Best Time to Visit Thailand: Useful Tips for Traveling in Each Season
Though climate varies throughout Thailand, the weather usually does not spoil the travel experience. The most popular time to visit is between November and February. The climate is quite different at beach destinations between western (Phuket/Krabi) and eastern (Koh Samui) coasts. That’s why it’s still a good idea to plan your Thailand trip well.
Northern Thailand experiences dry weather between November and May, especially hot between March and May (November to February is much cooler). Between May and November, however, northern Thailand has heavy rainfall, associated with the southwest monsoon season.
Southern Thailand receives more rainfall than the north and essentially has three seasons — dry, hot, and wet. These seasons, though, fall at different times on either side of the peninsula.
The Best Time to Visit Thailand
Thailand has three seasons of weather in a year: the hot season is from March to May, the rainy season is from June to October, and the cool season is from November to February.
The cool season (November to February) is the best time to visit Thailand because it has the most comfortable weather and you can enjoy the fantastic Thailand Lantern Festival.
Many travelers choose to visit Thailand in the rainy season (June to October) for a cost-effective trip. Although there is a lot of rainfall, it generally occurs after dusk, hardly affecting your journey during the day.
Four Quick Facts about Thailand Weather
- Most travelers choose to visit Thailand between November and February, resulting in higher prices for accommodation and flights.
- The hottest month is April, and the coldest December. The wettest month is September, with an average of 220mm of rainfall.
- Humidity levels are usually quite high, averaging 75%, but can even reach the 90% mark during the monsoon season (July to October).
- Traveling during the off-season is a lot quieter and more affordable.
November to February – cool and popular
Thailand’s peak travel season is during this period, when it is cool and comfortable to travel throughout the country. The northeast monsoon brings cool, refreshing winds that help keep temperatures down. Between December and February, there is little rain in most parts of the country.
Temperatures range from 18 to 32ºC (64 to 88ºF) in Bangkok, and other central and southern parts of Thailand. December is the coolest month of the year, when daily temperatures in northern Thailand can average 21ºC (70ºF), so do remember to bring some warmer clothes with you.
Top Destinations to Visit Between November and February
Krabi, Bangkok and the regions nearby (such as Ayutthaya/Kanchanaburi) are good for a visit all year round, but November to February is the best time to visit Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.
You can lie on beaches like Phuket, Krabi or Phi Phi Island on the west coast. Diving and snorkeling are at their best. It is wise to book hotels and transport half a year in advance.
Events and Festivals to celebrate
Thai Light Festival in November: : This is the most important festival in Thailand during this time. In fact, it actually inspires many travelers to visit and learn more about Thailand. Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience, if you choose to visit Thailand in November.
The celebrations in Chiang Mai are internationally renowned and independent travelers find that tickets are hard to book. Though more flights are available to Chiang Mai from Bangkok during the festival, they are still always booked up early.
Accommodation in Chiang Mai at that time is fully sold out even before July. It is not surprising that in order to attend the Thai Light Festival, most travelers choose to book through travel agents.
Chinese New Year in February (date varies): This is celebrated right across the country, especially in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Traditional celebrations such as dragon parades, firecrackers and dancing are commonly seen in the streets.
Learn more about Travel in Thailand during High Season.
March to April – hot and dry
Temperatures begin to rise in mid-January, peaking between March and April, and it is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 30ºC (95ºF) in northern Thailand (Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai), or even touch the 40ºC (104ºF) mark in some cities, including Bangkok.
During these months, the average temperature in southern Thailand is 32ºC (90ºF). April is the hottest month of the year.
Top destinations to visit in March and April
In this season, you can go literally anywhere in Thailand thanks to the low rainfall. The cooler weather in northern Thailand disappears but beaches on both coasts are still good to enjoy. Thai New Year in mid-April makes April a busier travel month.
Events and Festivals to celebrate
Thai New Year falls on 13th to 15th in April: This is the biggest, longest, and most enjoyable festival in Thailand. It is a 3-day-long water fight that takes place throughout the country!
Scented water is poured over locals and travelers alike, with the intention of washing away sins and bad luck from the previous year. Travelers have more fun when they visit during the Songkran Festival, but be well-prepared by booking everything three months ahead of time.
People are drenched from head to toe and wild scenes of exuberance are witnessed all over the Kingdom, with music, dancing, and drinking comprising other key components of the celebrations. Although it’s a lot of fun, the festival can lead to travel disruption in rural towns, as everything shuts down for almost a week.
May to October – wet season
Scorching conditions can last well into the rainy season, resulting in a rise in humidity. Temperatures in the northern and central regions of Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai) during the wet season are generally high (average between 28ºC/82ºF and 34ºC/93ºF).
The southern regions of the country, including Phuket and Krabi, also experience high temperatures, in the mid-30ºC (~90ºF) range.
September is the wettest month of the year. On the west coast (Phuket/Krabi), rainfall can sometimes reach 350 mm. On the east coast, however, heavy rains only occur from October to December, making Ko Samui good to visit from January to September.
It is important to note that it doesn’t rain all day long, even during the wet season. Usually, there are short downpours in the afternoons, but the rest of the day is otherwise sunny and travelers can enjoy their days without much inconvenience.
Besides, destinations like Bangkok offer travelers plenty to do and see, even when it’s raining outside. The only areas significantly affected by the rains during the wet season happen to be those in the rural parts of the country.
Top destinations to visit in May to October
This low season is the best time to travel to Thailand for prices, with more choice of accommodation and various different promotions. Rains do not really disrupt the travel experience, as it seldom rains all day long. Though September and October see more rains, they afford the best opportunity to travel without crowds.
For beach goers, Ko Samui and Hua Hin are the best destinations as they are not so affected by the rains at this time. Travelers need to plan well between mid-July and early August, as that is the season for European school holidays.
Events and Festivals to celebrate
Vegetarian Festival (October): Vegetarian Festival (October): Never mind its name, Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival is famous for extreme acts undertaken by some locals.
Especially gruesome is the body mortification, with swords and spiked objects cutting through participants’ cheeks and other body parts.Participants even walk over hot coals. The belief is that Chinese gods will protect you from harm in return for your painful demonstrations.
Read more about Travel in Thailand during Rainy Season.
Learn about the weather in Thailand for 12 months and find out the best places to visit in each month.
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