It’s very rare that when you click on any of those headline offers for Asia (such as “14 nights in Phuket for £27!!!”) that the company behind the offer starts off by explaining that the price is so low because it’s for travel during the rainy season, which invariably it is.
But destinations like Thailand and Malaysia have 6 months of supposed ‘rainy’ seasons (i.e. for Phuket and the west coast of Thailand it runs from May – October) when hotel prices are a fraction (up to one half) of high season prices, and low prices are needed to bring in guests.
So what do the hotels do during these ‘quiet’ months – and also does it really rain for 6 months solidly? Well, no, of course it doesn’t, but this is when the perceived risk of the monsoon season arriving statistically increases.
But hotels are often half the price in the first week of May than they are in last week of April, but surely it doesn’t start pouring down at midnight on the 30th April? Again, no, of course not. Which is why by being clever you can maximise your luxury and minimise your costs and risk.
But this is not just ‘sales patter’. We at Ethos Travel also take our holidays during ‘rainy seasons’ as a) it’s more likely we will get complimentary / reduced price stays, and b) it’s easier to inspect hotels when occupancy is less than 40%. But at the same time we don’t want it to rain for our entire stay – but it rarely, if ever, does. And for our customers, hotels can offer fantastic deals.
Positives & Negatives
- All hotels will reduce their prices, be it a ‘stay 10 pay 5’ or a ‘50% reduction’, but may also chuck in a room upgrade or a spa treatment so make sure you ask us when hotel offers can be optimised
- Many hotels run complimentary trips or activities during the low season
- Look to stay right at the beginning or end of the ‘rainy’ season to minimise risk – i.e. for the West Coast of Thailand the first two weeks of May, or last two weeks of October
- That beach will probably be yours alone, and there will be no issues with getting a sun lounger by the pool
- Everyone is really, really happy to see you!
- You may have saved enough for a second holiday this year. Or one that’s twice as luxurious!
- It very rarely rains for 24 hours solidly, and it does rain during ‘high seasons’ – it’s the tropics. But low season is also called ‘green season’ as Asia’s flora and fauna can be most spectacular
- Many local bars and restaurants can be closed limiting your options for eating out, so you may be restricted to eating in the hotel at some out of the way locations. This can also apply to dive schools or attractions, so plan ahead
- All good hotels will run renovations during low season, but this is typically closing some rooms off to bring them up to scratch, but we try to make sure there is no heavy building work going on
- Divers / snorkelers need to be more wary than the rest of us as currents can make areas unsuitable for diving during low seasons even when the weather appears fine
Some periods, statistically, it is just not worth traveling to (i.e. Hong Kong in typhoon season, Koh Samui in November, and the most rain statistically falls on the west cost of Thailand & Malaysia in September). But travel to Bali or Lombok in November, and the weather can be much fresher – providing much needed breezes.
Of course we cannot guarantee the weather, at any point of the year. But we can manage expectations and give advice as we are experts, and we do travel, at our own cost during ‘low seasons’.