12 Best Beach Destinations To Visit Every Month Of The Year


Atiqah Mokhtar •  Feb 12, 2020

[UPDATED 13th May 2022]

You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy a good beach holiday. Sun, sand, and beautiful waters? Yes, please! And here in Southeast Asia, we're blessed to have an amazing array of beach holiday destinations to choose from, from those right in our backyard in Malaysia to neighbouring spots in Indonesia, Thailand and more. But more often than not, many of these destinations are subject to weather conditions like monsoons, rainy seasons and such. With the variety of coasts, islands, and weather patterns across the globe, sometimes it can be hard to remember when is the best time to visit which beaches! You wouldn't want to go on a beach holiday only to have to stay indoors all day, would you?

Credit: Giphy

To help you out, we've come up with a handy guide to the best beaches to visit every month of the year! So whenever you have time to go for that perfect beach getaway, you'll know which spot to hit up 😌

Note on this guide: This list is primarily guided by weather conditions. For example, for January, we've chosen Koh Samui as the recommended destination as Koh Samui's best weather (i.e. dry and sunny) happens during the months of December to April. Having said that, we do note that a destination's best weather months also tend to be its peak tourist season and hence prices for flight rates and accommodation are usually higher.  We recognize that many may prefer to visit when the weather is not the most ideal, but prices would be cheaper. Hence, for each destination listed below, we also highlight peak tourist months, the shoulder months (i.e. periods right before or after peak/low periods),  and whether the island is or isn't accessible during monsoon seasons. That way, you can make an informed choice ahead of booking that trip! It's also worth bearing in mind that while we recommend the month and beach to visit to hopefully experience the best weather, all these destinations are in tropical locations, meaning that it's never impossible to suddenly experience the odd thunderstorm!

1. January: Langkawi

Langkawi is a staple beach destination for Malaysians thanks to many factors - one of which is the fact that it's a year-round destination. This archipelago of islands also has everything you'd need on a holiday: pretty beaches, lush scenery, fun attractions, and a great array of accommodations catering from the ultra-luxurious to budget-friendly options.

Langkawi actually has a rainy season from September to October, meaning if you visit around this time, you have a higher chance of experiencing thunderstorms, especially in the late afternoon. But even then, the sea remains relatively calm (compared to islands say, on the east coast of Malaysia during monsoon season), so there's a constant flow of visitors throughout the year. The dry season happens between November and March, with peak tourist season coinciding with the year-end and school holidays, so planning your trips ahead accordingly is always a good idea 😍

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: Nov to Mar

Rainy season: Sep to Oct

Peak tourist season: Late Dec to Mar; during school holidays

Shoulder months: Oct - Nov, Apr - Aug

2. February: Koh Samui

Next on our list is none other than the beautiful island of Koh Samui in Thailand. This island lies off the coast of Surat Thani, on the opposite side of the Thai Canal (the narrow neck of land that connects Peninsular Malaysia to the south of Thailand and Myanmar) from other popular destinations like Krabi and Phuket. Fun fact: did you know that Koh Samui is the second-largest island in all of Thailand?

Koh Samui has two main seasons - dry and rainy. The dry season happens between late December to April, with April usually reporting the hottest temperatures (around 30 degrees Celsius) - this is also when Songkran (the Thai water festival) happens! February is a popularly recommended month to visit Koh Samui as the weather is ideal and you'd also escape the year-end crowds that tend to throng the area in December and January.

The rainy months in Koh Samui are from October to December, with November often cited as having the highest amount of rainfall. That said, it's also the cheapest time to visit. In either case, Koh Samui is accessible year-round, and even during rainy months, you can enjoy all the perks of visiting a Thai island, like delicious food, massages or having a relaxed time to yourself indoors at one of the many fabulous resorts in Koh Samui.

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: Late Dec to Apr

Rainy season: Oct to mid-Dec

Peak tourist season: Late Dec to Jan, Jul to Aug (especially during school/summer holidays)

Shoulder months: Feb to mid-July, Sep, early Dec

3. March: Phuket

Phuket is arguably Thailand's most popular island destination, with visitors from around the world regularly descending upon it. Phuket is a well-rounded beach destination which has a good balance of beach, outdoor activities and relaxation spots. Whether you want an activity-filled beach holiday or just want to take it slow, you'll be covered (P.S. If you're torn between Langkawi and Phuket for your next beach getaway, check out our guide that weighs the pros and cons of both islands!)

Similar to Langkawi and Koh Samui, Phuket is a year-round destination though if you're looking to maximise your fun in the sun, November to April are the best months to do it, with sunny days and little rainfall. The monsoon season starts from May and lasts until October with the highest rainfall (in terms of volume) usually reported in the month of May as well as the months of September and October. Thanks to Phuket's sheltered location, even the rainy months are generally mild weather-wise, with warm sunny days possible at regular intervals, but do note that the seas may be rough and not suitable to swim in during this time. Check out our 4D3N Phuket itinerary to start planning your getaway to the island!

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: Late Nov to Apr

Rainy season: May to Oct

Peak tourist season: Nov to Mar

Shoulder months: Apr (after Songkran) to early May; Jun to Aug, late Oct to early Nov

4. April: Maldives

The Maldives is on a lot of people's travel bucket lists, and it's easy to see why! After seeing all the beautiful Instagram-worthy water villas in the middle of crystal clear blue waters, it'd be hard not to want to see this piece of paradise for ourselves. In addition, it's an especially attractive destination for Muslim travellers since halal food is easy to find given the Maldives' predominantly Muslim population.

The Maldives sits in the middle of the Indian Ocean (about 1,000 kilometres southwest of Sri Lanka) and has a tropical climate split between the dry season, which happens from November to April, and the wet season which happens from May to October. Unsurprisingly, the peak tourist season stretches from the year-end holiday period of December all the way to March. During the monsoon season, while rainfall and thunderstorms are to be expected, it doesn't rain non-stop and you may still have the chance of experiencing good weather intermittently. In addition, it's also a great time to see creatures like reef sharks and manta rays when diving.

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: Nov to Apr

Rainy season: May to Oct

Peak tourist season: Dec to Mar

Shoulder months: Nov, Apr

5. May: Tioman

Next on our list is one of Malaysia's popular East Coast islands, Tioman! This island which lies off the coast of Pahang has become a popular destination for diving enthusiasts, couples and families alike. Apart from diving and snorkelling, it's also a great spot to go for hikes, bike around sections of the island, or just bask in the island's natural beauty.

Travelling to islands off the East Coast is usually based on one cardinal rule - to avoid going during the northeast monsoon months of November until March. During this period, thunderstorms, choppy seas and rough weather often prohibit most travel to the island and many resorts close for operations, often until the beginning of March. Visiting in May or any other time during the non-monsoon period will mean calm weather, beautiful skies, and a fabulous vacation.

Year-round destination?: No 

Dry season: Apr to Oct

Rainy season: Nov to Mar

Peak tourist season: May (before Ramadan/ after Hari Raya) to Sep, especially during school holidays

Shoulder months: Late Feb to Mar; Oct

6. June: Bali

Next on our list is our first Indonesian destination, Bali! This island is a much-loved beach destination for locals and foreigners alike, filled with beautiful beaches, amazing cultural and heritage sites, and a vibe that's perfect for your next vacation.

Bali is definitely a year-round destination, despite having distinct dry and wet seasons. The dry months are from around late April running through to October and during the peak of the summer months of the northern hemisphere, you'll find plenty of western tourists going on vacation in Bali. During the wet season from end-October to April, you can expect bursts of heavy rain and much higher precipitation rates, but even then the weather is still very much tolerable, with spates of good weather in between. You'll find plenty of foreign tourists still visiting, especially during the Easter period (mid-April) and also during the year-end Christmas holiday period extending to January (especially from places like Australia, where summer vacations happen during this time).

The shoulder months outside of the high seasons are often the best months to visit Bali, especially during the months of May to June and also Sep to Oct when the weather is dry but the crowds aren't at maximum levels. But either way, there's always plenty to see and do in Bali, so there isn't really a bad time to visit! Whether you're looking to relax in your awesome Bali accommodation, indulge in yummy local food or check out the many Instagram-worthy spots, you're sure to have fun.

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: End-Apr to Oct

Rainy season: End-Oct to Apr

Peak tourist season: Jul - Aug, End-Dec to early Jan

Shoulder months: Apr to Jun; Sep to Oct

7. July: Rawa

A popular choice for weekend getaways for people from Malaysia as well as Singapore, this beach beauty is as picturesque as they come. Offering stunning views, plenty of sunshine and a good time, Rawa Island is a seaside hotspot where water activities like snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking are sure to fill your days.

Rawa Island is located off the eastern coast of Johor and has a rainy/monsoon season that lasts from around October to February, with peak rainfall happening during December and January. Even then, the few resorts that operate in Rawa usually remain open year-round, so if you don't manage to visit during the dry months of March to September you may still have a chance to have your beach vacation there! However, do remember to check with your resorts on transportation arrangements - for some resorts, they may defer your ferry transfer from Mersing to your resort to a different day if sea conditions aren't ideal.

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: Mar to Sep

Rainy season: Oct to Feb

Peak season: During local school holiday periods during the dry season

Shoulder months: Outside holiday periods during the dry season

8. August: Lombok

Credit: Quinci Villas, Lombok on Facebook

It probably comes as no surprise that Lombok is on our list - this island neighbouring Bali boasts similar natural beauty in terms of beaches, mountains and waterfalls. And it also stands to reason that the best time to visit Lombok is a relatively close mirror to its more well-known neighbour. Boasting relatively stable weather year-round, Lombok is a good idea for a travel destination practically any time of the year.

Lombok's dry season lasts from around May to September - if you're looking to trek up Mount Rinjani, the second-highest volcano in Indonesia, this period is usually the best time to do it too as the Mount Rinjani National Park usually closes from January to March during the peak of the rainy season. If you're not planning to trek or hike up Mount Rinjani, visiting Lombok during the wet season (from October to April) is still perfectly doable, as the rain doesn't usually last for long intervals in the day, plus Lombok is reported to be drier and less humid in comparison to the wet season in Bali.

P.S. Looking for that perfect Lombok accommodation? Check out these awesome villas for some inspiration!

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: May to Sep

Rainy season: Oct to Apr

Peak season: Jul to Aug, End-Dec to early Jan

Shoulder months: 

9. September: Redang or Perhentian

Marching into the month of September, it's time to take advantage of the time we have before the northeast monsoons reach the east coast of Malaysia. And that means it's the perfect time to visit either the Redang or Perhentian islands which are both off the coast of Terengganu! These two popular beach destinations are known for their diving spots, beautiful scenery and clear waters.

Both Redang and Perhentian are best to visit during the dry season that lasts between April to October. If you're visiting towards the tail-end of the dry season, we recommend visiting in September to early October, as some resorts start closing for the monsoon season as early as mid-October. Many resorts resume operations by the start of March, though we do recommend double-checking with the resort that you're planning to book with (check out our list of accommodations for Redang!) to be sure.

We've previously written a guide on the main East Coast Islands (Tioman, Redang and Perhentian) that goes more in-depth on how to get to the islands, what to see and do, as well as where to stay.

P.S. Looking for lesser-known island destinations in Malaysia to explore? Check this list out!

Year-round destination?: No

Dry season: Apr-Oct

Rainy season: Nov to Mar

Peak season: Apr - Jul, especially during local school holidays

Shoulder months: Mar, Sep to Oct

10. October: Pangkor or Sipadan

At this point in time, visits to the East Coast start to wind down as the northeast monsoon is well on its way. It's not the best time weather-wise to visit the Thai destinations either as they're probably transitioning to the drier months, while the famous spots in Indonesia like Bali and Lombok are just entering into the rainy season.

So where should you go in October? One option is to look for beach destinations that are easily accessible year-round and free from significant weather variations, and a key example of this would be Pangkor Island! This island off the coast of Perak is sheltered by Sumatra and as such the sea and weather conditions don't really vary much as compared to islands off the East Coast. Visitors commonly get there by driving to Lumut jetty (about a 3-hour drive from KL) before taking the ferry (about 30-45 minutes) to Pangkor, which makes it a great place for a quick weekend getaway. Given that it's a popular vacation destination for locals, it's ideal to visit Pangkor outside of the school holiday periods.

If you're looking for something further afield, we have an alternative destination to propose: Sipadan! This island off the coast of Semporna in Sabah is known for being an incredible diving spot. To preserve the marine ecosystem of Sipadan, visitors can't stay on the island itself and must opt for resorts on the neighbouring islands of Mabul and Kapalai. While it is a year-round destination, if you're looking to dive, the best months to do so are from April to December. From January to March, the weather tends to be more unpredictable and stronger currents may affect your dive trips.

#HHWT Tip: A diving permit is required for Sipadan. These permits are issued by the authorities in Sabah and distributed across the dive resorts and operators. If you're planning to dive, it's best to book a dive package with the resort you're staying at and book well in advance to ensure you get the permit required. In addition, visitors that stay for a longer period of time tend to have a higher chance of getting a permit.


Year-round destination?: Yes 

Rainy months: Oct to Apr (however, rainfall isn't super significantly higher)

Peak season: Local public and school holiday periods


Year-round destination?: Yes

Best season for diving: Apr to Dec (During Jan - Mar, the weather is more unpredictable and there may be stronger currents)

Peak season: Jul to Aug, End-Dec to early Jan

11. November: Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe is a small Thai island located close to the Malaysian border in the Andaman Sea. It's located within the Tarutao National Marine Park, one of Thailand's oldest marine parks that's rich with coral. In recent years, Koh Lipe has gained a lot more popularity, thanks to its stunning beaches and excellent snorkelling spots. Also, did you know that Koh Lipe is only a 90-minute ferry ride from Langkawi? If you're wondering how to take your beach vacation up a notch, you could do a dual island getaway by visiting both Langkawi and Koh Lipe (check out this itinerary for a 4d3n Langkawi-Koh Lipe trip!).

In terms of when to best visit, Koh Lipe has a bit of a unique situation - it is administratively divided between the high season (November to May) and the low season (June to October). Now, these two seasons don't necessarily equate to the weather: Koh Lipe's rainy season can run anywhere between June to mid-Dec. While the highest rainfall is often reported in September and October, it can often vary, with rainy days extending later in the year. Nevertheless, the island works on the high/low season divide as this governs ferry operations (there is a much higher frequency during the high season) as well as access to the national park (which is usually closed during the low season). In addition, during the low season, many shops and certain resorts may be closed and it's also more likely that the seas may be rougher at this point, which translates to bumpy boat rides.

#HHWT Tip: The ferries between Langkawi and Koh Lipe usually operate between late Oct to May, in line with the high season.

With the clear divide between low and high seasons, it's not surprising that the price difference for accommodation and excursions can be very significant, depending on which season you book your trip. In addition, there is also the peak season, which marks when the island reaches max capacity as tourists pour in during the year-end and New Year period, and prices bump up significantly further during this time. Visiting Koh Lipe in November (at the start of the high season) will help ensure you get to visit when all ferries, services and facilities are in full operation, while also hopefully avoiding peak pricing that kicks in during the year-end.

Year-round destination?: Yes, but do note that ferry services from Langkawi to Ferry usually only run from Oct to May, certain resorts and operators may be closed during the rainy season and seas may be rougher during that time

High season: Nov to May

Low season: June - Oct

Peak season: Dec to Feb

Shoulder months: Oct, Mar, End-Apr

12. December: Krabi

Rounding out our list is a crowd favourite, Krabi. This Muslim-friendly beach destination in Thailand boasts everything you could need for an awesome beach holiday, including yummy halal food and other Muslim amenities thanks to its large Muslim community. Similar to its neighbour Phuket, Krabi serves as a year-round destination, even though its weather is divided between dry and wet seasons.

The dry season runs from November to March, making it the perfect spot to go for your year-end holidays. Visiting Krabi in December will be a great time to bask in the town's beauty, from visiting the beaches, going island-hopping, or trekking around the beautiful limestone mountains in the area. Admittedly, this will also be during Krabi's high season, with tourists peaking during the Christmas t0 New Year period. So if you're looking to avoid crowds or get better prices, you may want to opt for visiting during the shoulder months or even during the beginning months of the rainy season. While the rainy months run from June to October, many sources report that the wettest months are from September to October and even then, the rain typically comes in short heavy bursts, with long spates of sunshine in between.

Year-round destination?: Yes

Dry season: Nov to Mar

Rainy season: Jun to Oct (wettest months in Sep-Oct)

Peak season: Dec to Feb

Shoulder months: Apr to May

There are so many awesome beach and island destinations near our tropical shores, so it only makes sense to take advantage of them and have a seaside holiday! If you're a lover of beach vacays, you now know where to go every month of the year so it's time to start planning those getaways 🤩