November is a wonderful time to visit Asia. With schools back in session, prices and crowds are lower, and the fall temperatures are still warm without the sweltering heat of summer. But where is the best place to travel?
These are the results from our survey where we asked our visitors for the top 3 best Asian winter sun destinations in November.
The best Asian winter sun destination in November is Phuket, Thailand. The island features beautiful white beaches, and many temples and shrines. In addition, Rajasthan, India, and Tokyo, Japan host many events in November.
Let’s talk more about what to do in November in Phuket, Rajasthan, and Tokyo.
Phuket is a beautiful island in the south of Thailand. Although the island is only 7.5 square miles (12 square km), it has mountains, a jungle, and beaches. Phuket is unique because its culture has been influenced by the large number of Chinese immigrants who live there.
November is the best time to be in Thailand. Temperatures are lowest near the end of the year, between 73° and 86°F (23° and 30°C). When you are packing for the warm weather, make sure to include a long-sleeve and pants option, which is required to enter some of the temples.
There is so much to see and do in Phuket. You can spend several months on the island and find something new to do every day.
There are many different elephant sanctuaries in Phuket, including the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. These sanctuaries have many different tours available, from a few hours to a full day. Getting an up-close encounter with the elephants is a really special experience.
The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is the preferred sanctuary for most guests, as it features rescued elephants and focuses on the ethical treatment of animals. Sanctuaries that offer elephant rides or trick shows have been criticized by animal rights organizations for being unhealthy for the elephants.
Thailand is a Buddhist country, which is nowhere more obvious than the Big Buddha statue. At 148 feet (45 meters) tall, standing next to the statue is an amazing experience. This is a popular attraction, so visiting on a weekday may help you avoid the crowds.
There are also many Buddhist temples and Chinese shrines. Although you do not need to dress formally, these temples and shrines require modest clothing and often will ask you to remove your shoes at the entrance. Keep this in mind when you are packing your bags!
The best shrines and temples in Phuket include:
- Bang Niew Shrine
- Jui Tui Shrine
- Kathu Shrine
- Pud Jor Shrine
- Sang Tham Shrine
- Wat Chalong Temple
- Wat Phra Thong Temple
- Wat Phranang Sang Temple
Some of the best attractions and things to do in Phuket include:
- Carnival Magic Park is a large park that opens in the evenings. The main event is the river carnival parade show, but there is also dining, shopping, and an amazing light display.
- Stop by the Kathu Mining Museum to learn about Thailand’s mining history.
- Ko Rang Yai is a small island off the coast of Phuket. You can experience a working pearl farm, and take a look at the wide variety of pearls for sale.
- Old Town is the historic downtown area of Phuket. There are lots of shops and entertainment, but the architecture alone is a great reason to plan a visit.
- The Phuket Orchid Garden And Thai Village is a great place to experience a wide variety of Thai customs. From sword-fighting and boxing to dancing and elephant shows, The Orchid Garden celebrates Thailand’s past and present.
- The Phuket Sea Shell Museum is home to a collection of rare shells and pearls, some from the waters around Phuket.
- The Phuket Thai Hua Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the many Chinese immigrants in Phuket.
- The Upside Down House is a unique attraction. The entire house, including the interior, is upside down. Friends and family love to see the funny photos you take here!
While there are plenty of fun things to do in Phuket, the real beauty can be found at the beaches. The beaches in Phuket are absolutely breathtaking, with crystal-clear water and beautiful white sand.
There are many beaches in Phuket, but on more crowded days you might want to stick to the north side of the island, which tends to be less populous. Although beaches in national parks may have a small entrance fee, most are free.
You still may want to bring a little money with you, though. Every beach has chairs, umbrellas, and snorkeling gear available to rent. Locals also sell food and other handmade items on the street or walking along the shore. If eating fresh coconut on a beautiful beach is on your bucket list, Thailand is the place to be!
Similar to other Asian food, traditional Thai cuisine features a lot of rice, noodles, and vegetables. Thai food can be spicy, so make sure to ask if you want a milder dish.
Phuket borders Malaysia, so its food uses coconut and turmeric, which are common in Malaysian cuisine.
If you want to eat like a local, make sure to check out the local street vendors and markets.
There are many Chinese restaurants, but you can also find other cuisine like Italian. Resort restaurants often have a wide selection of American and European comfort food. Even if you are not staying at a resort, you can stop by for a meal.
There are many different resorts in Phuket. Staying at a resort puts you within reach of everything you need. With pools, private beaches, fitness centers, high tea, and restaurants, some people stay on the resort property their entire trip. However, longer stays can be costly.
Apartment rentals are also available at a reasonable price for more extended stays or travelers who want a more authentic experience.
In Northwest India, Rajasthan is home to the Thar desert. Its rich history as home to Rajputs gave it its name, which means ‘Land of the Kings.’ This wealth can be seen in dozens of palaces in the state.
November is one of the best times to visit Rajasthan. The average temperature is 55-85°F (12.78-29.44°C), with very little rainfall.
There are also many different events held in November, including:
- People flock to Rajasthan every November for the Pushkar Camel Fair. The nine-day festival is packed with a variety of events including cultural performances, hot air balloon rides, and a craft bazaar. However, the camels are the real stars of the show. Fun competitions like ‘longest mustache’ win over even the most serious guests.
- The Matsya Festival is a celebration of the state’s culture. Parades, performances, and sports games. The national sport, cricket, is played during the festival.
- The Bundi Festival is a spiritual celebration that culminates in the lighting of lamps for blessings. The colorful celebration features art, music, dance, and many different competitions.
- The Chandrabhaga Fair is a fall celebration on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River. Many Indians make the pilgrimage to this festival in order to enter the river as part of a purification ritual. This multi-day event is a great way to understand and experience the culture and religion of the area.
- The Kolayat Fair is also centered around sacred Indian water. The fair is held at Kolayat Lake, which locals believe has the power to forgive sins. The religious gathering has participants float candles on the lake, which is a beautiful sight.
November is also a great time to visit the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Temperatures range from 50 to 60°F (10 to 15.5°C), and you are just in time to watch the leaves begin changing color.
Japan is primarily a Shinto and Buddhist nation, so it is unsurprising that shrines and temples can be found around every corner. In addition to beautiful, bright architecture, the temples give you insight into the culture and beliefs of the country.
There are several events held every November in Tokyo, including:
- The Tokyo Festival is held every year from September through December. It is an international showcase for performing arts.
- At the beginning of the month, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden holds a Chrysanthemum Exhibition. There are many beautiful displays featuring the flower.
- The Dream Yosacoy Festival features dance groups from around the world. The festival has multiple locations and features both amateur and professional dance troops.
- The Kokobunji Festival is similar to an American fair. There are performances, parades, all sorts of booths, and music.
- Tori-no-ichi Fairs are spiritual celebrations held at various temples and shrines on sacred dates on the lunar calendar. People come to the event to make wishes for luck.
While popular Japanese dishes like sushi, soba, and ramen are staples of Tokyo cuisine, you can find all types of food in the city. Tokyo has as many Michelin Star restaurants as the entire United States, but they also have local family-run eateries. Dinner and a show is also a popular attraction in the city, with performances from dance to plays. Drinks like sake and matcha tea are traditional, and no other country makes them quite like Japan.
How this Top 3 list was made
The top 3 list was derived from a survey where we asked about their top destination for a particular month and region. From these results, we made each month a top 3 for North America, the Caribbean, Middle/South America, Europe, and Asia (including the Middle East). Sometimes, we have combined several individual destinations from a single country into the country itself.