Picking the Right Time: The Seasons of Thailand and When to Visit
Hot, Hotter, and Wet: All About The Seasons of Thailand
A quick Google search and you’re presented with deep azure skies and barely a wisp of cloud. This is the weather than most travel to Thailand for. But it isn’t always like that (although a great deal of the time it is – don’t panic!). What are the seasons of Thailand and when is it best to visit, we hear you ask?
The first thing to understand about Thailand is that although it looks long and thin on the map there are multiple areas that have vastly different weather at different times of the year. During what could be the sunniest season for one area, you might expect heavy rainfall in another. Be sure to understand where you are heading, when you are heading there and what activities you plan on doing to avoid being disappointed.
The 3 Key Seasons of Thailand
There are, generally speaking, 3 main seasons in Thailand. The dry season, the hot season and the rainy season. These seasons generally fall in line with the fluid tourist pricing structure. High season falls within the dry period of Thailand’s weather. It is generally an enjoyable temperature with limited rainfall, and obviously this means increased tourists which in turn means increased prices. In November to March, expect to pay almost double what you might during July to October.
These seasons traditionally apply to central and northern Thailand. The further south you go the more pronounced the seasons become. In fact, around the island peninsulas you can really only expect 2 seasons; wet or dry. This is thanks to the monsoon climate affecting both sides of the country.
Monsoon Season in Thailand
The monsoon in Thailand really is a force of nature to behold. Expect rainfall that can last for days on end and widespread flooding. We’ve waded through entirely flooded streets as we endeavor to reach Bangla Road in Phuket and seen entire roads disappear under mud whilst riding through the hills around Chiang Mai. Be prepared with a poncho or two and you’ll enjoy these incredible storms.
In the north you can expect more rainfall between May to November as the southwest monsoon storms through. The south involves a little more planning. Thanks to its position between two major water zones the southern part of Thailand deals with different monsoons on each coast. Thankfully, they don’t run at the same time so there’s always a coast to enjoy! The west coast (think Phuket, Krabi and Phi Phi) has its heaviest rainfall from April to October. The east coast (Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan etc) sees more rain between September and December.
When is the best time to visit Thailand?
The key question that you’re probably asking us is when you should visit. To answer that question, you need to consider all of the above but also ask what activities you enjoy doing. Whilst we’ll offer suggestions, there’s little point in going waterfall hunting during the dry season unless you’re keen to see a trickle here and there or planning on extensive sunbathing during the cloudy, rainy and cheaper season.
In general, November to February are the best months to visit. There’s a cool, dry breeze most days and temperatures don’t tend to get above 32 degrees Celsius. The north can get fairly cool, so if you’re planning an extended trip there at this time then do take a shawl or jumper for the mornings and evenings!
Visiting Thailand During Rainy Season
You are the only one who can choose the best time to visit for you. November to February offer your best chance at decent weather but come with a hefty price tag. Travelling out of high season allows for potentially huge discounts but you’ll need to pack a poncho or raincoat!