The best time for a spa vacation in Asia is anytime! Who can resist the sun, sea, beach and massage lure of Asia’s spa and beach resorts at any time of the year? But seriously, is there a best time to visit Asia’s spa resorts?
Well, it all depends on what is your definition of ‘best time’? Is it your most convenient time? Is it when the weather is the best? Is it when there are least tourists and people? Is it when air and accommodation prices are lowest? What exactly is your definition?
My personal definition of best time is – low tourist season – because it means hotel and airfare rates tend to be the lowest and there are lesser people jostling with you for the beach, pool, dining table or even massage room! I’ll take a chance with weather – because being in Asia – it means that there can be many days of bright sunlight even during thunderstorm and monsoon seasons!
The top spa resort destination in Asia is Thailand and the super peak tourist season for Thailand is November to February every year. You get reasonably good weather during this period and Thailand will be flooded with Europeans, especially Northern European, who flocked to Thailand to escape the cold winter. Flights and hotel fares for this period will be very expensive and spa resorts in Phuket, Ko Samui, Krabi, Bangkok and even Chiangmai or Chiangrai will be flooded with tourists of all colors and shapes!
The best weather to visit Thailand is between March to June as this tend to be the sunniest period and will also rain the least. Many spa and hotel resorts will define this as the normal period and charges will be reasonable.
My favorite time to visit Thailand is between July to October as many hotel and spa resorts slash prices to fill their rooms. This is considered the low tourist period for Thailand as Europeans stay away as it is summer anyway at home and also weather in Thailand can be finicky during this period – alternating between rain and sun.
You can possibly get steep discount even at exclusive spa resorts such as Banyan Tree, Six Senses and Marriot during this period. You may pay as low as US$250 a night for one of these exclusive hotel and spa resorts when they normally sell their rooms or villas at US$600 or more during normal and peak seasons. In addition, air tickets also tend to be the lowest during this period of time.
The other popular spa and beach resort destination in Asia is Indonesia; especially in places such as Bali, Lombok and Bintan. Peak tourist season for these places are December to January (for obvious reasons) and May to September. May to September is popular because the weather is the best, the best surf is up during this period and Australians, which forms a large portion of Indonesian tourists, will want to escape the cold in Australia.
Anytime other than these periods are considered normal period and some hotels and villas will adjust their prices accordingly to attract customers. The normal periods are also a good time if you are there for relaxation, romance or get-away-from-all purposes as shops, beaches, tourist spots and even the spas will also be less crowded. Some premium hotel or spa resorts may not lower prices but will offer certain enticements and promotions such as a discounted spa packages, long-stay discounts or airport pick-ups that are normally not available during peak seasons.
You can try your luck with discounts and special rates by calling or emailing the hotels directly. Some of them will be willing to offer good deals during low season if you try talking to the reservation office directly.
Taiwan and Japan boast some really nice and scenic natural hot spring spas along mountain ranges, the beach or rivers. Many of these are small boutique spas but there are some swanky, larger ones as well. One reason that these countries’ beautiful and natural hot spring spa resorts are not that popular with international tourists as yet is that many of these spa resorts are away from popular tourists routes and finding these spas tend to be a problem for tourists not familiar with the local language and geography.
Taiwan and Japan are popular with tourists all over the world during the summer months of May to October. This is the period when accommodation prices goes up and many popular tourists spots are packed with people. December to February are also peak periods for both year end holidays as well as Chinese New Year, which falls on January or February. One must never make the mistake of traveling during Chinese New Year as all transportation and accommodation will become scarce, expensive and packed.
To me, the window period between November and December and February to March are the best because there are lesser tourists during this period and accommodation is easier to arrange. Another reason why I like to travel during this period is that Taiwan and Japan has many open air hotspring spa resorts and in my opinion, natural, open air hot spring spas are best enjoyed during the slightly colder months and not during hot, stuffy summer months.
Strictly speaking, I should not be putting Singapore and Malaysia under the category of spa resort destinations because these two countries had never had a tradition of spa and massage culture. However, things are changing and many of the world’s and local spa and massage resorts are starting to make a name in these two countries.
Singapore and Malaysia are popular with tourists and business travelers all year round and accommodation prices tend not to range too much between peak and non-peak period. The traditional peak periods tend to be December to February and May to July as these are school holiday periods and Singapore and Malaysia parents tend to flock to each other country’s spa and hotel resorts during these periods. Avoid a spa holiday at all costs during these periods if you do not want your holiday destroyed by screaming children and fussing parents.
Malaysia’s hotels rates has traditionally been one of the lowest in Asia because it is not over-run as yet by tourists although tourists from Middle-East are coming in greater numbers as Malaysia is seen as a safe tourist country with a similar Muslim culture. The most popular spa resorts are in the island of Penang, Langkawi and KL city. Try visiting during the non-peak seasons and you’ll be surprised by the low rates you can get compared to other Asia countries.
Singapore hotel fares had always been reasonable for many years considering that this is a very modern and well-run city. However, hotel fares has shot up very highly in the last two years and unless you are visiting Singapore for other reasons, I will not recommend flying in just to check out Singapore’s spa resorts. You are better off getting better spa value and service in the other countries.
Well, now you know what are the best timing and weather to visit Asia’s top spa resorts. Hope this has been useful and you’ll now know how to plan your spa holidays in Asia accordingly!Tags:asia banyan tree beach resort best time hot spring massage spa tourist season