May is a transitional month across much of the globe, with spring giving way to summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This hot — but not searing — weather is good for outdoor activities and exploring cities, whether you’re in Europe or South Asia. It’s stickier in parts of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, but the skies are cloudless and blue.
May at a glance
|Destination||Max. temp.||Sunshine hours||Average flight time|
|India||Max. temp.||89 °F||Sunshine hours||11 hours||Average flight time||15½ hours (Washington DC to New Delhi)|
|Spain||Max. temp.||71 °F||Sunshine hours||6 hours||Average flight time||7 hours 40 upwards dependent on airline (New York to Madrid)|
|Turkey||Max. temp.||85 °F||Sunshine hours||11 hours||Average flight time||9 hours 50 (New York to Istanbul)|
|Bhutan||Max. temp.||76 °F||Sunshine hours||5 hours||Average flight time||16 hours (Washington DC to Thimphu)|
|Thailand||Max. temp.||93 °F||Sunshine hours||7 hours||Average flight time||23 hours (New York to Bangkok)|
Despite the humidity, May’s heat causes vegetation and smaller waterholes to dry up across the Indian Subcontinent. That means it’s much easier to spot wildlife as animals congregate at the larger, more reliable water sources. To spot elusive tigers, you might visit Pench or take a game drive through Ranthambhore.
Type of heat in India in May: Expect sticky, thick humidity with soaring temperatures of a maximum 106°F.
Average temperature in India in May: 88°F depending on region
Average hours of daily sunshine in India in May: 11 hours
Average flight time to India: 13½ hours or 15½ hours (New York to New Delhi, or Washington DC to Delhi)
Spring means warming weather, blue skies, and blooming flowers across Spain, making it an excellent time to hike in the countryside. For example, you might take a guided hike through Alpujarras in Andalusia to see the rolling hills, scrubby oak trees, and Moorish architecture.
Type of heat in Spain in May: Comfortably warm and dry, with ample sunshine and maximum temperatures of 77°F.
Average temperature in Spain in May: 73°F depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Spain in May: 9 hours
Average flight time to Spain: 7 hours 40 upwards dependent on airline (New York to Madrid)
Warm days, comfortable nights, and parks where the flowers are in full bloom make this a great time to visit Turkey. The weather is comfortable for exploring Istanbul, visiting the Göreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, or touring the country’s many ancient sites, like Ephesus.
Type of heat in Turkey in May: Days are comfortably warm and mostly sunny, with maximum temperatures of 77°F, and slightly cooler nights.
Average temperature in Turkey in May: 72°F depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Turkey in May: 11 hours
Average flight time to Turkey: 9 hours 50 (New York to Istanbul)
Temperatures and humidity both rise in Bhutan in May, but the weather is very comfortable and the rhododendrons are usually still in full flower. For guided, multi-day treks, you can visit Bumthang, a remote, entirely undeveloped quartet of valleys dotted with ancient temples and sacred sites.
Type of heat in Bhutan in May: Days are warm, with some humidity and the occasional shower, and you’ll find cloud cover over the mountains. Maximum temperatures can reach 75°F.
Average temperature in Bhutan in May: 70°F depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Bhutan in May: 13 hours
Average flight time to Bhutan: 16 hours (Washington DC to Thimphu)
May is hot and sunny in Thailand, with rare rain showers. For guaranteed sunshine, consider the east coast where you can visit islands like Koh Samui. If you’d like to enliven your time on the beach, you might take a boat tour of Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Type of heat in Thailand in May: Hot and humid, but not too sticky, with maximum temperatures of 93°F.
Average temperature in Thailand in May: 91°F depending on region
Average daily hours of sunshine in Thailand in May: 7 hours
Average flight time to Thailand: 23 hours (New York to Bangkok)