When going on holiday, the weather plays an important role in terms of deciding when is the best time to go and visit a specific destination. The climate and weather in Thailand is tropical. It never really experience average temperatures below 24 degrees Celsius, the average water temperature is a steady 27/28 degrees Celsius and humidity is always present.
With popular Thailand travel destinations in mind, the country can in terms of weather be divided into three distinct parts. The west coast facing the Andaman Sea located in the Indian Ocean where places like Phuket and Phi Phi is located, the east coast or Gulf of Thailand and thirdly, the northern interior where popular destinations like Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai is located. Important to note is that the different parts of the country do not experience the same seasons during the same time of year. Rainy season in the north does not necessarily mean rainy season in the south.
The seasons and change thereof is largely influenced by the Monsoon winds blowing on shore from the west and the north eastern monsoon blowing in from China and Vietnam. The south-west or Indian Ocean Monsoon starts affecting the west coast from June/July, announcing the rainy season and carries on until October.
During this time short bursts of heavy rain is experienced, regularly interrupted by warm sunshine which normally lasts for a few hours at a time. This situation of course also brings with it an increase in humidity. Areas affected by the Indian Ocean Monsoon (June to October) include places like Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. The average temperature during this time is around 28 degrees Celsius.
However, Europeans may even find this time to be quite hot and if you do not mind the occasional shower or two it can still be a great time to visit this part of the country. Accommodation is cheaper and the best hotel deals in Phuket, Phi Phi and places like Krabi will be found during this time, plus you don’t have to share paradise with so many other tourists. The only real down side that needs to be kept in mind is that the sea is rougher, sometimes making boat and ferry travel difficult.
If you are therefore planning to visit multiple islands in this region and have to go from one to the other by boat or ferry, June to October could see boat schedules interrupted. If you will be staying in one location like Phuket, you can still have a wonderful holiday. The best time to visit Thailand locations on the west coast and Andaman Sea is November to mid May.
The Chinese Monsoon blowing in from the north-east affects the Gulf of Thailand which includes places like Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Bangkok. The influence of the Chinese Monsoon is not nearly as intense as on the Andaman side of the country and visiting coastal towns and islands in the gulf can be done any time of the year. If you intend to visit destinations on both the west and east coast, October/November to April sees the least rain.
If you however plan to visit islands in the gulf only, March and April are the hottest and driest months with average maximum temperatures varying between 30 and 36 degrees Celsius. Mid November to February is also a great time with moderate temperatures between 30 and 34 degrees Celsius, few showers and less humidity. September to mid November is the months you will experience regular showers and maximum temperatures of 32 degrees
To the northern interior where we offer great deals at 5 star hotels in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, temperatures are generally 3 to 5 degrees lower than the areas discussed above. Here the rainy season is experienced May to October. The time between November and May is the driest. March to May will see the highest temperatures (between 35 and 41 degrees Celsius) in these parts and slightly cooler dry conditions from November to February (30 to 35 degrees Celsius).
Generally speaking, if you plan to tour different parts of the country during your stay, November to April/May would be the best time to to go. It is high season and very favorable conditions on the Andaman coast. Since the Gulf of Thailand see less severe weather changes than on the west coast conditions there should be favorable during this time also.
Of course, the weather remains the weather and will always be unpredictable, especially in a tropical climate. You may experience a shower in the dry season of a particular part of the country or you may experience a week without rain in the wet season.
In short, there is no bad time to visit Thailand. Some like it dry and hot while others like it more moderate with a shower to freshen things up. We have indicated the climate and weather conditions in each part of the country frequented by tourists. Have a look at this to help decide what time is best for you.