Many locals told us we were crazy about India in May. Although the month of May still attracts over 600,000 foreign tourists, it is considered the low season for travel to India, mainly due to the intense heat that can prevail across the country. In this article we will share our experience of traveling to India in May and list the pros and cons of visiting India during the summer months.
Is May a Good Time to Travel to India?May is considered to be the off-season for tourists in India and also one of the hottest months of the year. If you are prepared for the heat of an Indian summer and know the best places to visit, May can be a great time to visit India. In May you will experience low tourist numbers and huge discounts on travel and accommodation.
If you are considering traveling to India in May, there are a few things you need to be prepared for. We spent the months of April and May in two of India's hottest spots, Jaisalmer and Chennai, so we experienced the full force of an Indian summer. We want to give you some truthful insights into traveling to India during the summer months, including the pros and cons, travel tips and the best places to visit.
You can also watch our travel vlog in Chennai in May.
The pros and cons of traveling to India in May
May is not the busiest time to travel to India, in fact it is the quietest month of the year for foreign tourists arriving in India. There are definitely pros and cons to touring India during the summer months, below is our honest list of pros and cons based on first hand experience.
Pros of Traveling to India in May
For many of us travelers, hordes of noisy and obnoxious tourists are not our idea of an authentic India experience. We like to get off the beaten path to experience the true authentic side of the country without the crowds. One of the biggest draws to traveling to India in May is that you'll experience the country's lowest tourist numbers. This means that even the country's most famous tourist destinations are not overcrowded and you can enjoy them uncrowded!
If you travel in the summer months of April and May, you can enjoy massive discounts on accommodation and tours. This is particularly appealing to budget travelers… you can enjoy luxury at a fraction of the cost. You can usually find hotels that offer 40-80% discounts during this period. However, you may not find such impressive discounts if you are planning to travel to an Indian Hill station, as these locations are often very popular in the summer.
As budget travelers travel during the off-season, we were able to upgrade and get a luxurious air-conditioned room with a beautiful outdoor pool for only $10 a night. We use online booking sites to find the best low season discounts. You can check the discounted prices for accommodation in India in May here
You can escape the heat
Traveling in May doesn't have to mean scorching heat! India is a huge country with many very different climate zones. Luckily, this means there are significantly cooler places to visit during the summer months. So if you hesitate in 40°C heat, there are always amazing destinations in India where you can find a much more comfortable climate in the heart of an Indian summer. We list the top destinations for May further down in this post.
The great thing about traveling to India in May is that you will have a high chance of clear, sunny skies. Clear skies are great for sightseeing, especially in the hill stations where you'll be treated to epic views of the mountain ranges. Your chance of rain is also much lower in the months of April and May. Other seasons like winter and monsoon can cause poor visibility and dreary gray days due to fog and cloud cover.
May is a great time to enjoy India's seasonal summer fruits. Juicy mangoes, sweet melons and fresh papaya are only available in the summer months.
Disadvantages of traveling to India in May
Ok, we are not kidding when we say that summer in India can be hot… very hot! Depending on the states you choose to visit in India, May can bring sweltering heat that rises well into the 40's.
This is the main reason why most tourists avoid visiting India in summer. But if you're prepared for the heat and use some of our helpful Indian summer surviving tips, you can have a blast exploring incredible India.
The heat means you'll sweat a lot. When we were in Chennai in May, we stayed with a local family without air conditioning. This meant we were sweating so much it was difficult even to get dry after a shower and we literally had to sleep with a towel underneath us! This is probably on the extreme end as Chennai is an extremely hot and humid city, but it was our true experience.
Less time to explore
Because of the heat you may be traveling in May, you'll have less energy to explore during the hottest parts of the day. You may need more relaxation moments to help your body deal with the heat, which then cuts into your time to sightsee and explore.
You can check our time in Jaisalmer during an Indian summer below:
How hot is it in India in May?
In general, the weather in May is hot and calm across India with minimal rainfall and winds and often clear blue skies. The temperature in May really depends on which state you are visiting. Below we have listed the main areas in India and what temperatures you can expect in May.
- Himalaya (Himachal, Uttarakhand Kashmir etc.)20℃ bis 32℃
- northeast of India22℃ bis 40℃
- Southwest India (Kerala, Goa etc.)30℃ bis 35℃
- Westindien (Mumbai, Gujarat usw.)30℃ bis 40℃
- Northern Plains (Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, etc.)38℃ bis 45℃
- Central India (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh)38℃ bis 45℃
- East India (Kolkata, Odisha)38℃ bis 45℃
- Southeast India (Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh)38℃ bis 45℃
- Rajasthan40℃ bis 46℃
For more details on the different seasons and times to visit by state, see ourArticle Best Time to Travel to India.
Tips for traveling to India in May
Locals thought we were crazy to travel through Rajasthan and Chennai (two of India's hottest places) in summer. But we survived to tell the story and actually had a blast, here are our tips for surviving an Indian Summer.
An air-conditioned space to retreat to during the hottest part of the day will help you get through Indian summer. The great fact is that even budget travelers should be able to afford an air-conditioned room in the summer as accommodation prices are heavily discounted in the off-season.
Plan your trips
It is wise to plan your morning and evening trips. So you can enjoy cooler temperatures while exploring. This is how the locals plan their days in summer. A great schedule is:
- 7-11 a.m– Explore/Visit
- 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m– Lunch in an air-conditioned restaurant
- 12.30pm-4pm– Retreat to your air-conditioned room to relax or visit an air-conditioned landmark or attraction
- 4pm-9pm- More exploration and adventure
This schedule has worked well for us and to be honest you will be surprised at how quickly you adjust to the heat. We found that the more we got used to the temperature, we stayed outside longer.
Eat ice apple (palm fruit)
This is a local fruit that is widely used in summer. Palm fruits have a sweet, fleshy center filled with cooling and hydrating juices. Many locals eat palm fruit to help their bodies deal with the blistering heat of an Indian summer.
Take an umbrella
You'll find that all the locals walk around with umbrellas in the summer to provide shade along the way. A simple yet effective way to deal with the summer rays!
Let Panipuri spoil you
Eat Panipuri to give you a cooling burst of flavor, freshness and energy. This is a classic street snack found across India. A small Crips waffle bowl filled with a mix of ice water, chutneys, spices and other goodies!
Go to the hills
There are many fascinating places to visit in India in May that do not experience such extreme heat waves. Below is our ultimate list of the best places to escape the heat during an Indian summer.
What is the best place to visit in India in May?
Kerala im Mai
Kerala, the tropical paradise of South India, has everything that makes an exciting travel destination. Gorgeous beaches, nature reserves, rolling tea fields, cascading waterfalls and peaceful backwaters are just a few of the highlights of this beautiful state. The great thing about Kerala is that summer temperatures are much milder than other parts of India, making it a perfect May travel destination.
Laughter in May
Tawang is an unexplored corner of the world. A stunning Himalayan city in northeastern India, known for its unique Tibetan culture, ancient monasteries and breathtaking views of the Himalayas. Tawang's summer months are warm but not muggy, making it a great place to escape the heat during the Indian summer.
Uttarakhand im Mai
Uttarakhand is an undiscovered Himalayan gem of India. Rivaling the beauty of the better visited Himachal Pradesh, this state in northern India offers some of the most incredible mountain scenery and picturesque village life in the world. Uttarakhand is a beautiful and peaceful Indian state that we think is homeBest Homestay in India.
Himachal Pradesh im Mai
Himachal Pradesh is a vast and sprawling Himalayan state in northwestern India. This incredible part of the world is home to some popular hill stations such as Shimla, Manali and Kasol, where people often travel to during the summer to escape the scorching heat. A great place for hiking, Himachal is home to the incredibleKheerganga trek& one of the most remote and conspicuous places on earth,Spiti-Tal.
Sikkim im Mai
Sikkim is a northern state bordering Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Said to be one of the cleanest states in India and home to India's highest mountain, Kangchenjunga. As well as incredible mountainous landscapes, Sikkim is also home to a thriving tea industry and strong Buddhist culture, making it a fascinating region of India to travel to.
Is May a Good Time to Visit the Taj Mahal?You will have clear skies and fewer crowds in May making it a great time to visit the Taj Mahal. However, the heat can make your trip to the Taj Mahal in May uncomfortable. Visiting the Taj Mahal at sunrise allows you to enjoy cooler temperatures and beautifully colored skies.
Is Goa good to visit in May?Temperatures in Goa peak around 35℃ in May so expect hot and humid conditions. May is just before the start of the June monsoon season, so you can enjoy clear skies and calm but hot days. Low season means May is a great time to get great discounts on accommodation in Goa.
We hope this travel guide to India in May has been helpful!
Cheers, local travelers
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