Five of the best destinations to visit in May
A transitional month taking you from spring to summer, May is one of our favourite times of year to escape somewhere new. If you want to escape insufferable heat and equally as unbearable crowds, we’re certain you’ll love this month, too.
Perfect for adventurers wanting to explore new land, ideal for those hoping for a luxurious getaway but not wanting to spend an extortionate amount, and great for those who want to dine al fresco and soak up the atmosphere, our five destinations to holiday in May will get everyone’s hearts in a flutter.
A land of varied landscapes, cool outdoor excursions and sensational views, we think Australia is enticing all year round. Despite it being autumn in May, much of Australia is still delightfully hot, giving you the perfect weather to explore barren desert, trek through dense rainforest, or climb mountains.
When it comes to where to go in the autumn, Cairns is one of our favourite spots. Nestled in the north of Queensland, the sea here always has a perfect temperature for swimming and diving, even in the area’s warmer version of ‘winter’. Venture along to the Great Barrier Reef and enjoy an incredible underwater adventure.
If you need just one reason to visit Australia at this time of year, let it be the impressive whale watching. Journey to Ningaloo Reef to see the spectacular whale sharks, celebrated with a three-day Whaleshark Festival which includes a great seaside cinema, talent shows and a fun run. Sydney is a fantastic spot from which to see the whales too – we’re certain the sight of Humpback and Southern Right whales breaching just outside the Sydney Harbour Bridge is something you won’t forget.
Rugged desert plains are made all the more bearable with May’s ever so slightly cooler winds. This makes it a great time to see the Pinnacles, a natural attraction with brilliant photo opportunities. You’ll be there in the off-peak season too, meaning you can see a few popular sights with far less crowds.
Malaysia in May is relatively mild compared to other stiflingly hot months, and even avoid the worst of the rains for a nice, dry experience. You won’t be fighting against the crowds either, instead only sharing the sugary sand beaches with gently swaying palm trees, and the rainforest with elusive, indigenous wildlife.
Culture-junkies who love to immerse themselves in different, unique cultures would do well to visit during Sabah Fest, an amazing week-long celebration of Sabahan culture. Get an insight into Malaysia’s heritage and folklore and watch one of the unforgettable musical performances, sample flavourful local cuisine, and explore the vibrant markets where craftsmen and artisans gather to show their craft.
With slightly cooler temperatures, this is a wonderful time to have an epic adventure through Borneo’s luscious rainforest. Our Borneo Jungle & Beach Tour will make all of your explorer dreams come true, including discovering orangutans in their natural habitat, enjoying a boat safari along the Kinabatangan River and more incredible wildlife viewing.
There are a couple of things to look out for. Although a slightly cooler month, the tropical rainforest climate will still be fairly hot and humid. Overall, though the beaches are mostly safe and peaceful, we’d recommend avoiding swimming near Langkawi, as the jellyfish come out in full force at this time.
In Bali, May is a shoulder season, offering cheaper accommodation, less humidity, fewer crowds and barely any rain…what could be better? Many flock here during the summer months, but we find this slightly cooler and dryer time is absolutely perfect for those adventurous souls who are itching to explore.
With jaw-dropping, crystal clear reefs lined by impossibly pristine sands, it’ll come as no surprise that Bali is one of our favourite destinations for scuba diving. May to September is by far the best time to plunge into the azure waters, with incredible visibility and a whole wealth of amazing marine life swimming to the island’s shores. If you’re hoping to check manta rays off your list, May is the best time to dive. Gili Selang is one of our favourite diving spots, offering unforgettable views of reef sharks and barracudas - though you’ll need to be experienced to dive here.
If the thought of exploring Indonesia makes your heart beat faster, you’ll love our Bali, Lombok & Gili Islands Multi Centre tour. Combining a seven night stay in vibrant Bali, a three night stay in secluded Gili Meno and a three night stay in colourful Lombok, this trip is brimming with culture and natural beauty.
There are many one-of-a-kind moments to be experienced in Bali, and the fewer crowds in May make for a more personalised and tranquil time. Travel to the Monkey Forest, discover magnificent temples, try your hand at white water rafting and dine in charming local restaurants, all without the usual throngs of people.
Travelling to Antigua in May is brilliant value for money. As one of the off-peak months, we have plenty of early booking offers for May that you’d be silly not to get your hands on. Sure, there’s a bit more rain at this time of year, but there’s nowhere near enough to dampen your holiday.
Claiming to have 365 beaches – one for each day of the year, even in May you’ll have ample opportunity to top up your tan and spend your days unwinding in the powdery white sands. One of our favourites is Valley Church Beach – the ocean here is a wonderful turquoise blue, which marries beautifully with the unspoiled sands and impressive backdrop of emerald green hills. The ocean is still warm at this time too, and you won’t have to share these beautiful beaches with masses of crowds.
Of course, one of the biggest lures of a sunny holiday is dining al fresco – there’s just something about tucking into lunch right by the water’s edge, or dining on gourmet cuisine under the stars. We love Sheer Rocks, a divine Mediterranean-style restaurant perched above Cocobay Resort offering a sample of the island’s most delicious fresh seafood. We know we said al fresco dining is the way forward, but we’d make the exception of going inside Papa Zouk. A rum shack nestled on the outskirts of the capital, this bucket list bar is brimming with incredible Caribbean rums.
This transitional month is perfect for those who wish to enjoy the Seychelles’ wonderful warmth, but don’t want to share it with a crowd. With the summer season yet to kick off, you’ll be able to indulge in a stunning and luxurious hotel at a cheaper price – the ideal treat for those who desire a week of luxury.
One of our favourite picks for May is Constance Ephélia, a beautiful resort bordered by two sugary sand beaches and home to a wonderful mangrove forest where we love to kayak. This gorgeous oasis is one of the largest resorts in the Seychelles, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Instead, it feels secluded and intimate, and it’s the perfect choice for families.
The Seychelles are usually characterised by their stunning natural beauty, especially the breath-taking turquoise sea. Incredibly crystal clear in May, the Indian Ocean is an astonishing underwater world, with turtles and tropical fish joining you as you snorkel and dive deep into the water. Our Denis & Mahe Beach Stay island-hopping tour offers two amazing destinations to snorkel, including Denis Island, a sensational island home to a rustic yet luxurious resort and lined by bright blue reefs, and Kempinski Seychelles Resort, a beautiful getaway nestled right by the phenomenal Baie Lazare Lagoon.
Holiday Ideas Travel Guides
- The most fabulous summer holidays for all ages
- The best destinations in the world for whale watching
- Fabulous holidays for 50-something couples
- The ultimate guide to eco travel
- Have an adventure on the river with these recommended experiences
- Fabulous holidays for 40-something couples
- Recommended travel bucket list ideas
- Five of the best destinations to visit in June
- Celebrate your 60th birthday with these recommended holiday experiences
- Celebrate retirement with these recommended holiday experiences
- Marry abroad with one of these recommended destination weddings
- Top 10 holiday destinations to experience in 2019
- Five of the world's best wine-tasting locations
- The world's top 10 scuba diving destinations
- Five of the best destinations to visit in May
- Five of the best destinations to visit in April
- Recommended touring holidays in Asia and South & Central America
- Five of the best destinations to visit in March
- Watch an incredible sunset at one of these recommended resorts
- Five of the best destinations to visit in February
- Five of the best destinations to visit in January
- Five of the best destinations to visit in December
- Recommended destinations for your family summer holiday abroad
- Five of the best destinations to visit this November
- Five of the best destinations to visit this October
- Five of the best destinations to visit this September
- Recommended destinations for your Christmas abroad
- Recommended holidays for solo travellers
- The most swoonworthy adults-only stays in paradise
- The ultimate guide for solo travellers
- The world’s most extraordinary wildlife holiday experiences
- Top 10 holidays for those special occasions
- Unique safari experiences with Sanctuary Retreats
- Recommended multi-generational holidays for your brood
- Top 10 most Insta-worthy cities in the world
- 16 of the world's most walkable cities
- Recommended destinations for your active honeymoon