Thailand is one of the most sought-after destinations in Southeast Asia. It’s located pretty close to the equator, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the weather is perfect all year round.
The weather varies a lot throughout the year, and crowds and prices fluctuate too.
Thailand has three principal seasons:
- High Season: November to March
- Shoulder Seasons: April to June and the month of October
- Low Season: July to September
Most people don’t realize how big Thailand actually is. It stretches for around 1,000 miles from north to south, so the weather depends on where you are.
To illustrate my point, consider the month of October. On the Andaman coast that October marks the start of high sunny weather and high tourist season, while the monsoon season comes for visit on the Gulf side.
The Best Times to Visit Thailand for Great Weather
For ideal weather, you should visit Thailand during the dry season. The dry season ( for most of the country) kicks off in November and lasts until March or April. A major exception to this dry season is the Lower Gulf of Thailand where you will find the famous islands of Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, and Ko Tao which are the rainiest from October to December.
Overall November through February generally has the coolest most comfortable weather. With typical temperatures in the mid-80s, clear blue waters, only a slight possibility of rain, and stunning terrain that is still lush from monsoon season.
The best weather, principal Thai festivals, and the Christmas and New Year celebrations all take place during this time of year too, making it the busiest and most expensive season in Thailand. If you plan a trip for early November, you might be able to beat the crowds.
Although the weather gets hotter in March and into April, this is a good time to travel because the crowds have subsided from December to February. As people the crowds thin out, there are a few festivals, and summer rains that are still a few weeks away so April is an excellent time to travel.
The Best Times to Visit Thailand for Low Prices
Thailand is a reasonably priced travel destination throughout the entire year, but low/monsoon season is when tourists may get the biggest savings on lodging, flights, and tours (July through September).
Naturally, traveling during the rainy season is risky and rain storms can be brief intense bursts to days-long downpours that obstruct access to islands and boat service. If you aren’t worried about a few inconveniences during your travels, then low season might be a good time for you to go. It promises fewer people and significant savings for those who are adaptable and well-prepared.
To meet in the middle, consider visiting during the shoulder season (April, May, and June) when the rains are just afternoon thunderstorms that clear up really quickly. July brings more summer tourists and August tends to see cloudy skies while September is the wettest and least crowded month.
The Best Times to Visit Thailand for Festivals
The festivals in Thailand are certainly worth going to. They are so much fun! There are all kinds from early-spring fruit festivals to the Lopburi Monkey Festival in late November.
The beloved Lantern Festival (typically in November) in Yi Pen is where hundreds of rice paper lanterns are released into the sky, and Loy Krathong, where illuminated baskets are set into the water. Both of these festivals are experiences once in a lifetime experiences that you should really try to attend.
The Chinese New Year in January or February turns Bangkok’s Chinatown into a massive party with dragon dancers, drummers, and lanterns. Another major February event is the three-day Flower Festival in Chiang Mai — an incredible festival that showcases chrysanthemums and damask roses.
The Best Times to Go Island-hopping in Thailand
Island hopping is a must-do while in Thailand. Going from one island paradise to another is a highlight of Thai travel. The wet forecasts between May and October can put a damper on island fun, with some southern Andaman resorts even closing for the rainy season.
Time your bouncing around Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands, Ko Lanta, and other Andaman isles between late October and May or June.
It’s important to know that Ko Lanta basically shuts down during the monsoon season. You may be able to get there, but there are very few options for accommodations.
On the flip side, the Gulf of Thailand idylls Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and Ko Phangan are at their rainiest and windiest between October and December. So if you can’t island hop in one region, don’t let that get you down, you can just plan on going to the other cluster of beautiful islands!
June and July are busy months, as students from Australia and Europe are heading to Thailand in droves for the parties during their summer break.
Best time for Shopping in Thailand
No matter what time of year you visit Thailand, try to work at least one weekend in Bangkok so that you can go to the vast Chatuchak Weekend Market which is only open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays.
Chiang Mai also deserves a weekend visit timing in order to experience its Saturday and Sunday night markets. The Sunday market starts at Tha Phae Gate and goes all the way to Ratchadamnoen Road. The street is jammed packed with food vendors, artisan stalls, and massage stations.
To Sum Up
Thailand is a one-of-a-kind destination, and no matter what time of the year you are able to travel, there will be great weather in at least one part or two major regions of the country. Take into consideration your budget, the weather, and which islands you are most eager to see.