May brings the start of the rainy season in Thailand and, in most parts of the country, it rains for at least half the month. In Central Thailand and along the Andaman Coast, the downpours can be torrential.
However, the rain doesn’t usually last more than an hour and more often than not occurs at night so it shouldn’t cause too much disruption to your plans. Let’s take a look at the weather conditions and the six best places to visit in Thailand in May.
Average Weather in May
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Bangkok and Central Thailand
Ayutthaya Historical Park
The weather in Bangkok and Central Thailand in May starts to get extremely humid.
However, the temperatures are slightly cooler than in April. The average temperature in Bangkok in May is 30ºC (86ºF) with a high of 34ºC (93ºF) and a low of 26ºC (79ºF).
The rainfall starts to increase toward the end of the month with more than half of the month seeing short, thunderous bursts that last for about an hour.
The White Temple in Chiang Rai
In Chiang Mai, the rains start halfway through May and get heavier as the days go by. At the midway point of the month, it rains every other day and this helps to clear much of the smog from March and April.
The temperatures are just as hot in May as in April but the added humidity makes walking during the day almost unbearable for some.
Chiang Rai sits at 390 meters (1,280 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by valley plains, forests, and rivers, which keep the region slightly cooler and with a lower humidity level than Chiang Mai.
As the rainfall increases in Northern Thailand, it breathes life back into the flora and fauna of the surrounding forests and jungle. By the end of May, everything looks a lot greener than the previous few months.
Rainfall during May is much lower on the Gulf of Thailand than on the Andaman Coast. The Andaman Coast, where Phuket and Krabi are situated, starts to see the effects of the southwest monsoon, which begins in late May but isn"t in full swing until June.
Phuket and Krabi experience torrential downpours and strong winds, meaning some boat services to other islands can be suspended. That said, the majority of rainfall occurs at night so shouldn"t disrupt your daytime activities too much.
5-Day Essential Bangkok Tour:
Why Visit Thailand in May?
May sees the end of the high season, which means that prices on hotels and flights begin to drop, bringing great value for visitors.
There is also a drop in the tourist numbers from Songkran in April but as it"s only the start of the low season, most tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels remain open throughout the country.
This makes May the perfect time to visit if you like your vacations a little quieter without missing any of the highlights.
6 Best Places to Visit in Thailand in May
Bangkok has numerous activities for tourists when the weather gets humid and sticky in May.
It"s the perfect time to explore Bangkok"s indoor attractions, such as the Bangkok National Museum, which is a mecca for Thai history and art, or the Jim Thompson House Museum, a beautifully designed Sukhothai wooden house set in the heart of Bangkok"s shopping district.
Bangkok is a modern city with more shopping malls than you could possibly imagine, each with its own unique twist. The newest mall in town, ICONSIAM, is nestled on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and has an indoor floating market on the bottom floor selling traditional Thai food and fabrics.
6-Day Bangkok and Chiang Mai Highlights Tour：
2. Chiang Mai
With temperatures as high as April but with added humidity and increasing downpours, May might not seem like the ideal time to visit Chiang Mai. However, there is still plenty to keep you occupied on even the hottest and wettest of days.
Two of the most popular activities in Chiang Mai are cooking classes and spa treatments, neither of which are weather dependent. In fact, having a traditional Thai massage and treatment with the sound of the monsoon rain coming down is one of the most relaxing things you can experience in Thailand.
3. Chiang Rai
You can escape the heat and humidity during May in Chiang Rai by visiting the Huai Kaew and Huai Mae Sai waterfalls to cool down.
There are also numerous air-conditioned cafés and restaurants in town where you can grab a traditional iced tea or an authentic Lanna meal when the heat gets too much to handle.
As the rainfall starts to increase toward the end of the month, the already stunning Chiang Rai valleys and mountain ranges get greener and even more beautiful than before.
4. Hua Hin
Of all the mainland beach resort towns, Hua Hin is a great place to spend your vacation in May.
While still seeing high daily temperatures of up to 33ºC (91ºF), Hua Hin and its surrounding beaches experience significantly less rainfall than the more popular beach resorts of Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui further south.
If you are not too bothered about being on an island, Hua Hin is an excellent choice for a beach getaway. It"s close enough to Bangkok that you don"t have to fly and has a range of beaches and resorts to suit any taste.
The hottest months in Phuket are April and May, with May experiencing far more rainfall. Temperatures range from 27–36ºC (81–97ºF) and humidity is high.
Thankfully, the main bulk of the southwest monsoon doesn"t hit until August but you may still experience the odd downpour in between hot sunny spells on the beach.
Being a city on an island, there is plenty to see and do in Phuket, even if some days are too hot or wet to hit the beach. For a spot of retail therapy, you can head to the Jungceylon and Central shopping malls in Patong or one of Phuket"s many local markets.
An exciting place to take the kids is the Phuket Trickeye Museum, an interactive museum in Phuket town that"s guaranteed to get you some interesting vacation snaps.
4-Day Best of Chiang Mai Tour：
6. Koh Samui
Koh Samui, along Thailand’s Gulf Coast, does not see the full effect of the southwest monsoon until September, which makes May a great month to visit the island.
The daily temperatures still reach highs of 34ºC (93ºF) so as long as you are happy with the heat, you"ll find plenty of sunshine to bathe in.
The rainfall starts to increase toward the end of the month and winds pick up in time for Samui Regatta, which sees sailors descend upon the island from across the globe.
With the deteriorating weather comes less than ideal snorkeling and diving conditions. While diving is still possible on the sheltered east coast, it becomes far less practical on the west coast.
Tour Thailand with Us
Are you planning a May getaway to Thailand? If so, make sure to get in touch with us now and we will put together a detailed itinerary for you to make sure that you get the most out of your trip to paradise.