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When Is The Best Time To Visit Thailand?

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Should I go to Thailand during the dry season or the wet? Consult our month-by-month guide

Let’s face it: Thailand’s a sizeable place. 

At 513,120km², it’s a little bit bigger than Spain – and it’s long too, with approximately 1,600km between its northernmost and southernmost tips. 

The truth is, you can experience all sorts of weather in Thailand thanks to its size and geographic diversity; from fertile floodplains and dewy mountains to tidal flats and rolling white beaches. 

Most of the country experiences a typically tropical climate which works out into two seasons: dry, and wet. 

And let’s be real for a mo – nobody visiting Thailand REALLY wants to get caught up in constant tropical monsoon weather. So when’s the best time to go? 

If you’re keen to visit this beautiful country without spending every moment in your mackintosh, find out when the best time to visit Thailand is in this guide to Thai weather. 

Visiting Thailand: is the weather better in the north or the south? 

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Thailand is during high season which kicks off in November and wraps up in February. 

Like we said though, Thailand’s looong, and the north and the south are VERY different – in terms of the things you can do AND the weather. 

The weather in North and Central Thailand

The north and centre of Thailand is completely landlocked so if you’re after white beaches and snorkelling adventures, you won’t find them there. We’re talking about places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, and Issan.

(These areas have SO much to offer though, and if you are considering travelling to Thailand, have a look at our tour which takes in the whole country – mountains, jungle, elephants and beaches included.)

Northern Thailand’s dry season runs from November to May each year and barely any rain tends to fall during these months. 

It’s cooler in the winter too, with fresher climes from October to early January, and temperatures only starting to rise from mid-January. They peak between March and May when the mercury can break into the high 30s and even 40°C+. Ouchy.

Then as the rainy season approaches towards June, the cloud cover usually leads to higher humidity levels which can be less comfortable. There tends to be a lot of rain from that time until October. 

Happy Elephant Chaing Mai

The weather in South Thailand

When we talk about South Thailand, we’re looking at places like Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Khao Sok – they’re all on the west coast. Then you’ve got other islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phan Ngan and Koh Tao on the east. 

The distinction is important because you can split the south into two when it comes to talking about the weather in Thailand. 

For some reason the west and east coasts are out of sync, which means you can usually find sun somewhere in Thailand, no matter what time of year it is. 

On the west coast, the most rain tends to fall between April and October, and diving and snorkelling are at their best from November to January.

Whereas on the east, the wettest months are September to December with rainfall peaking in November and at its lowest in January and February.

You can expect a lot of sunshine in the south during the rest of the year. Yes please.  

When is the best time to visit Thailand? 

Now that you’ve got a rough idea about the best times to travel in Thailand according to the weather, let’s dive into a month-by-month guide and get REALLY serious. 

Phuket Thailand

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in January

We like January in Thailand. The weather’s good, there’s little chance of rain and it’s sunny on the west coast and cooler in the north. 

That means you can enjoy the stunning beaches bathed in sunshine in the south (though you should avoid Koh Samui as it often gets really rainy there in January) – and you can take in the north nice and comfortably. 

Temperatures stick around the high 20s°C around Bangkok throughout January and the cooler, drier refreshing breezes make for perfect trekking conditions in the countryside around Chiang Mai. 

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in February

You can expect a few showers on the east coast towards the start of February, but it’s hot and dry throughout the rest of the country. In the north, the cool early mornings start warming up with little chance of rain in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. 

It’s the perfect time to be doing the sort of active, outdoor stuff we get up to on our Bucket List tour of Thailand – and it’s a happy break from the heat further south too. 

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in March

Thai summer’s starting now and you’ll notice the cool ebbing away and making way for daytime temperatures up to 35°C, even in the north.

There’s little chance of rain in Bangkok and central Thailand, so you’d want any excursions where you could be exposed to the heat to be a bit shorter – best avoid all-day outdoor visits at this time of year. 

Khao Sok National Park sees temperatures as high as 33°C with a fair amount of humidity. Expect blue skies, little chance of rain and beautiful temperatures of 26-31°C in the south.  The diving conditions remain perfect and you might even spot a whale shark during March.

Beach Thailand

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in April

Three words for April: HOT HOT HOT. 

Well it’s one word but you get the point. Sightseeing can be harder work in Bangkok and central Thailand in April where it’s hottest, so make sure you’ve got plenty of clean water to drink if that’s when you’re visiting. 

It’s slightly cooler weather in south Thailand in April with average temperatures around 29-34°C (…so by “cooler” we mean it’s still bloody hot).

Underwater visibility for diving tends to be best in April. 

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in May

Temperatures drop a little in May though the thermometer can still hit highs of 33-34°C. 

Most of the country sees a rise in rainfall in May; it tends to be fairly low and extremely sporadic to start with though so don’t expect any lengthy monsoons just yet. 

The east coast is your best bet for guaranteed sunshine and though there’s a possibility of rain almost everywhere, there tends to be fewer tourists so May is often a winner for travellers in Thailand. 

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in June

If you want to catch the last of the dry weather and avoid crowds, June’s the perfect time to visit Thailand. 

Most of the country is drenched in sunshine (and sometimes rain) during June. Temperatures stick up high around 29-31°C and the rain starts in short downpours which means you still get plenty of good weather throughout the day. 

The hills and countryside start getting greener and the humidity in Khao Sok National Park drops a little too. 

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in July

Expect more wind and rain towards the end of the month, when European schools start their summer holidays and tourism in Thailand tends to increase.

Temperatures drop a little to 28-29°C and you’ll experience more short, sharp showers every day as you get closer to August. 

The countryside in the north becomes greener and lusher with full, flowing rivers and waterfalls making for some stunning sights. 

But the heavy rains do make trekking harder, and you get a lot more rain in the south too, meaning you’re less likely to get out and experience those white, rolling beaches you’ve seen in plenty of pictures. 

Lanta beach

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in August

It’s raining, it’s pouring.

The north of Thailand, Chiang Mai in particular, gets its heaviest dowsing of rainfall in August, and the rest of Thailand is at its wettest now too. You can expect daily downpours almost everywhere you go, iconic beach scenes included.

It’s still nice and sunny on the east coast but humidity remains high and temperatures do drop a little (only as far as an average of 26-30°C though!).

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in September

If you thought August was wet, wait for September, Thailand’s peak month for rainfall countrywide. 

You can’t get away from the wet weather and can expect a daily dowsing wherever you go, with plenty of thrilling thunderstorms and high humidity to boot. 

Temperatures keep dropping, with an average of around 25-29°C (not to be sniffed at!). 

You won’t have much fun on the beaches in the south in September and increasingly heavy rain means the seas get rougher and diving visibility is worse. 

It’s good news for Khao Sok National Park though, where the cool, lush rainforest will give you more chance of spotting wildlife. There are fewer visitors about too!

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in October

The rain continues in October and temperatures drop off to more comfortable levels like 24-27°C around Chiang Mai and northern Thailand. 

The humidity’s lower too and with less chance of rain towards the end of the month, this can be a great time to go. 

Bluer skies and drier days are just around the corner for the west coast, though October tends to be the wettest month for Khao Sok National Park. 

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in November

Finally, humidity levels drop and the rain starts to recede. 

The temperatures remain fairly low by Thai standards, and it’s a great time to visit the northern district and Chiang Mai in particular. It’s mostly dry and sunny up there with temperatures that make for more comfortable adventuring outdoors. 

Pack a light jumper for the evenings though, when it gets a little chillier.

The east coast gets more rain than the west in November, so if you’re after a little R&R on the beach, make sure you head to the likes of Phuket and Khao Lak rather than Koh Samui or Koh Pha Ngan. 

Lanta viewpoint trek

Whats the Weather like in Thailand in December

Minimal rainfall, gorgeous temperatures, lots of sunshine: travel in Thailand in December is goooood. 

The humidity levels drop right off and central Thailand and Bangkok experience temperatures around 26°C, with the north a little cooler at 23-25°C.

If sun’s your thing, pretty much all of the beaches in southern Thailand – east and west – see blue skies and temperatures as high as 31°C every day. The south east still feels a few drops of rain, but there’s plenty of sunshine between the showers too. 

Diving in December is ideal around Phuket and Khao Lak (find out more about diving in Thailand with The Bucket List Company HERE). 

Is UK winter the best time to visit Thailand? 

So there you have it, you know what’s hot and what’s not throughout the year, and you’ve probably got a better idea of which season would suit you best. 

It goes without saying that our summer months are Thailand’s wettest, so if you’re not keen on the idea of a LOT of rain, don’t go then. It might be quieter in terms of tourism, but the rain can make sight-seeing and adventuring more than a little bit tricky. 

For us, the beautiful temperatures and sunshine from December to May make these months the best time to visit Thailand. But if one thing’s for sure – there’s no chance this AMAZING country will ever disappoint, no matter when you go. 

If you’d like to find out more about taking in the north AND the south and experiencing the most life-changing, awe-inspiring Thai adventure out there, have a look at our Thailand trip page here. 

Ready to tick something extraordinary off your Bucket List? If you don’t do it now, will you ever?

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