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When is the best time to travel to Thailand?

Cita Catellya

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Thailand is a fascinating country that welcomes everyone for any adventure. While the country is famous for its year-long tropical sunshine, it also experiences a wet season and sweltering temperatures. That means that, like everywhere else, choosing the best time to visit Thailand is vital to make the best out of your trip.

So, which months are best for an unforgettable trip to the Land of Smiles? Whether you want the most comfortable weather to relax by the beach or hope to avoid the crowds, this month-by-month guide should help you plan your trip.

Seasons in Thailand

Thailand generally experiences three season: hot, cool, and wet. However, the season can vary slightly depending on which area of the country you’re in. Central Thailand, such as Bangkok and Ayutthaya, experiences the hot season from April to June, while the wet season runs between July and October. The cool season makes up the remaining months from November to February.

Northern Thailand, such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, experiences the cool season from October to February, the hot season from March to May, and the wet season between June and October.

There are several seasonal variations in the southern part of Thailand, which depends on the specific coast you’re on. Moreover, there are generally only two seasons in the south of Thailand. The Andaman coast is dry from November to March. On the other hand, the dry season on the Gulf coast starts in January and ends in November.

No matter which area you’re planning to go to, the cool and dry seasons are generally the best times to visit Thailand. You can explore the country as much as you want since the weather is mostly sunny with only a little rain. That said, you can still enjoy many activities during the wet season as the rain doesn’t typically fall all day long.

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PHOTO: Phi Phi Island by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay.

Below is a general overview of Thailand’s weather based on the travel season.

High Season: November to March

Thailand’s high season runs from November to March. During this time, the weather is cool and hot in most parts of the country, meaning you can enjoy comfortable weather. However, great weather also means that the country is at its busiest, especially around Christmas, New Years, and Chinese New Years. Not just that, the crowds also bring inflated rates – flights, hotels, and excursions are usually more expensive. In addition, hotels typically have stricter deposit, cancellation, and stay policies around these 5 months. Therefore, if you’re planning to visit Thailand during the peak season between November and March, it’s best to plan and book early in advance.

Shoulder Season: April to June and September to October

There are two shoulder season periods in Thailand, from April to June and September to October. During these months, the monsoon is either leaving or just settling in. April to June is typically the most sweltering time in the country, with an average temperature of 30ºC in Bangkok. The coastal areas, however, benefit from the sea breezes to make the heat somewhat bearable. These months are also the dry season on the gulf coast, making it the best time to head to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s the ideal time to go surfing or diving on the Andaman sea as well. Therefore, the shoulder season is a great time to head to the coast. Additionally, prices are usually lower, and most attractions are less crowded.

Low Season: July to October

The wet season in Thailand is the low season for tourism in the country. During the wet season, expect to experience afternoon showers almost every day and even major flooding sometimes. The good news is that the rain is usually short, so you can still enjoy plenty of suns. Naturally, the higher rainfall means that Thailand is less crowded and prices are lower. This allows you to enjoy a more leisurely vacation because the tourist attractions and beaches are virtually empty. Keep in mind, however, that some islands are closed, and boat service is limited during stormy weather. In addition, you may not be able to go diving, surfing, and do other water activities when the weather is unsafe. Therefore, if you choose to travel to Thailand during the low season, you need to be flexible with your travel plans.

Weather in Thailand by Month

Below, we outlined the weather in Thailand month-by-month, as well as what to expect each month of the year to make the best out of your trip!

Keep in mind that many of the festivals mentioned below might be postponed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For religious or cultural celebrations, processions may still happen, but gatherings will be limited.

January

With cool and dry weather, January is the peak tourist season. The southern beaches on both coasts are sunny, perfect for those who want to relax and sunbathe at the beach. The central and northern areas enjoy cooler temperatures, allowing you to go sightseeing or jungle trekking without having to deal with uncomfortable heat. Chiang Mai is usually the coldest during this season. The evenings are usually chillier, so make sure to bring a light sweater or jacket.

If you have time, make sure to visit Bo Sang, a small village in the north around a 21-minute drive away from Chiang Mai. The village holds the annual Umbrella Festival every third weekend of January. During the festival, the village blossoms with beautiful umbrellas in all shapes and sizes. It’s packed with cultural performances, parades, live music, and plenty of food. January is also the perfect time to visit Sam Phan Bok in Ubon Ratchathani. Sometimes called “the Grand Canyon of Thailand,” this natural wonder can only be seen in all its glory in the dry season when the river is not overflowing with water. Therefore, in January, you’ll be able to see everything from cavernous chambers to tiny burrows.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Sam Phan Bok from tourismthailand.org

February

Since the weather in February is very similar to January, it’s still the high season for tourism in Thailand. However, it’s typically less crowded than January. The south of Thailand enjoys excellent weather with lots of sunshine and lower chances of rain. This means that you can soak up the sun and spend fun days at the beach as much as you want.

Chinese New Year usually comes in February. Therefore, if you want to experience the celebration in Thailand, visit an area with a huge Chinese population like the Chinatown in Bangkok. You can watch acrobatic demonstrations, dragon dances, lion dances, and even Chinese opera shows here.

February is also the usual time for Chiang Mai Flower Festival – although it was postponed in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This festival is one of the most colourful events in Thailand. Floral enthusiasts flock to the festival every year to see beautiful flowers from all across the country, such as orchids, chrysanthemums, and Ratchaphruek. The festival is usually fun and relaxed, making it ideal for both young and old. Besides admiring beautiful floral arrangements and ornamental plants, you can also watch parades, marching bands, and traditional dances during the three-day festival. In addition, you can enjoy delectable street foods.

Another highlight of February in Thailand is Makha Bucha Day, a Buddhist celebration and Thai national holiday that usually falls in February. If you want to get your own insight into Makha Bucha Day in Thailand, you can stop by the local temple to observe spiritual rituals and see people praying, chanting, and making merit. One of the most popular places to observe the holiday is Wat Saket in Bangkok. You can also go to the Makha Bucha fair in Prachinburi to see cultural demonstrations, processions, and a lantern release.

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PHOTO: Chiang Mai Flower Festival by Massimo from Flicker.

March

March is the start of Thailand’s hot and dry season, with the temperatures beginning to rise rapidly. The shoulder season is approaching, so the beaches and islands begin to empty out. It’s very dry, and the heat can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s a great time to go snorkelling or scuba diving on the Andaman coast, such as the Similan Islands. The sea is very clear during this time, so you can explore the beautiful marine life to the fullest. Adventure lovers can also enjoy numerous adrenaline-pumping activities, such as cave exploring in Lam Khlong Ngu national park in Kanchanaburi. If you visit Thailand in March and love nature, you should go to Phang Nga for the Turtle Release Festival.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Mai by ธนาชัย ปานกลาง from Pixabay.

April

April is one of the hottest months in Thailand, and the heat can sometimes feel unbearable due to the high humidity. You might want to stay in air-conditioned accommodation to escape the heat. Also, make sure to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water during this month. If you want to go surfing or diving in the Andaman sea, April is a great time to do it.

While the crowds in the main tourist attractions are thinning out, you might want to make reservations well in advance since the whole country is celebrating Songkran. Widely known as the water festival, Songkran is one of the biggest festivals in Thailand. It marks the start of Thai New Year, and the country is celebrating it with huge water fights for three days, from 13 to 15 April. Some areas even celebrate the holiday for a whole week. You are welcome to join the celebration if you visit Thailand in April. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket are among the best places to celebrate the water festival.

April is also the time for Poy Sang Long, which is a ceremony for young boys who are about to get ordained as monks.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Songkran from shutterstock.

May

May is another hot month in Thailand, but it can be slightly cooler. As the wet season is approaching, the humidity increases drastically. There are many sunny days in May, but the crowds are thin and prices are low. If you don’t mind the heat, May can be a good time to visit Thailand.

In early May, Thailand holds the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, which marks the beginning of the rice planting season. The rituals are supposed to help guarantee a good harvest in the year to come. Visakha Bucha Day may also fall in May or June. This public holiday is among the most significant events for Thai Buddhists. It commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Lord Buddha. People flock to temples across the nation to make merit. If you want to observe the local traditions during Visakha Bucha Day, the Temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok and the Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai are the best places to go.

Normally, numerous other festivals take place in May. One of the most popular festivals is the Bun Bang Fai Festival in Yashaton, where you can watch locals launch rockets of all colours and sizes into the skies in hopes of plentiful rains and bountiful harvests. The festival is also filled with parades, traditional dances, performances, and live music. It’s a great festival to attend if you want to soak all the local culture in.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Bun Bang Fai Festival from publicdomainpictures.net

June

Most parts of Thailand start to experience the wet season in June. Therefore, it’s best always to carry an umbrella wherever you go and wear shoes that won’t slip. When riding a scooter, make sure to take extra precautions as the roads can be slippery and dangerous.

June is normally the time to enjoy a true jazz experience by the beach in Hua Hin Jazz Festival. However, like many other festivals, the jazz festival has to be postponed due to the pandemic. Other festivals that take place in June during normal circumstances include Phi Ta Khon, Pattaya International Music Festival, and Chanthaburi Fruit Festival.

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PHOTO: Monsoon in Thailand by Andrew Jones from Pixabay

July

The rain is heavier in July than in June, and the west coasts generally get more showers than the east. It’s usually very humid as well, but the temperature may dip slightly. July is an ideal time to visit national parks because the rains make the landscape more lush and fertile. In addition, the rain also fills up waterfalls that aren’t usually visible during the dry season. Therefore, if you plan to visit Thailand in July, make sure to add waterfalls to your itinerary.

If you want to escape the rain, go to Koh Samui, Hua Hin, Koh Phangan, and Cha-Am. These areas are usually the driest among other regions of the country, so you can relax and sunbathe on the beach. Besides enjoying the beaches, you can also go snorkelling or diving and explore the underwater world of the Gulf during this month. Diving around Koh Tao is exceptionally breathtaking in July.

HM the King’s birthday, a national holiday, falls in July. Asahina Bucha, an important Buddhist holiday, also falls in July, usually in the middle or towards the end of the month. This holiday marks the day when the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon in India. Ceremonies are held in Buddhist temples around the country. There are also large religious parades in certain parts of Thailand, such as the central Thai province of Saraburi. Alcohol sales are usually restricted during this holiday. Alternatively, you can also experience the Candle Festival in July, which coincides with Asha Bucha Day. The most popular is the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival in Isan. During this festival, you can see parades of grand wax sculptures, as well as lots of dancing, singing, and music. It’s a great festival to experience if you want to immerse yourself in northeastern Thai culture.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Wax Sculpture by 41330 from Pixabay.

August

August is usually the wettest month in most parts of Thailand. The northern and western parts of the country get the highest rainfall this month. On the contrary, the east coast is relatively dry and sunny in August. Humidity levels are still pretty high, so make sure to carry a mosquito repellent with you at all times.

If you plan to visit Thailand in August, there are numerous indoor activities you can enjoy. These include visiting museums, temples, art galleries, and malls. If you’re in Phuket this month, you may be able to see the Por Tor Hungry Ghost Festival. This festival is an important merit-making event for the Chinese people on the island. Additionally, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated as Mother’s Day in Thailand. The day is usually filled with lights, flowers, decorations, and fireworks.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok National Museum from tourismthailand.org.

September

The rainy season typically continues through September, especially on the Andaman coast. The upside to the rain is that accommodations are usually very cheap, and the crowds are thin. Therefore, it’s a great time to visit Thailand if you’re on a budget. While it can rain almost every day, numerous indoor attractions are available across Thailand. Also, the waterfalls and rivers are at their fullest in September. Additionally, the landscape is usually lusher this month as it’s exploding with green foliage. The beaches can be hit and miss. However, if you get lucky and get periods of sunshine, you can enjoy the beaches with half the crowds.

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Waterfall by by Марина Решетило from Pixabay

October

October can still be pretty wet in most of Thailand, but the rains and humidity levels are starting to decrease. The south of the country is still hot and humid, while the north begins to get cooler.

Thailand commemorates the passing away of the beloved former King, King Bhumibol, on 13 October. Then, on 23 October, the country honours a former king, King Chulalongkorn, by putting flowers and garlands on his memorials.

Among the many festivals and events that happen in October, the bizarre Vegetarian Festival in Phuket is worth a visit. This annual festival falls between late September and mid-October. The festival celebrates the 9 Taoist Emperor Gods by avoiding meat, fish, alcohol, and drugs to cleanse the body and spirit. During the festival, you’ll find numerous food stands displaying a wide variety of vegetarian dishes. Therefore, it’s an excellent time for vegans and vegetarians who want to enjoy authentic Thai food. Besides the food, the festival is famous for its gory rituals. You can see participants walk on nails and hot coals, pierce their cheeks with swords or even climb knife-laden ladders, which might be disturbing to some people. That’s why this festival is not for the faint-hearted.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Rain in Thailand by Arek Socha from Pixabay.

November

November brings a cool and dry season to most parts of Thailand, making it one of the best months to visit Thailand. Tourists are starting to arrive this month thanks to the plenty of sunshine and moderate temperatures. The Andaman coast is at its best, inviting you to unwind and soak up the sun by the beach. However, it’s the wettest month in the eastern islands like Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

The most magical festival in Thailand, Loy Krathong Festival, takes place in November. During this festival, people float beautiful candlelit boats made of banana leaves (krathongs) on the rivers and waterways as a way to give thanks to the water spirits. Loy Krathong festival also coincides with Yee Peng Lantern Festival, which is held in Chiang Mai. Instead of releasing small boats into the river, people launch thousands of paper lanterns with candles into the sky during Yee Peng Festival. Another festival that occurs in November is the Lopburi Monkey Festival, which is dedicated to monkeys. Here, you’ll find tables of salads, fruits, and other foods for the monkey.

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PHOTO: Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai by xiaolinzi821 from Pixabay

December

The peak of the tourist season arrives in December as days are sunny and pleasant with little to no rainfall. In the north, the temperature can get pretty cold, so make sure to bring a light sweater. Thanks to the great weather, December is a great time to visit Thailand for those who want to enjoy the sun. The country is usually busy in December, with tourists from all around the world flocking to escape the winter.

There are various national holidays and festivals in December. 5 December is the birthday of the late King Bhumibol, which is also Father’s Day in the country.

Although many malls have festive decorations, Christmas isn’t widely celebrated in Thailand. However, New Year is huge in the country. Tourist places are all turned into party hotspots, with musical events, galas, and shows everywhere.

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Bamboo Beach Koh Lanta by S Scholz from Pixabay.

We hope that this guide can help you plan your next trip to the Land of Smiles. As of today, travelling to Thailand might still be difficult, though not impossible. So keep this article for future reference when travelling is safe again. Until then, make sure to stay safe!

 

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Cita Catellya is a journalist and content writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence.

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