06 Jul 2016 - Posted By Maeve Nolan / Bangkok, Best Time to Visit, Chiang Mai / 2 Comments

Wondering when the best time to visit Thailand is? Great news: there’s no right or wrong time of year to go!

As if this colorful, historically fascinating country of world-class beaches in the south and hill tribe cultures in the north weren’t good enough on its own, you can be assured that you can enjoy a great holiday in Thailand year-round!

You can, however, increase your chances of catching wonderful weather if you study up on the region you’d like to visit or time of year you’d like to go and plan accordingly. We’ll help you with this— just read on.

What you should know before Visiting Thailand

When planning a trip to Thailand, think of the weather as three distinct seasons: hot (March–May), wet (June–October), and cool (November–February). But these distinctions do vary from region to region, and when we say “cool,” we mean by Thai standards: ranging anywhere from 13°C to 29°C (55°F to 85°F).

Thailand is broken into three major regions: North, Central and South. The South can be divided into two coastal sub-regions, the Gulf of Thailand on the east and the Andaman Sea on the west. We let you know which regions are ideal to visit in the seasonal breakdown below:

Best Time to Visit Thailand by Seasons

Visiting Thailand in Hot Season

When is the best time to visit Thailand - Krabi - Beautiful tropical beach

HOT SEASON WEATHER INFORMATION

Period: March–June

Temperatures: The hottest time of year in Thailand, expect temperatures to soar into the high 30s°C (90s°F), and sometimes even hit 40°C (104°F). But don’t worry, most urban centers such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai are air conditioned, and you can request a/c rooms in all but the most basic hotels and beach huts. Despite the heat, this is a wonderful time to soak up the sun at the beach.

Rainfall: Little to no rain, although you may begin to get some showers from May.

What to Pack

Bring your swimsuit, because you’ll need to take a dip in the pool or the ocean in this weather!

Where to go

Head to the Andaman Coast in March for the tail-end of Thailand’s glorious winter weather. You’ll also just have missed peaked season, so with some luck you’ll get pristine beaches all to yourself. If you’re traveling in April, head to Bangkok or Chiang Mai for some extreme carousing during the Songkran Water Festival.

Unmissable Experiences

Songkran, or Thai New Year, is the biggest holiday of the year in Thailand. Falling in April, Songkran is a time of unabated revelry and celebration. Throughout the nation, cities host city-wide water fights and elaborate parades!

Great Tours for Thailand in Hot season

✈ Khao Lak Beach Holiday

✈ Insider Phuket: A Cultural Discovery

Taking a Trip to Thailand During Rainy Season

When is the best time to visit Thailand - waterfall timelapse in thailand

RAINY SEASON WEATHER INFORMATION

Period: July–November

Temperatures: In North Thailand, the intense heat and humidity of the summer months begin to decrease, however the peak monsoon rains of August may last into September. In South and Central Thailand, the monsoon hits a little later; peak rain and humidity often occurs in September and October. Expect daily average temperatures of mid 20s°C to mid 30s°C (80s°F and 90s°F), with higher humidity in South and Central Thailand.

Rainfall: The wettest time of year in Thailand, the later summer months see daily showers throughout the country as well as high humidity. June still tends to be quite dry in most of the country, with peak showers occurring in August. But if you don’t mind daily showers, it’s a beautifully lush time to visit, with the rivers and waterfalls rushing with water, the moss on ancient ruins turning vibrant green, and the jungle enjoying its most verdant time of year.

What to pack

Bring a light rain jacket, or poncho. It’s still quite hot, so pack your light, breathable summer clothes.

Where to go

Head to any part of Thailand if you don’t mind rain. If you’d like to stay drier, go to the Gulf of Thailand in July. This is also a great time to tour North and Central Thailand. Although you’ll get better weather on the southern coasts a little later in the year, don’t let a few showers discourage you from visiting Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bangkok, Sukhothai and other inland regions.

Unmissable experiences

Asanha Bucha, or the day before Buddhist Lent, is a day of beautiful and poignant religious observances. You’ll see people offering flowers to monks, visiting temples, and lighting candles at nightfall.

There’s nothing quite as magical as seeing the night sky filled with tens of thousands of floating lamps during Loi Krathong.

Also celebrated as Yi Ping in the north, Loi Krathong takes place in late October or early November, and is a way to let go of one’s bad deeds throughout the year.

If you’re heading to Phuket in October, steel your nerves for the annual Vegetarian Festival. This fascinating religious observance pays homage to the Taoist Gods through abstinence from eating meat, setting off firecrackers, giving offerings of food and money, and parading through town with extreme (and often bloody) body piercings.

Tips for Travel During Rainy Season in Thailand

Monsoon season often brings flooding in some regions of Thailand, especially Bangkok. This can lead to businesses closing, traffic coming to a standstill and difficulty getting around town.

If you should be staying on a flooded street, it’s best to stay indoors, as drainage and sewage problems may arise. If you’re staying in a rural area during monsoon season, it’s wise to keep extra potable water and some food on hand just in case you can’t reach a market for several days!

Avoid jungle treks during monsoon season because of possible mudslides.

Traveling to Thailand During Cool Season

Best time to visit Thailand - Beautiful viewpoint at Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

COOL SEASON WEATHER INFORMATION

Period: December–February

Temperatures: Widely considered the best time to visit Thailand, winter brings dry, sunny days with cool mornings and evenings. Between December and January, the weather can actually be a touch chilly in the north. In Central and South Thailand, expect average daily temperatures of 26°C to 32°C (78°F to 89°F). In the north, expect daily averages of 17°C to 26°C (62°F to 78°F). But with such ideal weather, expect the crowds and higher rates that come with peak season.

Rainfall: Little to none throughout the country.

What to pack

Your swimsuit, sunblock, and light, breathable clothing. It’s perfect beach weather, but be warned that sunblock is expensive in Thailand so purchase before you travel.

Where to go

You can literally visit anywhere in Thailand during this time of year and enjoy pleasant weather. It’s an ideal time to hit the world-famous beaches of Krabi (Railay), as well as Hua Hin and the islands, including  Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao Noi, Phuket, Koh Lak and Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Koh Kradan in the South, and Koh Kood, Koh Trang and Koh Mak off the country’s far East Coast. Koh Samui, Koh Tao and KOh Phangan  may be a little wet from December – January, however the monsoon rains usually abide by February.

Unmissable Experiences

If you’re in Bangkok in either January or February, or even Phuket, check out the Chinese New Year Celebrations (cycle based on the Lunar Calendar). Streets are lined with lanterns, firecrackers are lit and temples are filled with locals praying for good fortune.

Great Tours to Thailand in Cool Season

✈ Chiang Mai Family Adventure

✈ Krabi Beach Holiday

Weather in the Main Cities of Thailand

  • Hot Season: Highs of mid-30s °C (90s F), mostly dry
  • Rainy Season: Highs of low 30s°C (high 80s°F), daily rain
  • Cool Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), little to no rain

  • Hot Season: Highs of mid-to-high 30s °C (90s °F), mostly dry
  • Rainy Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), high humidity and daily rain
  • Cool Season: Highs of high 20s °C (low 80s °F), little to no rain

  • Hot Season: Highs of low 30s°C (high 80s°F), mostly dry
  • Rainy Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), high humidity and daily rain
  • Cool Season: Highs of high 20s °C (low 80s °F), little to no rain

  • Hot Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), some rain
  • Rainy Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), high humidity and some rain
  • Cool Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), little to no rain

  • Hot Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), little to no rain
  • Rainy Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), high humidity and some chance of rain
  • Cool Season: Highs of high 20s °C (low 80s °F), little rain

  • Hot Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), a little rain
  • Rainy Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), high humidity and some chance of rain
  • Cool Season: Highs of low 30s °C (high 80s °F), little to no rain

Best Time to Visit Thailand, by Region

Best Time to go to the South – Gulf of Thailand

General information

Popular destinations include Koh Tao, Koh Pha Ngan & Koh Samui. 

Best time to visit: February to April & June to August


From February to April, the Gulf of Thailand is bathed in sunshine with blue skies, sea breezes and low humidity—the perfect beach weather.

Temperatures start to climb—sometimes drastically—from March and max out in April and May, the hottest time of year.

June until August sees light or sporadic rains, with slightly higher humidity but mostly sunny skies otherwise.
The monsoon season begins in October and tapers off in January, bringing blue skies and a drop in humidity once again.

Best Time to go to the South – Andaman Sea

General information

Popular destinations include Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Lak, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Kradan and Koh Lipe. 

Best time to visit: November to March

Monsoon season arrives a bit earlier on the western coast of Southern Thailand, with rains starting in earnest around May.

This wet season usually lasts through October, with peak rainfall occurring in September and October. By November, humidity drops, the skies clear, and you’re in for some prime beach weather.

Best Time to Visit the Central Region of Thailand

General information

Popular destinations include Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi.

Best time to visit: November to April


As you move further inland, you’ll find that humidity rises. The hottest time of year, April and May, also sees soaring temperatures—Bangkok, for example, regularly sees days clocking in at 40 °C (100 °F). This is why many Bangkok locals spend the hottest months of the year cooling down in the city’s numerous shopping malls, taking advantage of the air conditioning!

By May, the wet season has begun, ratcheting up humidity and bringing short bursts of rain roughly once a day.
But the consistent rains of monsoon season don’t begin until June, hitting its peak in August and September.
After October, the next six months see drier and cooler weather and make for more comfortable travel.

Best Period to Visit Northern Thailand

Best time to visit Thailand - Chiang Dao - A farmer throws rice seeds into a muddy to field

General information

Popular destinations include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, Mae Hong Son, along the Lao border

Best time to visit: November to April


While the best times to visit Northern Thailand echo that of Central Thailand, we should give fair warning about the smoky season that lasts from February to May. Many of the farmers in Northern Thailand practice seasonal slash-and-burn cultivation, and March is the peak time for burning. Much of the smoke is caught in valleys and urban areas until the April showers clear it away.

With lower temperatures and humidity than Central Thailand, the north enjoys more temperate weather from March to June. However, once the rains start, every day can be quite soggy.

The cool season from November to February can be chilly, especially at higher altitudes, sometimes getting down to 10 °C (50 °F).

Unmissable events

April: Songkran, or Thai New Year, is the biggest holiday of the year and is a time for weeklong celebrations. Songkran rituals focus on making offerings to earn karmic merit and blessing loved ones with water to purify their souls for the new year. In many cities across Thailand, especially Bangkok and Chiang Mai, this water blessing has turned into raucous, citywide water fights. There’s nothing else like it in the world, we promise you!

May or June: Bun Bung Fai is Northern Thailand’s famed Rocket Festival. Celebrated especially in the region of Isaan, the holiday sees communities come together to build and set off homemade rockets that can be three-stories high!

July or August: During the first full moon of the eighth lunar month, Buddhists all over Asia celebrate Asanha Bucha. This religious observance commemorates Buddha’s first sermon. At nightfall, people go to their local shrine, light candles, and walk around the shrine clockwise to create karmic merit. In Chiang Mai, thousands of people travel 13 kilometers on foot to the mountain temple of Doi Suthep.

October: Brought to Phuket by Chinese immigrants, the Vegetarian Festival is a region-specific holiday that pays homage to Taoist Gods. Throughout Phuket, it will be hard to find meat because the entire city goes vegetarian for roughly a week. You’ll also see a massive parade with constant firecrackers and some extreme, fascinating—and often bloody—body piercings.

October or November: Loi Krathong, also known as Yi Ping in the north, is a magical holiday celebrating the release of bad deeds, memories, and events that have accumulated throughout the year. People release lit lanterns into the night sky and float elaborately decorated boats on rivers and other bodies of water.

When is the Test Time to Visit Thailand?

Even if there’s no right or wrong time of year to go, the best time to explore Thailand is the Cool Season (December to end of February) when temperatures are cooler and the rain almost absent. But be aware that this period is also the most touristy in Thailand, so expect higher prices.

If you prefer remote and unseen places, avoiding the crowds and to getting immersed in Thai culture, you should consider visiting Thailand in Hot Season in the North or Rainy Season in the Gulf of Thailand.

What would be your best time to discover Thailand?


We can help you visit Thailand

Our locally based Travel Specialists will be happy to give you more information on a tour around Thailand. If you’re ready to start planning your holiday in Thailand, contact us and we’ll help you build the perfect itinerary.

2 Comments

Janet Taylor

06.07.2016, 11:01

Thank you. We visited lounge Samui last November, mothe realising that it was the rainy season, unlike Krabbie, which we had visited at the same time of year! And yes it rained everyday. We are looking to go to Khou Lac in November! Thanks again.

Reply

Max Denecheau

07.07.2016, 10:14

Hello Janet!
Thank you for your comments. We hope this information will be useful for planning your next trip to Thailand.
Have a good day and see you soon!
Max – Backyard Travel

Reply

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