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When is the best time to go to Thailand?
The best time to travel to Thailand is between late November and early April when there is little rain and lots of sun, but the temperature is cooler. For swimming and sunbathing on Thailand’s best beaches, January to April is ideal; for tours and sightseeing, the best months are December, January, and February. Most of Thailand experiences a rainy season from July to October
Thailand – When To Visit
- Best Time for Great Weather: January to April
- Best Time for Good Weather: December to August
- Best Time for Diving: November to April (west coast), May to August (east coast)
- Best Time for Surfing: April to October (only west coast)
- Best Time for Sightseeing: November to February
- Best Time for Honeymoon: January to April
- Best Time for Nightlife: December and January
- Best Time for Saving Money: May to September
- Best Time for Beaches (Phuket Coast): late November to April
- Best Time for Beaches (Koh Samui Coast): late December to May
- Best Time for Chaing Mai (Northern Thailand): November to February
- Best Time for Bangkok: November to March
When is the Best Time to Visit Thailand?
Thailand is a great year-round destination, but the best weather is usually between November and April. The climate varies between the east and the west coast. September brings the heaviest rainfall on the west coast, while the east coast gets its highest rainfall in November. Summer is from April to June, and the rainy season is from July to October in most of Thailand.
- Best Time to Visit Thailand for Good Weather: Being a tropical country, Thailand is warm through the year, with winters having average highs of 26-28ºC, and summers, 32-40ºC. The north and west have their rainy season from June to October, and the east from November to March. The best weather is usually found in December, January, and February.
- Best Time to Book Hotels for Thailand: The Best Hotels in Thailand get booked early – especially for the Chinese New Year, Kin Jay (vegetarian) festival, and the months of December and January. Try to reserve rooms at least 2-3 months in advance for peak season, and about 1-2 months in advance for the low and shoulder seasons.
- Best Time for Surfing: The best time for surfing in Thailand depends on whether one is planning to go to the east coast or the west. Surfing is especially great for beginners and long boarders as the waves are smaller (about 3-10 feet). April to October is a great time to surf on the west coast, and October to December on the east coast. However, many islands have very shallow coastal reef in places, which can be dangerous below mid-tide.
- Best Time for Snorkeling and Swimming: Great swimming and snorkeling is possible year-round in Thailand, except on days when there are thunderstorms during the rainy season. November to April is probably the best time, especially around the islands in the Andaman sea.
- Best Time for Hiking: The cooler months of October to February are preferable for Thailand’s incredible hiking/trekking. Though hiking can be done year round, summers can get very hot here, so pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Starting the hike early in the morning is advisable to beat the afternoon heat.
- Best Time for Whale and Dolphin Watching: The Gulf of Thailand on the east coast is where whales mostly reside. Bryde’s whales come close to Bangkok’s shores between September and December to feed on the abundant anchovies. Irrawaddy (river) dolphins with rounded foreheads can also be seen splashing in the Chao Phraya river at this time.
- Best Time for Fishing: One can fish in Thailand through the year, with different fish biting at different times around the large coastline and off the islands. Fishing in the rainy season is ideal. Thailand is especially known for its freshwater fish. Apart from the common species of fish, native species such as Giant Mekong Catfish, Barramundi, Siamese Carp, and Giant Snakehead are very popular. Fishing spots range from fishing parks to special resorts, ponds, lakes, dams, and rivers.
- Best Time for Discounts: Booking early and catching mid-week flights would get the best discounts. Usually, the best rates for flights and hotels are during the rainy season. March to May, September, and October usually find great rates. The annual grand sales in the mega malls run from mid-June to mid-August, which is actually a busy travel season.
- Best Time for Avoiding Crowds: The quietest months for tourists are April, May, September, and October. Late August is also fairly quiet except for European travelers.
- Best Time for a Destination Wedding: With its tropical beaches and sunny weather, Thailand is a great year-round wedding destination, except during the peak rainy season. Rains tend to fall in short bursts that quickly dry up in the beginning and the end of the monsoon. November to February is the best (and safest) time to get married on the west coast, and June to September on the east coast.
- Best Time for Inter-Island Cruises: September to December is the best times to spot whales off the sides of your ship, but November to January is also the most expensive time to visit. The start and end of the rainy season are the best time to get deals on cruises.
- Best Time for Buying Airline Tickets: Airline ticket prices depend on the season, festivals, events, and trade fairs. Generally, booking one to three months in advance offers the best rates, with six weeks prior giving the optimum deals. Exceptions are when booking for Chinese New Year and December-January. For these periods, it’s best to book as early as possible.
When To Visit Thailand
The Best Time to Visit Bangkok
Bangkok is a great metropolis worth visiting year-round, except in September and October, when the rains are heaviest. However, November to February is a great time to visit as the rains have receded and the weather is cooler (average max temperature ranges between 27°C to 29°C). Visiting in the rainy season is a good idea to get excellent deals on hotel rooms and enjoying the many indoor activities that the city has to offer, in case it is pouring outside. The annual “Amazing Grand Sale” is held from mid-June to mid-August, and shoppers can find incredible deals, including discounts up to 80%, on clothes, electronics, jewelry, and more. April to June are the city’s hottest months, and July and August are the wettest; both periods seeing thinner crowds and lower airfare and accommodation rates. The high season also coincides with New Year’s Day as well as the Chinese New Year. The 9-day Kin Jay (Vegetarian) festival in September/October is also very popular, when all of Thailand observes the Chinese cleansing festival, and several stalls and restaurants put up yellow flags to announce their participation by serving only vegan food.
The Best Time to Visit Phuket
The best time to visit Phuket is from November to April, when the weather is cool and ideal for beach and water activities. Phuket’s daily highs range from the 31°C to 34°C year round, warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, but only slightly. May through October is the monsoon season, with hotels offering excellent rates, though the water can be dangerous at times when the weather is stormy, especially on the west coast. The east coast is relatively calmer through the year. December through March is high season, with maximum occupancy and rates. The low season falls from May through October, when humidity is really high, leading to low room rates. September to December is the best time to catch whales in the Gulf of Thailand, off Phuket’s east coast.
Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai
The peak tourist season in Chiang Mai is from December to January, so the months before and after, i.e. November and February, are the best months to visit the hill station to enjoy the weather and avoid the crowds. The cool and pleasant weather is complemented by light breezes during these four months, which is perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities. Temperatures range between 10°C and 30°C during winter. Chiang Mai has three seasons: summer (March to May), monsoon (June to October), and winter (November to February). Temperatures can go up to 40°C in the summer, and it gets very hot and humid. The monsoon months are slightly cooler, and the short bursts of heavy rains can give a cool respite. However, the thin crowds and the freshly washed lush green vegetation make it a pleasant time to visit. Chiang Mai comes alive during Thai festivals, and especially during the Flower Festival (first weekend in February), Songkran (mid-April), and Loi Krathong (usually in November).
Best Time to Visit Krabi
Krabi is located in southern Thailand, and offers exceptional natural beauty—national parks, virgin beaches, islands that can only be reached by boat, and relatively less commercial tourism. November to March is the best time to visit Krabi, with the monsoon just over and the summer about to set in. Temperatures range between 22°C to 32°C. Unlike the rest of Thailand, Krabi has a more tropical climate which can be described as dry (December to April) or rainy (May to November), with the highest rainfall occurring in September and October. Compared to most places in Thailand, summers are not that hot in Krabi, with the highest average temperature seldom crossing 32°C. Traveling in the rainy season can either be a dampener with heavy showers, or one can get lucky and have a sunny day with cheap prices and an entire island to themselves. November to April is also the ideal time for water-sports like wind-surfing, kite surfing, and wake-boarding, while scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming can be enjoyed through the year, whenever the waters are calm.
Thailand Travel Seasons
- High Season (November-April): Late November to early April is Thailand’s high season, especially around the Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year holidays. Flights and hotels are usually the most expensive then. Hotels usually have stricter stay, deposit, and cancellation policies around these holidays. It is best to plan and book early for travel in the peak season.
- Shoulder Season (April-May and September-October): The two shoulder season periods are an excellent time to visit Thailand, when the monsoon is either just setting in or leaving, and the temperature is not very hot. Prices are lower, and beaches and attractions are less crowded. The occasional short or heavy shower will cool the temperature, though the water will be off-limits if there is a storm. It’s also a great time to go surfing or diving on the west coast of Thailand.
- Low Season (May to September): Summer in Thailand is very hot and humid (temperatures can go up to 45°C), but it’s still a great time to enjoy the huge selection of indoor activities the country has to offer. During the rainy season, it can rain virtually every day, and afternoons can get almost intolerable in the summer. The stormy weather can also hamper diving, surfing, and other water activities. However, it’s very cheap to travel during this time, bookings can be done last minute, and one can even negotiate prices at the hotel upon arrival. The empty beaches and public attractions allow tourists to have a more leisurely vacation.
Thailand Weather by Month
Temperatures in tropical Thailand are warm all year long. The rainy season varies in different parts of Thailand, with the rare big storm seen on the west coast in August-September. The north eastern rainy season is from November to April, and the south western, from May to October. Brief and light showers occur regularly everywhere. Southern Thailand gets the most rain, northernmost point gets the lowest, and central Thailand, including Bangkok, is usually the hottest.
- Thailand Weather in January: January is one of the very few cool months in Thailand, with temperatures hovering between the low 20s (ºC) and low 30s (ºC) in most places, and Chiang Mai being the coldest with a minimum temperature of 10-15ºC. Rain is scarce. This is peak holiday season in the country, and everything is full. A light sweater or jacket is advisable in the evenings. (Average water temperature 28ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in February: The average temperatures in February are similar to January, around 22-32ºC. The chances of rain in the north increase while they recede in the south. The weather is excellent in southeast and southwest Thailand, with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s. (Average water temperature 28ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in March: March is the precursor to summer in Thailand, and temperatures start rising rapidly. It is also the beginning of shoulder season, especially on the islands, so crowds start thinning out. It’s very dry, and a great time to scuba dive off the west coast. (Average temperature 26-31ºC, though it can go up to 35ºC in the daytime. Average water temperature 29ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in April: Hot and oppressive due to the high humidity. The south and east coast could be a little cooler, and occasional showers on the west coast as monsoon approaches. (Average temperature 29-34ºC, but can go over 35ºC in several places. Average water temperature 30ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in May: May can be slightly cooler, but just as oppressive, and strong bursts of rain increase humidity drastically. Crowds are thin despite plenty of bright, sunny days. Northern and eastern Thailand are almost dry. (Average temperature 28-34ºC, but can go over 35ºC in several places. Average water temperature 30ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in June: The monsoon covers almost the entire country, with a high chance of rain on the west coast. Weather is otherwise similar to May’s. (Average temperature 28-34ºC, but can go over 34ºC in several places. Average water temperature 30ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in July: Rains are heavier and the temperature dips slightly, with the west coast getting more showers than the east. (Average temperature 33ºC. Average water temperature 29ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in August: North and west Thailand get their highest rainfall, while the east coast is relatively sunny and dry in August. Humidity levels are fairly high. (Average temperature 32ºC. Average water temperature 29ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in September: Beach conditions are poor throughout the country due to heavy rains and stormy seas. Unsurprisingly, crowds are thin, and accommodations can be rented at a steal. (Average temperature 32ºC. Average water temperature 29ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in October: Rains and humidity levels start decreasing, and northern Thailand starts feeling the cool impact of the onset of winter. The south is still relatively hot and humid. (Average temperature 30ºC. Average water temperature 29ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in November: Eastern islands like Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan have their wettest month, but the rest of the country is pretty much dry and pleasant. This is also the start of the peak travel season in Thailand. (Average temperature 30ºC. Average water temperature 29ºC.)
- Thailand Weather in December: December is one of the best months to visit Thailand, as rains are minimum and days are sunny and pleasant. The southeast experiences rainfall, but the west coast is ideal in this period. A light sweater might be advisable in the evenings in the north. (Average temperature 30ºC. Average water temperature 28ºC.)
Thailand Events and Festivals
Thailand in January
- Chinese New Year: Celebrated in January or February, depending on the Lunar calendar, it’s not a national holiday in Thailand, but the streets still turn red and gold as the local Chinese population celebrates it with pomp and glory, with lots of fireworks, martial arts demos, traditional Chinese food, big sales, music, and lion and dragon dancing.
- National Children’s Day (Wan Dek): Thailand considers children to be the nation’s most important resource, and the second Saturday in January is celebrated as Children’s Day in their honor. Places like museums, zoos, amusement parks, etc. and even public transport are discounted or free for children, and fun activities are offered in malls and parks.
- Full Moon Party: Held every month on Phangan island to celebrate the full moon, this all-night beach party features live DJs playing mostly EDM and frenzied dancing and drinking. This event is not family-friendly.
Thailand in February
- Makha Bucha Day: An important Buddhist holiday, it is celebrated in February or March, depending on the full moon day of the 3rd lunar month. Worshippers offer prayers, give alms to monks, meditate, and even sleep in the temples, and candlelight processions are held after sunset. Wat Lat Phrao in Bangkok is an excellent place to experience this religious holiday.
Thailand in March
- Kolour in the Park: Held on the first weekend in March at Wake Park in Bangkok, the event is marked by techno and house music by international DJs, along with lots of arts and crafts workshops, food stalls, and water activities.
- National Elephant Day: Every year, Thailand’s revered elephants are celebrated on March 13. These mighty beings are offered fruits and sugarcane in parks, zoos, and wherever they are found, and blessing ceremonies are held by Buddhist monks to bring good luck.
- Bangkok International Fashion Week: Thailand’s premier fashion event is organized in the third week of March by the Siam Paragon, Siam Discover, and Siam Center malls in Bangkok, and features the latest creations from leading Thai designers and brands. Shoppers can find discounts galore too.
Thailand in April
- Chakri Day: This is an important day celebrating the founding of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782, when Bangkok was declared as the capital. Banks, government offices, and schools are closed, but normal businesses remain open. The Royal family organizes religious ceremonies to commemorate all past Kings of the dynasty.
- Songkran: Celebrated from 13-15 April to mark the Thai New Year, Songkran is an experience not to be missed. The festival is marked by water fights everywhere, with people drenching each other using water pistols, hoses, and even buckets of water. Many even throw a local white powder (din sor pong) on each other. Locals visit temples and give food to the monks.
Thailand in May
- National Labour Day: This international holiday is on May 1, and while most private businesses and banks remain closed, some government departments do remain open.
- Royal Ploughing Ceremony: Held in early May, with the exact date decided by Buddhist monks, this day marks the beginning of the rice growing season. The King offers a ceremonial sword and ring to the Lord of Harvest at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
- Visakha Bucha Day: Falling in May or June (depending on the Lunar calendar), this important Buddhist holiday marks the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. Followers worship at temples, offer food to monks, and follow the 5 precepts of Buddhism, including abstaining from alcohol.
Thailand in June
- Hua Hin Jazz Festival: Usually held for 2 days in June, it showcases local and international musicians and groups on special stages erected on the beach, and attracts over 15,000 visitors.
- Amazing Thailand Grand Sale: Held every year from mid-June to mid-August, this nationwide event offers terrific discounts all around. Malls, shops, hotels, spas, restaurants, airlines, markets, and entertainment centers all take active part to draw customers with bigger and better offers.
Thailand in July
- Asanha Bucha Day: Another important Buddhist holiday, usually falling in mid-July or August, it marks the day Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon in India. Buddhists offer prayers at the temple and make merit, and candlelight processions are held in several places. Alcohol sales are restricted.
- Candle Festival: Coinciding with Asanha Bucha Day, this 2-day festival is marked by a grand candle parade. The most popular city for this festival is Ubon Ratchathani in northeastern Thailand, where artists from all over the world come to take part in the candle carving competition. There are plenty of markets, food stalls, and musical performances.
Thailand in August
- Mother’s Day: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s birthday on August 12 is celebrated as Mother’s Day across Thailand. Apart from alms-giving, the day is marked with decorations, lights, flowers, and fireworks.
- Ghost Festival (Phi Ta Khon): Usually celebrated in August, this 3-day festival recreates the legend of a party which the dead and the living wished to attend. A parade where everyone dresses up as a ghost is held on the first day, pageants and music shows on the second, and religious Buddhist ceremonies on the last day. Dan Sai town is the most popular place to experience this festival.
Thailand in September
- Mid-Autumn Festival: Also known as the Chinese Moon Cake festival, it is celebrated during full moon in the 8th lunar month to mark the end of the harvest season. Sweet round cakes filled with salted egg yolks, also known as moon cakes, symbolize this festival.
- International Thai Film Festival: Held every September in Bangkok, this festival showcases the best of Thai and international cinema. Also included are panel talks, workshops, networking events, and an awards ceremony.
- Kin Jay Vegetarian Festival: Falling between late September and mid-October, this festival celebrates the 9 Taoist Emperor Gods, and is marked by cleansing of the body and spirit by avoiding meat, fish, alcohol, and drugs. Vendors put up yellow flags and wear yellow aprons to announce that their food is completely vegan. This is the best time to enjoy authentic Thai food for vegans and vegetarians especially.
Thailand in October
- Awk Phansa: Awk Pansa marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent period. People make offerings to monks and visit temples to make merit. Long boats are filled with rice sweets and launched in the evening, and boat races are also held in several places.
- Masters Tour of Chiang Mai: 4 days of cycling races across various age and difficulty categories, held annually in Chiang Mai. Around 250 multi-national cyclists take part, and thousands come to cheer them on.
- BangkokThai International Film Festival: Usually held in mid-October in Bangkok, this very popular film festival showcases hundreds of international feature films, short films, and documentaries, and concludes with an awards function spanning several categories.
- Chonburi Buffalo Racing Festival: This 140-year-old week-long festival is held annually in October in Chonburi, about an hour from Bangkok. Apart from buffalo races, there are buffalo beauty pageants and several other contests.
- King Chulalongkorn Day: On October 23, Thailand commemorates the passing away of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) by putting flowers and garlands on his memorials and especially his equestrian statues. It is a national holiday.
- Halloween: Halloween is not a Thai holiday, but due to the high number of expats and foreign tourists, several bars, restaurants, and hotels host costume parties, dinners, or live music on October 31 each year.
Thailand in November
- Thailand Brew Fest: Usually held in November in Bangkok, there is music, fun, games, food, and over a hundred varieties of craft beer for everyone.
- Laguna Phuket Triathlon: Asia’s longest-standing triathlon is held annually at Laguna Phuket resort. It features multiple individual and team relay races, and attracts athletes from around the world.
- Bangkok Marathon: Extremely popular annual marathon held in the heart of Bangkok, with a unique midnight start for the full marathon. All races end by 6 am.
- Yee Peng Lantern Festival: Just prior to Thailand’s famous Loy Krathong Festival, Yee Peng is held in Chiang Mai where people release thousands of paper lanterns with candles in the center into the sky. The event is also marked with a parade, tradition Thai dancing, live music, and handicraft-making.
- Loy Krathong Festival: Possibly the most picturesque festival in Thailand, people release small boats made of banana leaves and decorated with flowers and a candle in the center into ponds, lakes, or rivers as a symbolic gesture to wash away their sins. Thousands of flickering lights floating quietly in the water make this a truly magical sight.
- Lopburi Monkey Festival: To commemorate the importance of monkeys in Lopburi’s (150km from Bangkok) tourism industry, a feast is held for the long-tailed residents of this city each year in November. The festivities are marked by dances and live performances, and tables of fruits, salads, and sticky rice are laid out for the monkeys.
Thailand in December
- Father’s Day: December 5 marks the birth anniversary of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday, and is a national holiday. Festivities and events mark the occasion as Thais celebrate their beloved late King’s birthday, whom they affectionately even think of as their father.
- Wonderfruit Festival: Held in Pattaya, this is Thailand’s answer to Glastonbury (UK) and Woodstock (US), and celebrates music and food. Family-friendly event, with Camp Wonder featuring several activities and even nannies for kids.
- Christmas: Christmas is peak holiday season in Thailand, and hotels are filled to the brim. The highly-decorated malls offer several discounts and promotions, and twinkling lights are everywhere.
- New Year’s Eve: All tourist places turn into party hotspots on New Year’s eve with shows, galas, musical events, and dinners everywhere as locals and foreigners alike bring in the new year.
Top Travel Sites for Thailand – My Recommendations
Best For Flights: Kayak.com • Skyscanner • Momondo
Kayak is the easiest to use. Skyscanner finds the cheapest rates. Momondo is the best for first and business class tickets.
Best For Renting A Car: Rentalcars.com
Great prices from all the biggest rental companies. Easy to use, safe, and reliable.
Best For Hotels: Booking.com
Awesome rates and great for vacation planning. All price ranges. Luxury hotels, 5-star boutiques, cheap hostels, house and apartment rentals.
Best For Tours: GetYourGuide.com
My favorite for booking tours and private tour guides.
Best for Travel Insurance: InsureMyTrip
Compare costs from over 30 insurance providers.
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