What is the best time to visit Thailand?

People often ask me when they should come visit Thailand. Generally speaking, a trip is worthwhile at any time of the year. Every season has its own set of cultural events and you can hardly get bored with all the available activities. But since weather conditions play such an important role in this tropical country, I suggest you make a trip during the “cold” and dry season.

Thailand’s seasons

There are three different seasons in Thailand. During the cold season from November to February temperatures in the central region, which encompasses Bangkok, are around 25°C (77°F) and may fall under 10°C (50°F) in the northern part of the country. This period has low levels of rain and reduced humidity making it the most popular season to travel in Thailand. Due to a peak in visitor numbers, you should expect high airfares, especially around Christmas and the days leading up to New Year’s Eve.

My advice: If you want to visit during the cold season without spending too much money, you can find relatively cheap flights in November to beginning December. Be sure to look out for flight tickets at least three months in advance!

During the hot season from March to May average temperatures reach around 35 to 40°C (95 to 104°F). Given the high temperatures, it is common to feel sluggish when doing sightseeing outside. Most Thai people avoid the burning sun at this time of the year. Remember to drink plenty of water and keep cool. Luckily, there is the water festival of Songkran in April to take off some of the heat.

Finally, the rainy season occupies the months from June through October. While temperatures drop to an average of 30°C (86°F), it still feels hot or even hotter because of elevated humidity levels. This is usually not the best time to travel in Thailand, in regard to weather conditions, and some resorts may be closed during the monsoon period.

Advantages of traveling in the rainy season

A typical day in the rainy season. Cloudy, warm and humid, but still ok to visit outside…

But unlike a common misconception, it doesn’t rain all day in the rainy season. Usually, it will start raining in the afternoon or in the evening and after a few hours the sky clears up. So if you don’t mind “working around” the rain and making compromises due to weather conditions, you can benefit from very low prices. Flights and hotels are often very cheap in June, but more expensive in July and August which is attributable to the holiday season for Western tourists.

…until the rain hits in the afternoon or in the evening.

Last but not least, there’s something appealing about the rainy season. A heavy monsoon rain is pretty impressive to watch and brings some re-freshening and clean air. Furthermore, the vegetation comes to a peak. The rice fields in the central region and even in the dry plains of Isaan turn lush. As already mentioned, it’s possible to find beautiful aspects in Thailand at any time of the year!

Lush vegetation in Khao Yai National Park. One of my favorite retreats in the rainy season.