Known throughout the world for its welcoming people, spicy cuisine and outstanding beaches, Thailand offers the complete holiday package. The weather's not bad either, with much of country experiencing a typically tropical climate consisting of two seasons; dry and wet.
The exception to the rule is the southern regions with either side of the Thai and Malay Peninsular experiencing a typically monsoon climate, although to complicate things a little further, the two sides are out of synch with each other. This however does usually mean there is sun to be found on a beach somewhere.
You can visit Thailand throughout the year, however more rural parts become less accessible at the peak of the rainy season and winter weather brings higher sea's which has its baring on those idyllic beach days!
Where's the sun and sand?!
November to August: Hua Hin, Pranburi & Cha Am are good beach options almost all year round; the only significant rainfall is expected in September and October.
November to June: The Andaman Sea, on the fine beaches of Phuket, Krabi and Koh Lanta to name a few. Koh Chang and neighbouring Koh Kood also expect excellent weather.
December to August: The Gulf of Thailand, on the sands islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.
North & Central
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Issan
The dry season runs from November to May/June, with little if any rain expected throughout the region for much of this time. After the cooler winter months, from mid-January temperatures start to rise, peaking between March and May when it is not unusual for the mercury to break into the high 30’s and even 40 °C + especially in the central regions. These sky-high temperatures can last well into the rainy season, however with the rains comes cloud cover and a rise in the humidity, making travel less comfortable
(- continued:) North & Central
The south-west monsoon usually arrives between May and July. Initially the rain usually comes in the form of short downpours, lasting an hour or two, clearing the way for warm, clear skies. As the rainy season progresses, the rain can becomes heavier and more constant, traditionally reaching peak levels in August and September. In the early wet season (June to August) temperatures generally remain high (avg daily temp: 28 °C-34°C), although they drop dramatically in the winter months of October and November.
(- continued:) North & Central
By November, the rainfall and hot, sticky weather will have decreased significantly, with dry weather returning for the next six months. From October to January, temperatures can be relatively cool, especially in the north of the country at higher altitude (avg daily temp: 17°C -26°C). Throughout the region at this time of year, evenings can be chilly due to the lack of cloud cover and the temperatures relatively low.
Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Khao Lak, Koh Lanta
Thailand’s west coast has three defined seasons. From November to March, many consider conditions to be at their best with a cooling wind keeping the sky-high summer temperatures at bay and making the daytime more comfortable (avg daily temp: 26°C -32°C). Thanks to the breeze, the humidity levels are lower than later in the year.
From March through to May the temperatures rise (avg daily temp: 30°C-36°C) as the cooling winds depart and the humidity rises.
(- continued:) Andaman Sea
Come late May, monsoonal weather will usually have arrived, which is expected to last through to October. Peak rainfall levels are usually experienced between mid-September and mid-October. Outside of these months, the rain will often come in a short, heavy downpour, usually in the afternoon.
Gulf of Thailand
Koh Samui, Koh Phan Ngan, Koh Tao, Hua Hin, Pranburi, Cha Am, Koh Chang
Thailand’s east coast has three defined seasons. From December to February you can expect good weather, with little if any rain, and refreshing winds helping to keep temperatures more moderate. Because of the winds, the sea can be a little ‘dynamic’ creating ideal conditions for water sports enthusiasts.
From March, temperatures will start to rise (avg daily temp: 29°C - 35°C), usually reaching peak levels in April and May.
(- continued:) Gulf of Thailand
Whilst initially rainfall remains unlikely, by June a little rain becomes is expected, usually in the form of an hour-long afternoon downpour, clearing the way for more blue skies and bright sunshine. In late-August/September the monsoon is expected, bringing with it plenty of rainfall and a rise in humidity. Temperatures are still in the 30ºC's however and you can expect sunny spells interspersed with rainy periods. Rainfall usually peaks between October and November.
- July: Candle Ceremony
- 29th July: Asahara Bucha
- 12th August: Mother's Day
- 23rd October: Chulalongkorn Day
- November: Loy Krathong
- 5th December: King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday
- 10th December: Constitution Day
(Many of the festival dates change annually, often calculated according to the Buddhist lunar calendar).