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Big Basin is California’s oldest State Park established in 1902. Created to preserve these extraordinary ancient coast redwoods.

It’s a popular State Park close to San Francisco, but less busy than Muir Woods. Somehow crowded at weekends and popular for camping under the astonishing trees. It’s a park you should not miss. During winter it gets wet and trails are slippery and muddy. Nevertheless, hikes can be done all year but ask for trail conditions first.

Weather

The wet season starts in November and lasts until February with most precipitation in January. It receives three times the rainfall of the Bay Area. This rain is much needed by the redwoods after the dry summer. The average night temp is around 41°F / 5°C and day temp under 60°F / 15°C.

Summer from June to September is mostly dry with dense summer fog in the morning. The mist provides the trees with moisture. Nights temps are much cooler than in the Bay Area with around 49°F / 9°C and day temps about 74°F / 23°C. Anyhow, in the hot summer months, it can reach up to 86°F /30°C and more.

Where to Stay

You can either camp for $ 35-50 which includes the State Park fee of $ 10 under the ancient redwood trees or choose the charming The Inn at Saratoga ideally situated. Included is a cold buffet breakfast. 

Forest
US United States
5

Bedruthan also called Carnewas at Bedruthan is a popular destination for more than a hundred years now.  The tale is that the name Bedruthan Steps comes from the huge rocks along the beach which we

Despite the weather, it‘s a breathtaking beach where you walk between huge rock stacks for almost two kilometers at low tide. At high tide, the sea covers the entire beach up to the steps. The tidal range can be up to 7 meters during the big spring tides. The tides are coming in pretty fast. You need to enter a gate to get to the 120 steps down to the beach.

120 steps down to Bedruthan Beach

From November to February the gate is closed due to severe weather and surf and also during periods of bad weather. This spectacular beach is best visited up to two hours before low tide to maximise your time here. Plan at least 3-4 hours for a visit. Tide Times Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps in Fog

Crowds

Often only the main car park is open. At low tide and around midday cars are queuing for space. If you arrive one or two hours before low tide, you increase your chance for a parking lot. The Café is popular for jacket potatoes, cream tea, and homemade scones; the reason that it gets busy at midday especially at weekends.

Weather

The coast experiences a mild climate throughout the year. The average temps in the summer are around 20°C, but 30°C are possible in July and August. Autumn is slightly colder on average 13°C to 18°C. The spring temps are around 11°C to 15°C. Due to drizzle, fog, and wind which occurs throughout the year, it may feel pretty chilly. Usually, the driest months are April, May, and August. The water temp is quite cold even in the summer maximum of 17°C.

Tip

Stay nearby in Padstow for a couple of days to visit Bedruthan, Tintagel Castle, Lanhydrock House. Bodmin Moor to mention a view of the many highlights.

Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor

Our favorite hike is the coastal path from Carnewas at Bedruthan to Padstow. The rugged scenery is just mind-blowing. We highly recommend staying in the luxury Padstow Townhouse B&B. The only issue you may have afterward is that you don't want to leave this awesome house and this high-level service. Another option for low budget travelers is the Hostel YHA Treyarnon Bay north of Bedruthan Steps.

Beach
GB United Kingdom
5

The circular Cobler Rocks trail is 6 km long and usually takes 2 hours. The trail starts just outside at campground Stumpy No 4, and the trailhead is well marked.

This hike can be done the entire year. Anyhow, it's more fun on a sunny day to enjoy the picturesque fiery granite rocks on white sandy beaches and a blue sea. Best time for a perfect shot with these mesmerizing rocks is after midday. In addition, more rocks are visible and accessible at low tide. Due to the remote location and the gravel road at the southern end of the park we didn't meet any person. Tide times Bay of Fires

Cobler Rocks Trail and Bay of Fires; fiery granite rocks on white beach

Climate

From November to March pleasant temperatures mostly above 20°C. In the winter, most days with single-digit temperatures. Most precipitation during winter, although the highest amount of rain occurs in November. The driest months are January to March. Anyhow, the eastern part of Tasmania experiences less rain. The wind can be pretty chilly even in the summer. 

Crowds

Due to the remote location and basic facilities at the campgrounds, it’s only crowded during Australian school holidays. We camped here in November 2016, and there was just one more tent.

Beach
AU Australia
5

There two options for access, we took the trip to Punta Allen with a ride along the coast, where you have beaches and lagoons.

The dry season in the Yucatan runs from November until April. Since Sian Ka'an is only reachable by quite a rough road it is not advised to visit in the wet season, especially if you DIY.

Ocean Life
MX Mexico
5

Cheow Lan Lake is man-made and surrounded by mountains and rainforest. It was made by the flooding of a large valley in 1982 for the hydro-electric power station.

The best time for a visit to this beautiful region is the dry season from December to late April. It’s Thailand’s wettest region with an annual rainfall of 3.500 mm. The reason is the limestone mountain range from north to south. It gets hit by the monsoons from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand between late April and end of November. In the rainy season, it’s very rare to spot wildlife at the lake. Trails are slippery; it’s cold and wet on the one or two hours boat rides. The famous Nam Talu Cave is closed in the rainy season since it got flooded and people died.

Boat transfer on the Cheow Lan Lake in the Khao Sok National Park

The boat tours which are usually offered are for bigger groups, and it takes around an hour to get to one of the raft houses. These groups visit the easy accessible Coral Cave (Pakarang Cave) mostly as we did instead of the adventurous water flooded Nam Talu Cave. Ask before booking! Overall these trips are nice to get an idea of the immense size of the lake. The price p.p. in a group for one day visit is roughly 1.500 Baht / 40 € / $ 45 plus 300 Baht / 8 € / 9 $ National Park fee.

Weather

The dry season lasts from December to late April. Anyway, showers can also occur in the dry season and especially in the rainforest. The hottest months are March and April with temps up to 34°C and even more and high humidity. The rainy season starts roughly late April until the end of November. Most precipitation from May to July and from October to November.

Beautiful limestone karst formations on the Cheow Lan Lake

Crowds

The lake pier is always crowded but as soon as the longtail boat leaves the dock the crowds disappear. There are plenty of boats with tourists, but they have good timing not too many people visit one of the caves at the same time. Lunch is served on one of the many floating raft houses. It was very well organized that people can enjoy the marvelous scenery. 

Top Tip

To experience the amazing rainforest, wildlife, and birds it's recommended to book a private tour far to the north-west. To get there, it takes minimum two hours by boat. The only available accommodation is basic and running by the National Park. Early morning you may spot wildlife by boat along the lake. Of course, independent tours are expensive and need to be booked in advance.

A Great Place
TH Thailand
5

The Khao Sok National Park was established in 1980 to protect one of the oldest rainforests in the world and covers an area of 739 km2.

It’s Thailand’s wettest region with an annual rainfall of 3.500 mm. The reason is the limestone mountain range from north to south. It gets hit by the monsoons from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand between late April and end of November. Therefore, the driest months are December to April and the most popular ones.

Weather

The dry season last from December to late April. Anyway, showers can also occur in the dry season and especially in the rainforest. The hottest months with high humidity are March and April with temps around 34°C. The rainy season starts late April and lasts until the end of November. Most precipitation from May to July and from October to November. 

Swimming in the Khao Sok National Park
Take a refreshing bath

Avoiding Crowds

It's pretty busy around the visitor center, and it takes some time to purchase the entrance ticket for 300 Baht / roughly 8 € / 9 $. The ticket is valid for 24 hours. As soon as you start hiking deep into the jungle the crowds thin out. At the beginning of the Ton Gloy Waterfall Trail, it's pretty crowded, but also along this popular hike, fewer people are along the trail after around an hour hiking.

Bird in the Khao Sok National Park

Seasons in the Khao Sok Rainforest
  • To experience the vivid rainforest May is the best month.
  •  For birding, the monsoon season is the best time when they spread out and the very best month is May when the mating season starts. The dry season is not recommended for birding.
  • For hiking, the dry season might be the best time. The trails are slippery after heavy rainfall and some parts are closed during the rainy season.
  • Rafflesia Kerrii is in bloom between January and March for about 5 days only. Very difficult to predict.
  • More mosquitos during the rainy season and leeches are on the forest floor at least until November.
Forest
TH Thailand