When is the best time to visit Thailand?
From afar, Thailand has an image of sun-kissed white sands, lush greenery and buzzing street food on warm nights 24/7, 365 days a year. But just like anywhere else, there are a number of seasonal variations in weather.
Most of Thailand has cool temperatures between Nov – March (winter and spring months) like most other SE Asian countries, making it one of the best times to visit the country. The rainy season in Thailand begins around June and continues intermittently until around October. This rain occurs in bursts of heavy intensity and stops just as suddenly as it started. During this rainy period, the temperatures stay static and the air remains humid.
January is one of the best months to visit Thailand with cool, dry weather throughout most parts of the country. It is an ideal month to plan a trip to one of the many beautiful beaches the country is known for – west coast beaches in the southern part of Thailand see a lot of sunshine while east coast beaches may experience a short shower or two as the rainy season draws to an end.
- Explore the Khao Sok National Park and meet its resident elephants
A month filled with sunshine, February is perfect for visiting Thailand’s beaches and indulging in outdoor activities like trekking and hiking. Beaches on both sides of the coast experience cool weather with temperatures hovering between 77°F – 82°F while Bangkok and central parts of Thailand experience slightly warmer temperatures (82°F – 86°F). Warm waters and great visibility make conditions perfect for diving in Phuket.
- Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Bangkok’s Chinatown
Temperatures hit 95°F in Bangkok accompanied by high humidity levels. Summer sets in firmly in Chiang Mai and other parts of Northern Thailand. In the south, temperatures are rising but lower than the northern and central parts of Thailand. Temperatures range between 79°F- 88°F in Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui and the warm waters are perfect for diving and snorkeling.
- Uncover the underwater treasures of Similan Islands
It gets HOT in April! Krabi has an average temperature of 93°F while further south thermometer readings range from 84°F – 92°F. East coast beaches provide the perfect respite with clear water conditions while west coast beaches experience some rain towards the end of the month. Tourists pour in to be part of the Songkran Festival.
- Spot whale sharks in Koh Samui
- Get wet at the Songkran Festival in Bangkok or Chiang Mai
May is still hot and many parts of Thailand experience intermittent showers, including the West coast beaches of Phuket and Krabi. For guaranteed sunshine, head to the beaches of Koh Samui and Khanom. The month of May is a great time to travel if you are looking for hotel deals and don’t want to deal with peak season crowds.
- Hop on a tuk tuk and zip around town
Temperatures start to drop as the rainy season starts to set in. Krabi and Phuket experience moderate amounts of rain. Chiang Mai is pleasant as are the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Khanom.
- Visit the temples of Chiang Mai
- Sign up for a Thai cooking session
- Unwind in the island of Koh Phangan
Temperatures range from 80°F – 90°F as the rainy season takes a firm hold in most parts of Thailand. The scenery turns green and lush and it is a great time to visit Thailand’s national parks. East coast beaches still enjoy clear, sunny days and islands like Koh Samui are a popular destination as the European and U.S summer vacation season kicks off.
- Head to Koh Tao – a diver’s paradise
- Experience the waterfall of Kanchanaburi in all its glory
Get your umbrellas and raincoats out as August is one of the wettest months in Thailand. Chiang Mai, northern and central parts of Thailand and the West Coast beaches of Phuket and Krabi experience heavy rainfall. East coast beaches are still dry and sunny with great diving conditions.
- Get back to nature at the Khao Yai National Park
- Kick back and relax in the fishing town of Hua Hin.
Thailand’s rivers and waterfalls are full and glorious as rain continues to pound most parts of the country. Bangkok, Phuket and Krabi receive heavy amounts of rain as do East coast beaches, such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. If you are looking for some beach side bliss, head to the beach resorts of Hua Hin and Cha Am that are still pleasant and experience sunny days.
- Be part of the Moon Festival celebrations in Bangkok
- Witness a fascinating boat race in Phitsanulok
The beaches of Thailand are still drenched in rain even as northern parts of the country start to experience drier weather as the month progresses. The end of October is one of the best months to visit Bangkok with the rains gone and the crowds yet to arrive. Temperatures in northern parts of Thailand are a pleasant 75°F – 80°F making it a good time to travel to the cultural hotspots of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
- Savor the flavors of the ‘Vegetarian Festival’ in Phuket
- Explore Bangkok’s vibrant nightlife
- Visit the White Temple at Chiang Rai
The crowds start to pour in as the rains recede and pleasant climes set in. The clouds clear up to reveal sunny skies on the west coast beaches. Koh Samui, on the east coast, is in the midst of the rainy season and is best avoided this time of the year.
- Experience the magical Loy Krathong floating lanterns festival in Chiang Mai
Mild temperatures, little to no rainfall and sunny days make December one of the best months to visit Thailand. The beaches are packed and conditions are perfect for water sports and under-water adventures. Bangkok and central Thailand sees an average temperature of 79°F while northern Thailand experiences slightly lower temperatures in the range of 73°F – 77°F.
- Bring in the New Year at electrifying Bangkok
- Discover the ancient ruins of the city of Ayutthaya
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Seasons in Thailand
Most of Thailand has cool temperatures between Nov – March (winter and spring months) like most other Southeast Asian countries. The rainy season in Thailand begins around June and continues intermittently until around October. This rain occurs in bursts of heavy intensity and stops just as suddenly as it started. During this rainy period, the temperatures stay static and the air remains humid.
Winter – November to March is the busiest time of the year to travel to Thailand with January being the most popular month among travelers. Temperatures are pleasant, humidity is low and the days are sunny.
Summer – April to June is hot and humid but the popular Songkran Festival and the promise of relatively empty beaches pull many tourists. The months of September and October are good for visiting the northern parts of Thailand including Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Rainy season – July to October – Heavy rains and high humidity levels across most parts of the country keep most tourists away.
Best Time to Visit Bangkok and Northern Thailand
Look in any Thailand travel guide and you can see that Thailand’s climate changes from the north to south, east to west. Depending on which area you are traveling to and when you might encounter monsoon rains or endless dry heat on your holiday. Here’s a simple guide to the weather and the best time to visit Thailand by region.
The big question for many people when they first approach a Thailand tour is when to visit Bangkok. Weatherwise, other than a high chance of sporadic tropical rain from July-September, most months of the year are sunny with temperatures ranging anywhere from 79-97°F. It’s important to note that whether or not rain is predicted, Bangkok is always warm/hot. The best time to visit Bangkok is between the relatively cooler months of November to January, especially during the holiday season in December.
Up north, the city of Chiang Mai has a very similar climate to Bangkok. Expect a tropical savanna climate with moderately warm days but do bear in mind that during certain summer months such as April temperatures can rise up to 101°F. For those who are sensitive to heat or have respiratory issues, it’s important to note that the months of March and April are when farmers burn the land to prepare for the next harvest and this adds to the heat and creates some smog. From July to October there are infrequent rainstorms. At night times, temperatures can drop, accompanied by a cool breeze.
Best Time to Visit Thailand’s Beaches
The southern provinces of Thailand, such as Krabi, Phang Na and the many islands including Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, are known for their rainforest climate. You can expect a lot of humidity, clear skies and warm weather almost all year round. The Southern Thai beaches are faced with two weather systems, depending upon the region you choose to visit (Gulf of Thailand Vs Andaman side), which bring the tropical rains at different times of the year, so it’s possible to enjoy Thailand’s beaches year-round.
Gulf of Thailand
The coastal areas and islands in the Gulf of Thailand on the east, like Koh Samui or Koh Phangan are best visited between January and August, when you will have sunny skies and dry weather.
West Andaman Coast Region
From October to April the west Andaman coast, including Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta offers the best chance of getting an all over tan. Overall, dry season generally lasts from December to March and there is little change in the temperature over the course of the year with the thermometer hovering anywhere between 86-94°F.
Though it’s said that Thailand has three seasons–cool, hot and rainy (with little real variance between them compared to Europe and America), the west Andaman coast only has two: hot and cool. From May to October, temperatures drop a small amount down to between 75-88°F with increased chances of rain but visitors are unlikely to notice a significant difference from one ‘season’ to another here.
“The best part about visiting Thailand is that it is a year-round beach destination. The East Coast beaches can be enjoyed from January to August while the West Coast beaches are simply gorgeous between October and April.”
What to Pack for Thailand
Overall, Thailand is a fairly conservative country. Collared shirts, polo T shirts, cargo shorts or semi casual pants are recommended for men. For women, shoulder covering T-shirts and tops, skirts, shorts and dresses work well. Outfits made from cottons, linens and other breathable fabrics are best given the high humidity levels in the country.
For the beach, resort or modest swimwear is acceptable. Pack your sun hats, glasses, sunscreen along with a nice pair of flip flops. Women are expected to cover up with a sarong or wrap and men with shorts and a T-shirt with sleeves when they step off the beach. Evenings at the beach can be cool so pack a sweater or cardigan.
While visiting temples and other religious attractions, it is expected that visitors dress modestly – shoulder covering outfits, knee or full length dresses and pants are advised. It might be helpful to carry a wrap or cardigan that can be used to cover the shoulders.
Visitors are expected to leave their footwear outside before entering a temple or house so slip-on shoes that are easy to put on and remove are recommended.
Northern parts of Thailand can get quite chilly in the evenings during winter months so pack a jacket if you are traveling to Chiang Mai or other towns in the vicinity between the months of November – February.
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Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of northern Thailand and is enveloped by a ring of mountains.
Koh Samui, located off Thailand’s eastern coast, is an island oasis of natural beauty with its white sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees.
Chiang Rai is a quaint 13th century town, surrounded by two mountain peaks, Doi Mae Salong and Doi Tung.
Enchanting Travels made planning this vacation a breeze. I didn’t stress at all during the trip, especially since there was also someone there to help with international transfers. All of our guides spoke English well and were quite accommodating.
Enchanting Travels employs people who really know how to listen to their clients and provide an exciting itinerary that is also safe and flexible. Everyone we worked with, from Brenda and Lavina to our guides Mr. Pongthep and Sangay, and our chauffeur Kengua, were professionals who seemed to really enjoy showing us their beautiful and exciting countries.
Go to Bhutan now! We don’t believe it is really going to stay this way for long. And it really is unique right now. Building laws require that dwellings be built in the traditional fashion and this makes for the most beautiful and original vistas. No one goes to Bhutan for the cuisine.
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