being willing to get soaked can yield some once-in-a-lifetime encounters. On a rainy trek in the hills between Mumbai and Pune in 2008, I braved the slippery slopes and was treated to a raresight of the bluish-purple karvi flower, which only blooms once in eight years.
Seeing it carpet the hillside was a sight I’d have missed had I stayed dry at home.
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine