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We have all heard nightmare stories about traveling in tropical countries during the rainy season. However, even though the rainy season can be difficult to plan for, there are still plenty of tips and tricks that can help you have an amazing experience.
In this article, we will explain what to expect when traveling in Thailand during the rainy season, as well as the best destinations and things to do to guarantee that you still have an amazing experience, no matter the weather.
The rainy season in Thailand can certainly have an impact on tourists’ travel plans. The most rainfall in Thailand is from August to October depending on which part of Thailand you are visiting.
The truth is, if you travel in Thailand during the rainy season, you are going to get wet but you can still have a great time by scheduling activities at the right times and accepting that your plans may be interrupted by the weather.
During August, the rain can be sporadic and unpredictable. It may look like it is going to rain but, eventually, you just end up with a few raindrops and generally a cool and dry day. On the other hand, there are days when the rain just doesn’t stop, and on other days there will be raging thunderstorms.
It is all in the lap of the gods which days it rains and which days it doesn’t during this month, and this is the general rule of thumb for the entire country. However, in Chiang Mai, August is the worst month for rainfall, which comes complete with strong winds and heavy downpours.
As September approaches, expect heavy downpours with thunder and lightning almost every day. In the south, it can rain all day with a mixture of light and heavy rain. In central and northern areas of Thailand, it rains hard for a couple of hours in the morning and then for a couple of hours in the evening with light showers in between. When it isn’t raining, the sky is overcast and the air is very humid.
It is difficult to pick a time to go out in September because the rain is unpredictable. It may rain hard in the morning and evening but showers can continue throughout the day.
The time it rains can be quite predictable during October. During the first few weeks, the rain continues to be relentless with heavy morning and evening downpours.
Aim to go out in the afternoon when the morning rain stops and to get back before 5pm before the evening downpours begin. If you are in Chiang Mai, then the rain will have started to subside with fewer downpours, while in central and southern areas of Thailand the rain will continue into early November and then completely subside.
These heavy downpours can sometimes cause flooding in lower areas and valleys but the floods typically disappear by the next day. Although these conditions sound unbearable, it is actually still possible to travel in Thailand at this time as long as you come prepared with an umbrella, poncho, and waterproof shoes or sandals.
The rainy season in Thailand typically takes place from July to October. Sometimes the months of May and June will also see some extra rains as they lead into the official monsoon season.
During the rainy season, the high will be around 89º F (32º C) and the daily low around 78º F (25º C). April and May are the hottest months of the year in Thailand. The months that typically get the most rainfall are August and September.
During the rainy season in Thailand, the seas are typically very rough, and for beachgoers swimming and watersports can sometimes be dangerous due to generally large waves and frequent storms.
Although you will typically hear the terms rainy season and monsoon season used interchangeably, monsoon season actually means a period of time when the winds bring moisture from the Indian Ocean to the southeast Asian subcontinent. These winds cause the humid and wet weather that we associate with the rainy season and also cause some of the tropical storms that happen at this time.
Traveling in Thailand during the rainy season is much cheaper than traveling during the high season. The number one reason for this is simply because there are fewer travelers in the country at that time. Many businesses therefore offer discounts.
Depending on where you visit and which hotels you choose, it is possible to get deals that are as much as 30% cheaper than during high season. Find out how much do you need to travel to Thailand.
It is not easy to ignore the effect that the rains will have on your travel plans if you choose to visit during the rainy season. If you want to visit Thailand because you want to take part in outdoor activities such as trekking, visiting elephant sanctuaries, or sunbathing on the beach, then it would probably be best to visit during high season.
However, there are plenty of activities that travelers can do during the rainy season. Many of Thailand’s famous cities and temples can still be visited in the rain. Also, Thailand's delicious food, famous markets, malls, and vibrant culture can all still be experienced with careful planning and flexible schedules.
Although the rainy season will affect your travel plans, you can still have an amazing time by visiting great places and picking exciting experiences that can't be ruined by the rain.
Below we have included some information about some of our favorite rainy season destinations and activities.
In Bangkok, it will rain almost every day during the rainy season, although it rarely rains all day. This means that many activities can be planned around the weather. However, it is important to note that during the rainy season, travelers won't be able to do the classic floating market tours.
There are many indoor activities available in Bangkok, including visiting shopping complexes, aquariums, temples, and museums. Bangkok's shopping malls are particularly popular during this time of year and can be reached using the metro system, making it easier to avoid traffic jams due to weather.
Because Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are much further north than Bangkok, these cities are typically much dryer, although they are still affected by the rainy season. While visiting these cities in the rainy season, you will still experience the downpours but they usually occur for only a few hours in the late afternoon.
This often still makes it possible for travelers to explore the cities by scheduling temple visits during the mornings or early afternoons.
When it is raining, the city still offers plenty of things to do such as shopping, getting famous Chiang Mai massages, taking a cooking class, and visiting museums.
In Phuket, the rainy season is a little different from the rest of Thailand. Typically, Phuket experiences the most rains during the months of September and October. If you visit during the other months of the wet season, you will probably experience some rains, but most days will have good weather.
Even on clear days, there will be strong winds which make the waters too rough for swimming.
When it does rain, Phuket has lots of different options to keep visitors entertained, including some good museums like the Tin Mining Museum, the Thai Hua History Museum, and the Seashell Museum. There is also an aquarium on the island that is pretty cheap and offers a lot to see.
Similar to Phuket, Koh Samui is a good place to visit during the rainy season because although it won't be dry, it certainly won't get as much rain as the rest of the country. During the rainy season, Koh Samui's weather won't be perfect and you will likely see overcast skies and feel the humidity, but the beaches will be quiet and the restaurants will be empty.
Just like Phuket, during this time the sea in Koh Samui will be very rough due to the strong winds, so swimming and watersports aren't recommended. The boat ride to the island will likely be very bumpy as well.
When you are traveling in Thailand during the rainy season, you will need to be prepared with the correct clothing. Much of what you need will depend on where you are traveling and the activities you plan to carry out during your visit.
First of all, you will need to pack the right clothes. Lots of lightweight clothing and quick-drying fabrics are needed in case you do get caught in the rain, as well as non-slip shoes. Avoid wearing flip-flops because you will find yourself rather uncomfortable if it rains. We recommend:
Packing accessories from home will ensure that you have high-quality products in preparation for what can be some harsh rainy days. Although you can also buy high-quality items in Thailand, it is better to be prepared. At home, you are more likely to know where to look. Conversely, when you are in Thailand and realize you need accessories, it may be difficult to find good quality products at short notice. We suggest:
Taking these items with you will not only mean you are prepared for the rainy season but it will also make your stay during the rainy season much more comfortable.
Here are a few additional tips that will help you navigate Thailand’s rainy season more comfortably. Probably one of the most important points we should make is trying not to let the rain disappoint you. If you have booked your trip and it happens to be during Thailand’s rainy season, then embrace it rather than fight against it.
Below are some of the most helpful tips from people who live in Thailand. Follow them closely because they are guaranteed to make your rainy season journey more comfortable.
Interpreting how Thailand's rainy season will impact your travels can be difficult and time-consuming. Our experts can help by tailor-making your trip to be amazing even with a little rain.
At Asia Highlights we have lots of experience planning trips in Thailand during both, the high and the low season, and we know all the tips and tricks to make your journey unforgettable.
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