THAILAND: TERRIFIC NO MATTER THE MONTH
Thailand offers everything winter-sun seekers could ask for, and a whole lot more. Not only is it home to warm seas and some of the world’s best beaches, but there’s also a vibrant nightlife and a huge number of cultural attractions, beautiful cities and historic landmarks to explore.
But when is the best time to visit Thailand? Should it be kept as the ultimate winter sun destination for warmth-starved Brits, or would you be better off planning your trip in the spring or the summer? This month-by-month guide will help you understand what to expect throughout the year.
WHEN TO VISIT THAILAND: WHICH SEASON IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Thailand’s seasons are very different to the seasons we’re used to in the UK. Broadly speaking, there are three seasons in Thailand: hot, cool and rainy, and they occur at different times depending on where you are in the country. Southern Thailand only has two seasons: dry and wet, with seasonal variations depending on the coast.
- Central and Northeast Thailand (Bangkok, Lopburi, Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi)
Hot season - February to June Rainy season - June to October Cool season - October to February
- Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chian Rai and Pai)
Hot season - February to April Rainy season - May to September Cool season - October to January
- Southern Thailand (Phuket, Koh Samui, Phi Phi, Krabi and Patong)
Dry season - January to August (on the Gulf Coast) and November to March (on the Andaman Coast) Wet season - September to December (on the Gulf Coast) and April to October (on the Andaman Coast)
Although the climate varies throughout Thailand, the best time to travel is generally between November and early April, during the cool and dry seasons. In the south, the west coast (the Andaman Coast) is favourable during our winter months, while the east coast (the Gulf Coast) is good most of the year round, with the lowest rainfalls in January and February.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THAILAND?
January is a peak time for tourism in Thailand, which means you will pay a little more for flights and accommodation, but you’re also guaranteed hot, sunny days on the southern beaches and cool temperatures that are perfect for trekking around and sightseeing in the central and northern areas.
In the south, tourists should head to coastal areas such as Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi. There they can enjoy some of the country’s best beaches and watch the Bay Regatta, which sees hundreds of yachts sail through the three provinces of Phuket.
February is another popular month for Thailand travel as the good weather continues in most areas. The Red Lotus Sea in Udon Thani is a popular sightseeing spot, and many visitors flock to see the lake bloom with beautiful pink lotus flowers.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a great place to ring in the Chinese New Year, while the southern resorts of Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket continue to attract sunseekers to the beaches.
In March, the temperatures start to rise, but it’s still considered peak season. Divers should head for the Similan Islands and other spots along the Andaman Coast, while the free three-day Pattaya International Festival attracts music lovers from around the world.
National Muay Thai Day, held on the 17 March, sees demonstrations and events held around the country to celebrate the traditional Thai martial art. The ancient city of Ayutthaya is probably the best place for fight fans to spend the day.
April is one of the hottest months, with even the most committed sun-worshippers slapping on the sunscreen and heading for the shade - but despite the heat, there are still plenty of things to do in Thailand.
Songkran Festival marks the beginning of the Thai New Year, with celebrations that include huge water fights all over the country. Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai are some of the best places to watch the celebrations and get involved.
Finding yourself in Phuket during April? We recommend staying at the Kata Palm Resort and Spa.
Still not sure when to visit Thailand? Although May’s another hot month, it has more than its fair share of offbeat festivals that will take you off the usual tourist routes.
Yasothon, in northeastern Thailand, hosts the Bun Bang Fai Festival, which sees locals launch rockets up to the skies in an attempt to induce the rain. You can also watch monk ordination rituals in Chaiyaphum or celebrate Visakha Bucha Day, the most significant annual event for Thai Buddhists, which usually falls in May.
In many places across the country, June is the month when the skies finally open and the showers begin. Thailand’s roads can be dangerous during this time of year, so take extra care in the wet.
Despite the showers, there’s still plenty of things to do in Thailand during June. You can admire the colourful fields of Siam tulips at Pa Hin Ngam National Park in Chaiyaphum, or head north to see the spiritual Phi Ta Khon Festival and join the ghostly figures who party and parade through the newly trendy Loei Province.
July tends to be a pretty wet and humid month wherever you are in Thailand, so make sure you carry a raincoat, an umbrella and plenty of mosquito repellant.
Despite the rain, this is an excellent month to visit the national parks, where the waterfalls are full and the landscapes are lusher than ever. If you’re in search of beaches, the islands of Koh Phangan, Hua Hin, Koh Samui and Cha Am can provide some sanctuary from the wet weather.
August is typically the wettest month of the year, so prepare with ponchos, umbrellas, slip-proof shoes and waterproof covers for your bags. With the weather so predictably wet, your best bet is to head indoors to Bangkok’s many temples, museums and malls.
If you’re in Phuket in August, you’ll be able to see the Por Tor Hungry Ghost Festival, with prayers and offerings made to Por Tor Kong - aka the King of Hell!
Here’s another of our Phuket favourites: Cape Panwa Hotel.
The rains start to ease in September all over Thailand, except on the Andaman Coast, where it’s the wettest time of the year. Long boat races are held across the country to make the most of the full rivers. Surat Thani, Singburi and Phitsanulok are just a few places where you can experience the roaring crowds, street food and carnival-like games that accompany them.
October marks the start of the cool season in central and northeastern Thailand, which is characterised by much cooler temperatures and dry weather. That makes it a great time to visit anywhere from Bangkok upwards.
The popular hippy hangout of Pai is a great place to visit in October before the crowds arrive, as is Nong Khai in the north, where you can see the mysterious Naga fireballs that erupt from the Mekong River. Many southern areas have large and colourful vegetarian festivals during October, with Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival being one of the best.
Our experts just love the Centara Kata Resort, located in Phuket - why not stay there on your next trip to Thailand?
November is one of the best times to visit Thailand. Most parts of the country are much cooler than they were in April and May but still get plenty of sunshine. That makes it a great time to get out and explore. The Andaman Coast is now at its best for beach lovers, while the Gulf Coast will still be wet and stormy.
One event not to miss is the picturesque festival of Loy Krathong, or the Thai Festival of Lights, which is celebrated around the country. People gather around lakes, canals and rivers and pay their respects to the goddess of the water by releasing beautiful lotus-shaped rafts decorated with candles, flowers and incense.
With great weather around almost all of the country, December is a peak month for tourism in Thailand. Temperatures are sunny but comfortably warm with very little rainfall, making it the perfect beach weather for many visitors.
Christmas is not widely celebrated in much of Thailand, but there are several other national holidays during December. If you want to get into the festive spirit, the Sakon Nakhon province, home to the country’s largest Christian population, has a number of Christmas activities between the 23rd and the 25th. New Year is a big deal all around Thailand, so you best get ready to do what they do best in the Land of Smiles and party!
TIE YOUR THAILAND TRAVEL TOGETHER WITH THESE HOTELS
- The Small Resort - Chic, charming and ideal for travellers looking for a more authentic accommodation experience while in Krabi.
- By The Sea Hotel - Looking to take it easy while in Thailand? This lovely hotel in Cape Panwa is the perfect place to kick back and relax.
- Amari Phuket - Tired of all the crowded public beaches? If you’re in Phuket, stay at this hotel for a private beach. It’s your own personal slice of heaven!
THERE ARE PLENTY OF THINGS TO DO IN THAILAND ALL YEAR ROUND
With so much to see and do and different weather conditions depending on the region, there really is no bad time to visit Thailand. The peak tourist season typically offers the best weather conditions, but at a price. If you’re looking to keep costs down but still want to see Thailand at its best, the cooler seasons could be the best option for you. No matter when you decide to go, one thing’s for sure: you’ll have the time of your life!
At Teletext Holidays, we offer an excellent range of long haul holidays to destinations such as Cancun, the Caribbean, Florida and Thailand. Our spectacular deals mean you can book cheap holidays to Thailand all year round, whether you want to visit during the summer months or for a splash of winter sun.