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When should I visit Thailand?

Thailand's climate

Thailand has a typically hot and humid tropical climate, with three seasons in the north and two in the south. In the central, north and north-eastern regions the cool season is from November to February, the hot season runs from March to June and the rainy season lasts from July to October. However, Thailand's southern coast has just two seasons - wet season and dry season.

The monsoon rains of the wet season affect the islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea at different times of year. So while it might be raining in Ko Samui, there could be blazing sunshine on the other side of the Malay Peninsula in Phuket or Ko Phi Phi, for instance.

On the east coast and Gulf of Thailand islands, rain falls between July and December, though there are still plenty of sunny days at this time of year, punctuated by heavy showers. The west coast and Andaman Sea islands have a heavier wet season between April and October but, again, showers are intermittent and it's still possible to enjoy warm weather and sunshine.

When is it best to travel?

If you want to visit the beautiful coconut islands in the southern Gulf of Thailand - Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao - the best time to go is during the hot and dry season from February to late June. From July to December, the islands experience sporadic rain showers, though these tend to pass quickly. Late in the year, there are sometimes strong winds, so that good conditions for boat trips, snorkelling and diving can't be guaranteed.

For the islands of the Andaman Coast, the best time to visit weather-wise is between December and March, though accommodation tends to fill up quickly at this time of year. The rainy season runs from April to October, though there are still windows of sunny weather.

In Thailand's central and northern regions, it's recommended to travel between November and February when the weather is generally cooler and dryer. Like all tropical countries, the climate is warm all year round, but there's less humidity, making it a good time for sightseeing. Temperatures begin to rise in March and by the end of April, exploring the country's attractions can be uncomfortable in the sweltering heat.

Festivals

North-east Thailand, also known as Isaan, is a great place to go if you want to experience traditional Thai festivals. Time your trip to coincide with one of these colourful and lively celebrations and you will get an instant hit of Thai culture and spectacle that few visitors get the chance to see. The Bun Bung Fai rocket festival in May sees the launching of myriad home-made rockets accompanied by traditional music, dance and costumed parades. Dating back to the pre-Buddhist era, the festival started as an ancient fertility rite and is most famously celebrated in Yasothon.

Every July, Loei province celebrates the intriguing Phi Ta Khon ghost festival, when towns and villages all over the region hold various games and processions. Later in the year, Surin province hosts the annual elephant round-up, usually on the third weekend of November. The tournament showcases the local tradition of catching and training wild elephants, and there are staged battles, games and parades celebrating the elephants' power and skill.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 262728303130302929292828
Minimum °C 212123252626262525252423
Maximum °C 313233343534333332323232
Sunshine (hours) 899887665568
Rain (cm) 0011376781282

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