Koh Phuket has three defined seasons. From November to March, conditions are at their best with a cooling wind keeping the sky-high summer temperatures at bay and making the daytime more comfortable (average daily temperatures: 26-32℃). Thanks to the breeze, the humidity levels are lower than later in the year.
From March to May the temperatures rise (average daily temperatures: 30-36℃) as the cooling winds depart and the humidity rises. From late May, rainy days will usually have arrived, and this is expected to last through to October.
- The weather in Phuket broadly varies between cool, warm, dry and rainy.
- The high tourist season is from November to February when it's cool and dry.
- If you're planning for scuba diving, come between the months of November and February when the weather is at its best.
- The increase of tourist arrivals during the peak season raises accommodation prices.
- Different seasons mean you'll need to bring different equipment. Keep reading to find what kinds of things you may need to bring.
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Weather in Koh Phuket
Koh Phuket is an all-year-round holiday destination but it has a "dry season" during which consistently fine weather draws by far the largest numbers of tourists.
November to February is the coolest season. Temperatures vary between 23℃ and 30℃. While December is the coolest month in Phuket, February is the driest.
March, April and the first half of May are considered the hottest months in Phuket, just before the monsoon hits the island. The temperatures are in the 30s℃, with humidity levels steadily on the rise. Sea conditions are good for swimming, and for diving and other extreme sports.
The monsoon season in Phuket lasts from May to October. Average temperatures during monsoons are 28-29 ℃. Apart from being cost effective, it's also a peaceful time to visit because it's not as crowded as the high season.
The wettest months are May, September and October, but it's rare that the island would be subject to many continuous days of heavy rainfall.
The Rainy Season in Koh Phuket
Phuket is one of the first locations in Thailand to experience the monsoon rains. The season lasts from May to October. Phuket experiences 350-400 mm average rainfall during May, September and October.
The months of June, July and August see about 280 mm per month. It's not a good season for planning launch trips or scuba diving.
Temperatures during the monsoon season are hot: between 28℃ and 29℃ on average, with highs around 31℃ and lows around 25℃. The high humidity makes these temperatures pretty uncomfortable.
You will get around 7-8 hours of sun per day in this season. Even if it rains it's still warm and it's still possible to have calm sunny days.
If you're willing to gamble on the weather, this is a good time to take advantage of quieter beaches and cheaper prices. The high season crowds disappear, creating a more relaxed atmosphere in the towns and on the main beaches.
There's always something to do in Phuket even in the rainy season. You can join the exciting Laguna Phuket International Marathon in June, when more than 5,000 runners from around the world gather for full and half-marathons, as well as a 5k community walk and a 2k kids' run.
There's also the Phuket race week taking place in July. This is a yacht race held on the east coast of Phuket.
You may be able to experience Visakha Bucha, a day for celebrating the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and passing. You'll find worshippers forming candle-lit processions at dusk in the temples. Visitors are more than welcome to participate.
You can also find grand sales in this season, taking place across the country starting in mid-June. It's an ideal time for shoppers to take advantage of amazing deals on a variety of goods and services.
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The Dry Season in Koh Phuket
November to February is the high season in Phuket and sees the best weather of the year. The southwest winds that brought the monsoons are reversed and cooler, and dry air arrives from the northeast.
The weather is very dry in this season and temperatures are at their most comfortable, between 23℃ and 30℃. Humidity drops to its lowest of 58% in February, helping to make conditions very pleasant.
December is the coolest month of the year, averaging 27℃, and February is the driest month averaging 30mm of rain. You'll get 7-9 hours of sun per day and that means you can do more activities. You can expect to find calmer seas and blue skies, along with more crowded beaches.
Crowds start to increase steadily from December, as Christmas and New Year's Eve approaches, but are still lower than the peak months to come.
High season prices are generally in full swing, though it's still possible to get reduced rates at some hotels. January is by far the peak of the high season, as it is one of the most pleasant times of the year to be in Phuket.
Most days bring bright blue skies and relatively low humidity. The sea is calm and its temperature is warm, and this season is ideal for swimming, or for diving and other extreme sports.
If you prefer not to participate in sport, lounging on the sand, or attending a cooking class or a spa treatment, will always be alternative options. You can also join a sand-sculpting festival that takes place on Karon Beach in December.
Apart from playing sports or relaxing on the beach, you can explore and experience the Patong Carnival and Seafood Festival. This annual week-long festival in December is one of the most celebrated in Phuket.
Locals and tourists are entertained by light shows, elaborate parades, and traditional Thai dance performances. Live contemporary music and food is everywhere. This event takes place at the waterfront in Patong Beach.
Busiest Period of the Year in Koh Phuket
The busiest period in Phuket is from November to January. This is when you'll get the least rain and the most sun. The month of November, just after the rainy season and before the peak season, is a good time to enjoy good weather with smaller crowds.
If you don't mind the crowds, December and January bring the very best weather of all, with calm seas, bright blue skies, sunshine, and little rainfall.
Even though the dry season starts in November, many tourists don't arrive until December. During this season you'll see the highest prices for accommodation, airfares and shopping, along with some of the most ideal weather.
The most expensive time to come to Thailand is during the fortnight that covers the Christmas and New Year holidays. Hotels are usually fully booked during this period, so make sure you book your hotel well in advance.
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What to Pack for a Beach Holiday
- Most important is to bring all your documentation such as passports, travel tickets, insurance, etc.
- Sweater or sweatshirt. Though it's usually hot throughout most of the country, you'll want something warmer for the plane ride and the chilly AC on buses.
- Rain jacket or umbrella. Even outside the rainy season, there's always the potential for rain in Phuket.
- Comfortable walking shoes for daily usage or for hiking.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat, to protect you from the heat and sunburn.
- A power adapter for charging your electrical items, such as mobile phone, camera and laptop.
- The most important item of clothing to pack is your swimming costume, as most fun activities in Phuket involve water.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What should I wear during the rainy season?
A: Ideally, you want a lightweight but sturdy and waterproof rain jacket. Avoid flip-flops at all costs during this season. Instead choose sandals with a good grip and you will avoid slipping and stay on your feet.
Q: What should I wear during the dry and hot season?
A: Quick-dry fabrics are ideal if you're doing adventurous things, linen and light cotton are also advisable for surviving the heat.
Q: Can I do extreme sports during the rainy season?
A: Yes! It won't be raining all the time during the rainy season. You can enjoy the extreme sport of your choice during the sunny days.
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