March heralds a change in the weather across many parts of Asia. In the north, in countries including China, Japan and South Korea, the peak of winter is nearing its end giving way to milder and much more vibrant springtime. In Japan, you can enjoy the beautiful plum blossom throughout the month of March and witness the extraordinary spectacle of sumo wrestling at the Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka. Similarly, in the lower Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan and India, rhododendrons begin to bloom, making it an excellent time for trekking and hiking. In the southern regions of Asia, dry and warm conditions continue with plenty of sunshine across many popular destinations including India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore.
Whether you are after tigers, Asiatic lions, leopards, snow leopards, sloth bears or elephants, March continues to be an excellent time to go on a wildlife safari in the jungles of India and Sri Lanka.
Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colours, is one of the most popular and vibrant festivals in India and certainly a great time to be in the country. One of our favourite regions to see this is rural Rajasthan, where you could immerse yourself in authentic local festivities at a beautifully restored palace or heritage mansion.
Like February, March continues to be an excellent time for game viewing in India – from tigers in Rajasthan and Central India, to snow leopards in Ladakh, to Asiatic lions in Gujarat, and one-horned rhinos in Eastern India.
March continues to be an excellent time for hiking and trekking in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas in regions like Kumaon and Sikkim.
From Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur’s rich cultural heritage, to the quaint countryside hidden amidst Himalaya’s towering peaks, to the pristine jungles covering the Terai region, Nepal is full of extraordinary experiences. March is the beginning of the popular tourist season and is particularly good for seeing the vibrant blooms of the rhododendrons.
March is a fantastic time to visit Bhutan. The lush countryside is covered in beautiful flowers and Paro Tshechu – one of Bhutan’s biggest annual festivals takes place towards the end of the month with traditional masked dances. For longer treks including camping at higher elevation, overnight temperatures can still be quite cold.
Glorious weather continues across south and central regions of the country including popular regions of the Cultural Triangle, Tea Country, and the areas along the south and southwest coast. You might still be able to spot blue and sperm whales off the south coast. For an extraordinary wilderness experience, consider visiting Gal Oya National Park.
Like February, you can still enjoy drift ice and birdwatching in Japan’s northern most island of Hokkaido, especially in the first half of March. If you are more inclined towards Japan’s rich cultural heritage, late March is the start of one of the most popular times to visit the main island of Honshu, which is home to world-renowned temples and shrines of Kyoto and Tokyo, stunning ryokans, traditional gardens, avantgarde art islands, and pristine natural landscapes.
Although the temperatures begin to rise in the central plains including Bagan and Mandalay, March is still an excellent time to enjoy all regions across the country with very pleasant conditions in the hills. It is still possible to cruise on the Irrawaddy and the coastal areas in the west and south of the country offer amazing opportunities for land and water-based experiences including world-class diving and snorkeling in the remote Mergui Archipelago.
Dry season continues across Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and like February, March is an excellent time to plan a trip covering all the three countries. Overnight temperatures in northern Laos and Vietnam become more comfortable, making March an excellent time for a walking or hiking trip. Of the three countries, Vietnam has the most complex weather pattern with three distinct regional variations, and March is perhaps the only time of the year when the whole country enjoys dry and sunny conditions.
March is still an excellent time to visit Thailand with dry and warm conditions across the country. The mango season starts towards the end of March, which is an amazing time for foodies!