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Seasonably Late: A Guide to Pacific Rim Travel


At peak tourist season, western Pacific Rim nations are flooded with visitors, causing prices to skyrocket. During the shoulder or off-season, however, the weather is often milder, rates are better, and there is room to take in the sites. Here are a few highlights of places to visit and when to visit them in the western Pacific Rim.

South Korea

Season: Fall

Month: October

Average Daily Temperature: 10 – 19°C

Highlight: Changdeokgung is considered the most beautiful of Seoul’s five palaces, and is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Also known as the Eastern Palace, it’s the best preserved of the royal palaces.

Why October? The tourist season is dying down, and the temperature is still pleasantly warm in South Korea; a perfect time to take in the changing foliage.


Season: Winter

Month: December

Average Daily Temperature: 15 – 20°C

Highlight: Victoria Peak, a mountain in western Hong Kong, rises 552 metres above sea level. Known locally as The Peak, its vantage offers a panoramic view of Hong Kong Island.

Why December? Although Northern China is cold, this southern city remains temperate, and it’s a great time to visit since tourist traffic is low.


Season: Dry

Month: February

Average Daily Temperature: 23 – 32°C

Highlight: Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, is located next to the Chao Phraya River that runs through the city. Named after the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna, this Buddhist temple centres around a 79-metre prang or tower-like spire, which is flanked by four smaller towers on its outer corners.

Why February? The weather in Thailand is relatively cool, but the peak tourist season is at its tail end.


Season: Dry

Month: June

Average Daily Temperature: 16 – 22°C

Highlight: The Petronas Towers rise 88 stories and are 451.9 metres tall. At 170 metres, the two towers are connected by a skybridge, from which the whole cityscape can be admired for a fee.

Why June? June is off-season in Malaysia, yet the capital is at its driest and least humid.


Season: Spring

Month: September

Average Daily Temperature: 6 – 16°C

Highlight: The National Gallery of Australia houses an extensive art collection with works by world-class artists from across the globe, as well as a collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

Why September? It is spring in Australia and the weather is mild, but it’s not quite summer yet, so tourist season hasn’t flooded the streets with visitors.

New Zealand

Season: Fall

Month: March

Average Daily Temperature: 12 – 17°C

Highlight: Mount Victoria Lookout, at 196 metres above sea level, provides a panoramic view of the city. This breathtaking view of the capital city and the ocean beyond is best taken in at sunrise or sunset.

Why March? The summer is just ending for New Zealanders, and with the slight dip in temperature, tourists head home.

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Korea Tourism Organization, Langara Library & Information Technology Students, The Lonely Planet, Tourism Australia, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Malaysia, Tourism New Zealand

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