The Best Places to Visit in Thailand in January

The Best Places to Visit in Thailand in January

By Chris QuanUpdated Oct. 19, 2021

Thailand attracts visitors all round the year thanks to its warm weather, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 35°C (64°F to 95°F). However, January, being the peak season, is by far the busiest month for tourism in the kingdom. In this article, we will share with you some of the best places to visit in Thailand in January.

Beautiful Women In Red Tradition Breast Cloth Dress Beautiful Women In Red Tradition Breast Cloth Dress

January Temperatures on Average in Thailand

Averages for January Min. Temp. (ºC) Max. Temp. (ºC)  Rainfall (mm) Min. Temp. (ºF) Max. Temp. (ºF)  Rainfall (in)
Bangkok 20 32 11 68 90 0
Chiang Mai 13 29 8 55 84 0
Phuket 22 32 42 72 90 2
Krabi 24 33 7 75 91 0
Hua Hin 21 31 13 70 88 1
Koh Samui 24 29 144 75 84 6

Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai and the surrounding northern region experience warm days and cool, crisp nights in January, making it the ideal time to visit.

With daytime temperatures averaging between 25°C (77°F) and 29°C (84°F) on most days, travelers can enjoy all of Chiang Mai"s many attractions comfortably.

With iconic temples, bustling markets, tranquil elephant sanctuaries, and stunning countryside, the north of Thailand is spectacular, and January is a great time to visit.

The weather can take visitors by surprise with just how cold it can get. Temperatures at night can drop to as low as 13°C (55°F), so make sure you pack a sweater!

Southern Thailand

In Thailand, January is the peak season, and this is particularly evident in how crowded and expensive the country’s southern beaches get during this time. It’s best to book well in advance to get a hotel of your choice.

The weather in Phuket and Trang on the Andaman Coast is similar to that of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. However, the Gulf of Thailand does see slightly more rainfall statistically, but nowhere near enough to deter you from visiting.

Eastern Thailand

The east coast of Thailand sees similar temperatures to Bangkok in January, but it gets slightly more rainfall than the capital. In terms of weather, January is one of the best times to visit the islands of Koh Chang, Koh Kut, and Koh Mak in Trat.

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Why Visit Thailand in January?

Amazing Weather

Whether you are look for a beach getaway in the south, a mountain retreat in the north, or a city break to Bangkok, travelers to Thailand can expect fantastic weather across the country in January. It’s the perfect time to cover the north, south, and central regions to get a taste of the whole of Thailand.

Plan your January trip well in advance though, as accommodation and flights can be hard to come by in the last minute in the peak season.

New Year Celebrations

Another great reason to visit Thailand in January is to join in the New Year celebrations. While the official Thai New Year is in April, the locals have fully adopted the international New Year as their own. Most hotels across the country have a special New Year’s dinner menu, but Bangkok is by far the liveliest place to celebrate.

Best Places to Visit in Thailand in January

1. The Andaman Coast

Andaman Sea Andaman Sea

Late December and early January is the peak tourism season in Thailand. Popular Thai islands such as Phuket, Koh Lipe, Koh Samui, and Koh Phi Phi are usually full to the brim with tourists in these months.

Hotels often run at near-full capacity, so it’s a good idea to plan well ahead to make sure you don’t miss out on the accommodation you want.

The Andaman Coast is at its most beautiful during January with perfect weather conditions and crystal-clear, calm blue seas. Phuket and Krabi are at their busiest, and their beaches tend to get very crowded. It is ideal for those who like the buzzy atmosphere of the high season.

There are some excellent options if you want to escape the crowds but still want to experience the beauty of the Andaman. The lesser-known islands of Trang are a great alternative for those looking for an authentic Thai island experience.

Koh Mook, Koh Libong, Koh Kradan, and Koh Ngai make up the archipelago, and each has their plus points, but Koh Mook is by far the most traveler-friendly option.

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2. The Gulf of Thailand

Koh Samui Koh Samui

The Gulf of Thailand experiences some rain at the beginning of January, but this tapers off towards the end of the month, leaving clear skies and blue seas for visitors to enjoy.

Koh Samui has the broadest range of accommodation among the three islands in the area. From upmarket hotels and resorts to private villas, there are options to suit any taste and budget. Another advantage to choosing Koh Samui over Koh Phangan or Koh Tao is that there is an airport on the island with flights arriving daily from Bangkok.

If flying isn’t your thing, consider staying closer to Bangkok at the beach resort town of Hua Hin. Located just 2½ hours from Bangkok, Hua Hin is a good option for travelers who don’t want to waste any time flying.

3. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Chiang Mai

January is the ideal time to visit the northern cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, as the weather is at its most pleasant for daytime excursions.

Chiang Mai has no shortage of attractions to keep travelers occupied. Meeting an elephant at one of the many ethical elephant sanctuaries there is on most travelers’ bucket lists and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If temples are your thing, you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can visit temples in Chiang Mai’s Old City, like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi, on foot. A day or overnight trip to the stunning Doi Inthanon mountain temple is something you shouldn’t miss!

Chiang Mai is a shopper’s paradise with one of the country’s best night markets. The cool evenings in January make it the perfect month to shop till you drop.

4. Chiang Rai

The White Temple in Chiang Rai The White Temple in Chiang Rai

Often referred to as Chiang Mai’s little sister, Chiang Rai is a fantastic place to visit in its own right. The highlights of the city include Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple), Baan Dam Museum (The Black Temple), and the Night Bazaar.

There are plenty of day trips to take in the Chiang Rai region, the most popular being a visit to the Golden Triangle to see one of the indigenous hill tribes, or a trip to the coffee and tea plantations in the valleys.

5. Bangkok

Bangkok Night Bangkok Night

January is by far the best month to enjoy all that Bangkok has to offer. The daily temperature rarely exceeds 30°C (86°F), making it the most comfortable time of the year for travelers to explore the city on foot.

The old town of Rattanakosin is home to the country’s best temples. Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and the impressive Grand Palace are all within walking distance of each other. 

A couple of kilometers down Charoen Krung Road from the Grand Palace is Bangkok’s Chinatown, which is said to be the biggest in the world. Here you will find backstreet markets, Chinese temples, and, of course, street food! Chinatown is one of the most exciting parts of the city and is best explored on foot.

On New Year’s Eve, the entire city of Bangkok gears up to party. The fireworks show on Chao Phraya River is one of the most spectacular you’ll find anywhere.

The ICONSIAM Mall and the tourism authority team up with the major hotels along the river to offer a synchronized show, each setting off their fireworks one by one, which culminates with a massive, colorful display. If you can’t make it to the mall, Asiatique, Lhong 1919, or any other hotel along the river offers fantastic views of the celebrations.    

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