If you want to travel to Thailand, the exotic land where you can find amazing things, a lot different from what you may consider familiar, there are some things you have to keep in mind beforehand. It’s better to plan your trip in advance, considering the next tips, so that you will not have to face unpleasant surprises. It’s really important to know why you want to visit Thailand. This way, it will be easier for you to plan your trip and to choose the best time to travel to Thailand for yourself.
Generally speaking, there are three main seasons in Thailand. But don’t be fooled by this general statement, because Thailand is situated in the Indochinese peninsula that consists of many areas and these areas are differently influenced by the weather during each month.
Therefore, you have to keep I mind that in the south there is a tropical climate, while in the north, there is a tropical savanna climate. So, those three main seasons apply only to the northern, northeastern and central areas of Thailand.
The best time to travel to Thailand is between November and February when there’s the cool season; nevertheless, the temperatures can still reach 30°C during the day. Knowing this, it’s really important to make your reservations in advance since most tourists prefer to visit Thailand during this time. Also, during the cool season, the average temperature is between 26 and 29°C, but in the hills, it can also drop as low as 5°C.
Then, between March and May comes the hot season and as the name states, it reaches the highest temperatures, with April being the hottest month.
The rainy season, between May and October, has an average temperature of 29°C; the daily showers can last between 3 or 4 hours. It’s not so great visiting during this time because of the floods and the slow traffic.
Next, considering the Southern Thai Peninsula, it is best characterised by the short rainfalls throughout the year and the daily downpours during the rainy season. But the islands’ weather is distinct from one coast to the other, alternating peak seasons: for example, Phuket is best visiting between November and April, while Ko Samui is recommendable between February and October.
Trying to figure out the best time to visit Thailand is easier done when considering each month of the year and the situation of the weather in every part of the country.
is a proper time to visit Thailand, especially if you want to relax on the beaches situated on the west coast. Actually, both the Gulf and Andaman coasts are free of rain and temperatures are perfect for beach days, staying between 20-30°C. In the North, the temperatures are cooler and therefore, more comfortable for tourists, compared to the hot season. Usually, this is the time when the high season starts in the entire country.
Some activities worth doing during this time would be trekking in the Golden Triangle region or even cycling around the Chiang May countryside.
Nevertheless, for cooler evenings, remember to pack a sweater. Keep in mind that if the Chinese New Year falls during January, many destinations will be full, so you really need to plan in advance. Also, even during the driest months of the year, you have to know that showers can still be present during the day.
Here are some tips about the areas you can visit during January:
The Southeast and Southwest Thailand both have temperatures in the middle 20s. Practically, all the islands are good visiting during this time, but if you prefer less crowded islands, you can choose between Ko Kut, Ko Muk or Ko Phra Thong.
Among the most popular destinations at this time would be Ko Lipe, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Tao and Ko Samet. It also seems that although the west coast is drier, the east coast beaches can show some short rainfalls.
A good idea would be to visit the Khao Sok National Park. Considering the Central and Eastern Thailand, the temperatures ate relatively cool, although in the East it may rain a little more; the Northeast Thailand has the same characteristics as the Central part, while the temperatures in Northern Thailand are between the low teens to the high twenties.
the weather keeps its suitable conditions presented in January, but it’s worth knowing that there are fewer tourists during this time. Due to this fact, room rates from popular islands tend to lower their prices; however, keep in mind that the Chinese New Year, if in February, can still gather Chinese travellers in the same destinations. This month is perfect for outdoor activities, especially in northern Thailand, which is cool and dry, although the chance of rain will increase slightly; the more you move to the south, the warmer it is, with little chance of rain.
The islands on the west coast have good underwater visibility and the seas are calm everywhere. Considering the islands, the most popular would be Ko Kradan, Ko Lanta, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao, Ko Chang or Ko Maak. The beach weather is excellent both in the south-east and south-west Thailand, with a lot of sunshine, temperatures between the middle 20s and low 30s. Although Eastern Thailand becomes a little rainier, eastern islands are still worth visiting.
Considering Central Thailand and Bangkok, the temperatures rise slightly, while the North is in transition to the hot season. However, still pack your blankets if you go trekking because although days are warmer, the nights are still cooler. The Northeast is also perfect to visit, with the same weather as in Central Thailand and it’s good to know that the heat is not unpleasant yet, as it will be in the following hot season.
The first month of spring in Thailand awaits visitors with sun-kissed beaches and temperatures into the middle 30s. In Central Thailand and Bangkok the best advice is to not make long visits – because of the high temperatures, the sightseeing becomes difficult. This is the start of the hottest period in Thailand, which means that beaches are more suitable, due to the refreshing seas. West coast beaches are warmer than the east coast ones, with a little bit more rain. Also, the less crowded islands make for a good island holiday in Thailand during March.
You should know that in March and April, the slash and burn farming means that fires start across the country, especially in the northern and northeastern parts, which can have a bad effect on sightseeing, since a thick haze covers the hills. Therefore, Northern destinations like Chiang Mai, Mae Hong So or Nan, should be avoided and you should better look for mountainous areas. Generally, March is better for islands and coastal areas, like Krabi, Surat Thani or Phang Nga.
Central Thailand, even if a bit cooler than Northern Thailand (the middle 30s), with temperatures middle 20s to middle 30s, is still pretty hot and you should book rooms with an air-conditioner. On the Eastern side, the weather is different, with showers every 3 or 4 days.
The main attraction during April
is the celebration of the Thai New Year or Songkran, but keep in mind that this means you have to book your trip in advance. Temperatures are already hotter, reaching the high 30s. The Thai New Year starts on April 13 and lasts 3 days and it consists of a lot of water fights on the streets. Although a good custom for the high temperatures, you should keep your valuables in Ziploc bags, because it will be no possibility of staying dry, especially since foreigners are a preferred target for thai people!
The most beautiful parts to take part in this celebration are Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai and certain parts of Bangkok. As in March, it’s also suitable to visit the islands and coastlines for refreshing activities, and also remember that the ‘slash and burn’ farming contributes to the high temperatures. Therefore, it’s better to avoid Northern destinations or those like Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai and Nakhon Ratchasima, where temperatures can reach 40°C.
It seems that April is a very unpleasant month to visit central Thailand, as well as the Northeast, which seems to be even hotter than the Northern part. Nevertheless, book rooms with an air conditioner or go to Eastern Thailand for lower temperatures – Ko Chang, for example, is a better place in this area for you to escape the heat. Both Southwest and Southeast Thailand see more rain during April, but the beaches are still the best choice to visit Thailand now.
May follows the peak season with lower prices
which is great, especially combined with the drop in temperatures in the entire country. This is the month that marks the monsoon season and the rain falls start to be more frequent. Although it’s a welcome change in climate after the hot previous month, May is still somewhere in between the two seasons: some years it can be an extension of the hot season and others the beginning of the rainy one.
It’s good to know that Khao Sok National Park has high levels of humidity, along with the west coast beaches of Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi, which present high chance of rain. As opposed, the east coast beaches expect less rain and more sunshine. In some regions, like the Andaman Sea islands and eastern Gulf islands, seas start getting rough and ferries stop operating until November.
Although the humidity combined with the heat are unpleasant in Central Thailand, the frequent rainfalls help, despite flooding the big cities. In Northern Thailand, trekking is not very recommended because of the frequent showers. Eastern Thailand is also wetter. Therefore, May, even if still warmer, presents lots of rainy days, but there are parts that are still worth visiting: for example, farmers sow their fields in Northeastern areas, while the fruit festival takes place annually in eastern Gulf cities.
Despite what you might think,
June is still a good time to visit Thailand.
The daily showers, present in late afternoon or evening alternate with a lot of sunshine covering the country. Actually, the level of rainfall drops a little in June. Also, there are not so many tourists and touristic attractions have better offers.
Temperatures are still high, at around 30°C despite the daily rainfalls. In the cities, they are responsible for the floods and the traffic problems, while in the north and central regions it can also bring back the greenness in the hills and rural areas. Still, don’t plan a trekking in The Golden Triangle region, because it gets really muddy.
Considering the islands, if many of them start getting wetter, the driest ones are Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao. The beaches around Hua Hin and Cha-am are recommendable, unlike the Andaman Sea and eastern Gulf islands, which carry too many storms during this month. The south-west Thailand is less worth visiting than Southeast parts, although the hotels have better prices. As far as the Northern Thailand is concerned, the jungle will be influenced by the constant raining, while Eastern Thailand, although very rainy, is good to visit to avoid crowds and enjoy cheaper places.
It’s recommendable to visit the Northern hills, the Northeastern plateau and the Central to Upper plains, for amazing landscapes. In conclusion, the east coast beaches are also perfect to visit, with less rain than other areas.
July is characterised by the increased crowds
that appear at the end of the month when the European school holidays start, so it’s better to plan your trip at the beginning of the month. The weather is actually an extension of the previous month, most of the country being wet, but the temperatures generally drop a little. It’s a good idea to visit natural places, such as jungles, waterfall since wildlife and flora are enriching during this time.
There are also some festivals, like the Khao Phansa holiday, for Buddhist monastics, who retreat for a three-month period of meditation in mid-July. Since July still covers the rainy season, if you want to go to the beach or look for drier places, a good suggestion is the upper Gulf coast, along with the lower Gulf islands; also, go for the lower Gulf provinces, like Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Songkhla., for less rain. Very rainy parts would be Eastern Thailand and Andaman Sea islands, along with eastern gulf islands. The Southwest Thailand is also wet with rough seas, so it’s better to choose the Southeast Thailand – despite the rain, you’ll see a lot more sun.
Northern Thailand and Northeast are both hot and wet, with the northern part being characterised by streets flooding. Keep in mind that July is good for diving around Koh Tao and that trekking will be difficult around the north and the Golden Triangle region.
The monsoon climate is the most obvious during August,
with unstoppable rain especially in the north and northeast areas. The wet season is happening in the entire South-East Asia, so it’s better to go for Bali or Lombok if you want some beach holiday. West coast beaches, together with the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood experience heavy rains.
Therefore, you should try Hua Hin or Cha Am and the east coast beaches, for drier conditions. Umbrella and waterproof footwear are recommendable for rainy areas. Central Thailand shows warm temperatures, despite the increased rain and Bangkok can become easily flooded. Worst rainfalls still remain in Eastern Thailand. It’s recommendable to visit the east coast of the islands – for example, the east coast of Ko Tao, Ko Samui, Pha Ngan. The islands beyond the lower Gulf region are plenty of rain and, therefore, avoidable, but you can find good hotel prices.
The low season deals recommend September
as a good time to visit the National Parks in Thailand, although the beach areas are not a good idea. The lack of crowds makes it a good time to plan a trip to Thailand even during the wettest month. Temperatures decline slightly throughout the country, and the best islands to visit would be the ones in the southern Gulf of Thailand, like Ko Tao, Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Samui.
September is similar to August, with floods still happening in central areas and it’s good to know that rain backs off a little in some Northern and Northeastern destinations. A good idea would be to plan your trip in Eastern Thailand, since the rain backs of consistently, compared to previous months. Another tip would be to organise your longer trip to spend some part of September on the Gulf Coast and the beginning of October on the Andaman Coast since the weather will improve the following month. For surfer lovers, you can try to catch some waves on Phuket.
October is the month to avoid the wet islands
from the Southern Thailand and to visit Central, North and Northeast regions. Since the weather conditions improve over time, a good idea is to start your trip from the North areas and to head South. Rains and humidity start decreasing, together with the temperatures and therefore, October becomes a good time to visit Thailand, especially in Northern destinations like Chiang Mai, Pai, Phrae and Mae Salong or the Northeastern ones, like Chiang Khan or Khong Chiam. Concerning the islands, the only recommendable parts would be the Andaman side when reaches the end of its rainy season, only if you are lucky.
Since the sunshine returns in November,
marking the end of the wet season across most of Thailand, it’s the perfect month to plan a trip to the beach. The beginning of the month is more suitable for a trip since the crowds of tourists start to come later or in December! Also, Loy Krathong is one of the most romantic festivals of Thailand, with handmade vessels launched down the rivers and lanterns reaching the sky after dark, as a symbol for releasing sins – Sukhothai and Chiang Mai are the most suitable destinations if you want to take part in this traditional custom!
November is a cool month in Thailand, with rainstorms still happening in Central areas or the Andaman coast, but the Northeastern parts, like Surin or Chaiyaphum, are a good idea to visit.
Considering the islands, take advance of affordable rooms and ferry routes, especially in Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Phuket, Ko Lipe or eastern Gulf islands. Northern Thailand is good for trekking, with sunny days, but colder evenings, so make sure you can keep yourself warm at night.
When choosing between the Southeast and Southwest Thailand, the last is better, with less rain.
As with January, a trip to Thailand in December should be planned in advance, since the west coast beaches are overcrowded, considering the Christmas rush.
A good tip would be to actually avoid Christmas days or New Year
because of the high season surcharges.
December is described by plenty of the sunshine, low humidity levels and the rain levels also drop a lot. Go to Central Thailand for sightseeing, since temperatures are between low 20s and low 30s, with blue skies. Bangkok is also perfect for visiting. Underwater visibility is great, so you can dive around Thailand, keeping in mind that all the islands are worth visiting.
Southwest Thailand is more desirable than the Southeast, which still sees some rain in December, but it’s still worth staying a while. Eastern and Northern Thailand are great for visiting, with plenty of sunshine, although if you plan on trekking in North areas, you should still take care of your body temperature, since days become cooler.
You have to consider that Thailand is always full of surprises and no matter how much we try to establish a certain pattern, you can always find sunny days during the rainy season or rainy ones during the peak season when most tourists come to join the exotic landscape and beaches. Therefore, you should take a risk and allow yourself to be surprised by what Thailand has to offer, no matter where you find yourself.
Nevertheless, if you prefer a ‘scientifically-proven’ best time to visit Thailand, without feeling disturbed by the crowds of tourists, it’s obvious that the cool season is the most enjoyable. If you feel a traveller more than a tourist, looking for adventure and more locals that can teach you valuable things instead of feeling overwhelmed by other tourists, you can risk and plan your trip throughout the entire year!
Cheapest time to travel to Thailand
When we talk about planning a trip abroad, budget planning is at the top of our priorities. If you want to spend less money on your journey and whilst in Thailand, you need to take a few things into consideration such as the
Thailand is generally a good place to visit on a budget as it offers a lot of
Although the weather in Thailand remains warm during the year you need to be aware of the dry season and the rainy season.
If you plan to enjoy the beaches at Phuket, plan your trip during the last months of the Summer when is cheapest. Ko Samui is cheaper to travel to, in October, November and December.
To travel to Bangkok, the month of May is cheaper. This is the hottest month in Thailand and it seems that the flight rates tend to go down quite a bit.
As a recommendation, plan your visit well in advance to benefit of lower prices, check travel comparison sites for the best flight and accommodation offers. It is possible if you are lucky enough to find your best deal on a last minute offer but this depends also on your flexibility to travel and your work/family commitments.