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Thailand’s monsoon and wet season explained

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s monsoon and wet season explained | The Thaiger
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Unlike much of the rest of the world, north and south of the equatorial regions with the four reliable seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn, Thailand has just three seasons: hot, not-quite-so-hot and wet.

The rainy season is caused by the southwest monsoon that sweeps out of the Indian Ocean with moist air heading in a north-easterly direction across Thailand. The monsoon also coincides with Thailand’s location in the Southeast Asian tropical rain belt – the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone.

The timing of the season isn’t the same around the country and isn’t the same every year although it is reasonably reliable. Chiang Mai does not have the same rainy season as the Gulf of Thailand islands.

The annual celebration of Songkran, the Thai New Year – April 13- is usually timed to match the end of the hot season and the start of the annual wet season. But in most provinces the start of the monsoon is usually a month or so later.

Some places can be much wetter than others. Ranong, in the south of Thailand, just north of Phuket facing the Andaman Sea, is the wettest province in the country with a rainy season stretching from April to November. But the seaside resort of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand only really has two particularly rainy months, September and October.

The strength and intensity of the rains varies greatly. But, generally, monsoon rains tend to be short, intense bursts of rainfall. They could last for a few hours in the middle of the day, but they could just as easily be over within about 15 minutes in the morning or evening.

The monsoons do little to stop the locals who plunge on despite the deluge and occasional floods. Help is never too far away with the 20 baht ‘poncho’ available at every 7 Eleven and Food Mart. Flimsy and available in a variety of non-fashion colours, they’ll keep at least some of your body dry if you’re caught out in a downpour.

It floods very easily in Thailand, such is the intensity and suddenness of the monsoonal rains. Bangkokians will just roll up their trousers, or hold onto their skirts, take their shoes off and wade through the floodwater – it’s just part of life when living in Thailand.

And the best thing is that the wet season rains are never icy cold and usually provide a nice respite from the heat. There’s also a drama and beauty of the Thai monsoons. Enjoy and celebrate the annual rains that provide water for the crops and fill up the dams.

Thailand's monsoon and wet season explained | News by The Thaiger

Bangkok and Central provinces

The Thai capital generally can time the rainy season from late June or early July, peaking in September and starting to dry out in September and October.

The rains could start as out-of nowhere storms and often some notable overnight dumps, before increasing to more regular almost daily rains in July and August. It won’t necessarily rain every day and very rarely all day. But sometimes it’s torrential. Bangkok, whilst built to cope with the heavy rains has closed off a lot of the canals and the natural means of escape has been blocked off over the years.

Thailand's monsoon and wet season explained | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai is the north capital, mostly flat and surrounded by hills. and attracts plenty of tourists and travellers year-round, regardless of weather. Chiang Mai is also the jump off point for visits to Pai, Mae Hong Son, Lampang and Chiang Rai.

The monsoon season lasts longer in the North. compared to Bangkok. It usually starts around May and continues until November. July and August are particularly wet.

Whilst tourism plunges on, regardless of the rains, there will be occasional disruptions to some of the outdoor activities during the peaks of the northern wet season. The northern parts of Thailand do have distinctly cooler weather during the dry season – December until the end of February – even a morning frost in the mountains around the region.

Thailand's monsoon and wet season explained | News by The Thaiger

North East Thailand

The Northeast provinces (known as Isaan) is further away from the Indian Ocean so the monsoon has lost some of its power by the time it reaches the region. The wet season would stretch from May to October but 80% of the rain usually falls in August and September.

The region’s north and eastern borders are the mighty Mekong River which relies on a decent annual fall of rains. In recent years the Mekong has recorded lower levels due to the changes in wet season rains and damming upstream in Laos and China.

East Thailand

Koh Chang and the other islands off the coast of Trat province are beautiful and mostly unspoiled by mass tourism but can be very wet during the monsoon which usually runs from late May to the end of October. In June, July and August it’s likely to rain at some stage just about every day.

The moist air has been sucked in from the Indian Ocean, crossed over the thin peninsula of southern Thailand and then rebuilt strength as it passes over the Gulf of Thailand.

Storms and choppy offshore waters means that diving and snorkelling may be limited. But the islands will be much quieter and prices lower during the wet season.

Phuket, Krabi and the Andaman Coast

Glorious beaches, tropical living and beautiful islands. Once upon a time this region had a distinct high and low tourist season but the changes in international tourist mixes have made many of the Andaman Sea destinations busy throughout the year, rain or no rain. Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Khao Lak, Koh Phi Phi are just a few of the popular destinations in this picture-postcard region.

It will usually start raining from mid April to October and November. September and October are the wettest. And when it rains, it pours. The strong south westerly winds usually make the west-facing beaches unswayable for the duration of the monsoon – many tourists drown off these coastlines each year.

Some of the smaller islands and diving spots shut down during the monsoon.

Thailand's monsoon and wet season explained | News by The Thaiger

Koh Samui and the Gulf Islands

Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand are a triad of popular islands off the coast of Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand and have their own annual season weather patterns.

The monsoon season doesn’t hit Koh Samui until later in the year, with the rains arriving during October to December with peaks in November and trailing off during the start of the new year. But, like the Andaman Coast destinations, it remains hot and mostly humid throughout the year.

Thailand's monsoon and wet season explained | News by The Thaiger

Things to do in Phuket during the wet season.

And it does get humid. Here’s what you can do to cope with Thailand’s humidity.

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25 | The Thaiger

2 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Thailand with one additional death

Today there have been 2 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Thailand with 1 additional death. 

The 2 new cases consist of 1 imported case from a Thai National being repatriated from Russia last Wednesday. She’s currently under state quarantine in Chon Buri province.

The other was a 49 year old Chinese wife of an Italian who had been infected with the virus in Cherngtalay, Phuket. She has 3 children aged 15, 10 and 7 and currently showing no signs of any symptoms. Cherngtalay is the tambon bordering Bang Tao, which was a hotzone for new cases during April and early May.

The additional death was a 68 year old Thai woman in Chumphon, southern Thailand. She was reported to have had underlying issues when she succumbed to the disease.

From beauty queen Thailand’s new face in Covid-19 reporting

Crowned Miss Thailand 2008, Dr Panprapa Yongtrakul returned to the spotlight last week as assistant spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

She’ll be reporting about the pandemic every weekend from now on.

She’s taken over the weekend duties from the reassuring face Dr Taweesin Visan-nu-yothin who has been an extremely professional daily voice of CCSA since it was established on March 26.

In 2008, Panprapa was crowned Miss Thailand at the age of 20. It had been her dream since childhood to become a beauty queen. Now she’s the weekend face of the daily CCSA reports. She’s yet to be tested when taking questions from the Thai and foreign media.

Phuket’s lost summer – looking to 2021 for tourism recovery

In a solemn recognition of the reality of Phuket’s stalled tourist industry, a spokesperson for the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association is saying most of the west coast hotels are unlikely to reopen until the last quarter of this year. 

For now, Phuket’s International Airport remains closed to scheduled flights, and the Tha Chatchai road checkpoint at the top of the island is heavily curating who comes in and out with plenty of red-tape and paperwork. Nationally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand still has a ban in place for all international travel into Thailand until at least the end of June – it could be extended further. The only exceptions are repatriation flights of Thai’s returning home and the return of international diplomats.

Phuket’s issue, as an economy that revolves almost completely around tourism, is that, even if it throws open the immigration gates at the airport and the doors of its almost 100,000 hotel and accommodation rooms, there are few markets that could provide incoming tourists at this stage. Where will they come from? Europe (including the UK), the US and now South America, are mired in their own pandemic outbreaks, and whilst trying to reopen their economies, are facing imminent second waves of Covid-19. 

Whilst other parts of Thailand have opportunities to reopen their businesses – manufacture, agriculture, IT, and large chunks of populations visit shops and general trading – Phuket has little of that. Some 50,000+ of the island’s 450,000 permanent population have already departed the island, either before the borders were closed in mid-March, or as soon as they were able to return to their provinces when the road border re-opened for repatriating people at the start of May.

The vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association southern chapter, says that hotels along the west coast might reopen in September at the earliest. 

Opposition criticises Thai government over economic toll of Covid response

Opposition party Pheu Thai has condemned the government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis, saying total shutdown has had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. 

The party says the hard-hitting restrictions imposed across the country have led to high unemployment, with the International Monetary Fund saying Thailand’s economy is the worst-affected in the region.

They add that the IMF is predicting the Thai economy will shrink by 6.7% this year, saying the country has one of the world’s most negative GDP forecasts, despite appearing to have brought the virus under control quite quickly.

Ayutthaya welcomes visitors after restrictions lift

Ayutthaya is welcoming visitors again after months of empty temple grounds as another set of restrictions were lifted over the weekend, allowing temples and historical sites to open back up. 

The Tourism Council of Thailand president says reopening the historic sites and business for domestic tourists will give tourism operators in the area a “lifeline”. The Buddhist temples had the most tourists over the weekend.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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