What is the best time to visit Thailand?
When they hear Thailand, most people think of perfect white beaches, beautiful temples and elephants. From the islands in the south to the mountains in the north, Thailand has something for everyone. And not to mention the delicious food! That’s why everyone should visit Thailand.
But the climate in Thailand means that it is not such a great destination year round. So when is a good time to visit Thailand? Here is what you need to know to pick the best time of year to visit Thailand.
The best time to visit Thailand: weather
Thailand has a tropical monsoon climate. This means that instead of four seasons, Thailand has three: a rainy season, a cool season and a hot season.
Rainy season in Thailand
The rainy season runs roughly from May to October. A southwest monsoon gathers moisture from the sea in the Gulf of Thailand. This moisture then rains down in heavy, violent downpours. It doesn’t constantly rain during the rainy season, but rather in short bursts, especially at night. The weather is still relatively good in May, but the rain worsens during summer (June/July) and turns everything to mud in September.
Cool season in Thailand
The rainy season is followed by the cool season, from November to February. But cool is a relative term because it can still be 30°C during the day. If you want to escape the winter cold, this is the best time to visit Thailand. The weather will be dry and the temperatures most pleasant. This is also when the nature in Thailand is at its most vibrant and beautiful.
Hot season in Thailand
From March to May temperatures rise during the hot season in Thailand. A lack of rainfall makes the land dry, dusty and barren. Temperatures rise to 35°C during the day. If you don’t mind the heat, this can be a good time to visit Thailand. But be careful in the sun and make sure you stay hydrated.
The shape of the country also plays a role in weather conditions. The climate differs between north, central and southern Thailand. So we will give you a bit more detail on the best time to visit Thailand for three popular locations.
The best time of year to visit Bangkok
Bangkok is located in central Thailand, close to the coast. Because of its size, temperatures tend to be hotter in Bangkok than the surrounding countryside. The best time to visit Bangkok is during the cool season, from late October to early January. During the hot season temperatures in the city can rise to 40°C, which makes it harder to undertake activities. One thing worth braving the heat for is Songkran festival or Thai New Year. During Songkran, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket host enormous public water fights, accompanied by music, food, and drinking. No one is safe from being splashed by water guns, bucket, and even elephants!
A few hours from Bangkok lies Hua Hin, where foodies can rejoice at the Hua Hin food festival in August. Visitors can taste a variety of local dishes created specifically for the event.
At the end of the rainy season, Thai people in the ancient city of Sukhothai celebrate Loy Krathong, the festival of light with candles floating down the river.
The best time to visit northern Thailand
The weather in Northern Thailand tends to be a bit cooler than the rest of the country, especially in the mountains. The hot season is shorter, from March to May, and less humid than in the south. Farmers in northern Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar start burning their fields during this time, causing a lot of air pollution. The best time to visit northern Thailand is during the cool season from October to February. That is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of northern Thailand. Temperatures are good for hiking, skies are clear, the rice fields are green, and everything is in bloom. Aside from Songkran in April, you can also visit the beautiful lantern festival (Yi Peng) in Chiang Mai in November.
The best time to visit beaches in Thailand
Thailand is famous for its perfect beaches with white sand and blue water. The coast of southern Thailand is sprinkled with pretty islands on either side. You can find great beaches on both sides, but the weather differs a lot.
The best time to visit Thai islands on the east coast is from December to February. During that time the temperature is lower, the skies are clear, and there is a pleasant breeze, which is also great for water sports. On the west coast, the best time to visit the beaches is from November to March. It won’t be too hot; there is a bit of wind, and the humidity is low.
If you are visiting the south of Thailand in February, make sure you don’t miss Naga Fest in Krabi. This cultural fest combines Jazz music, good food and lots of activities. And Krabi also has some of the best beaches of Thailand to recover on from the festivities.
Near the end of the rainy season, in October, Phuket gears up to celebrate the Vegetarian Festival. As the name suggests, this is the perfect place to taste yummy vegetarian Thai food. But this festival is not for the faint of heart, as many locals mutilate themselves in religious ceremonies and parades.