Located smack dab in the center of the mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand makes an excellent destination for backpackers, vacationers and digital nomads year-round.
With such a diverse landscape throughout the country - from the mountains in the north to the islands in the south, the climate in Thailand varies widely from region to region and seasons are not as straight forward as in other places in the world. Were going over the seasons of each region to help you determine the best time to visit Thailand for your travel needs!
There are pros and cons to visiting during all seasons and as with any destination, the weather is never as predictable as wed like it to be.
So this begs the question
When the best time to visit Thailand?
In short, youll find the most comfortable temperatures across the country during the winter months; the best time for diving in the Andaman sea will be February - April; and the Gulf coast will have its best weather during the summer months. Our personal pick would be to visit Thailand during the start of the winter months; but more on that later
As with any destination, there is no straightforward answer to this question. If youve read any of our other Best Time to Visit articles, youre probably seeing a pattern by now.
But fear not
Weve organized Thailands seasons by region, and listed some of the best things to do during each season all over Thailand. We hope reading through these suggestions will help you decide the best time to visit Thailand for YOU.
Answer these questions to get started:
What region of the country do you plan to visit?
Do you mind a bit of rain?
Are you easily bothered by crowds?
Are you negatively affected by high humidity?
Do you prefer to spend your time outdoors hiking?
Are you planning to do some scuba diving while in Thailand?
Thinking about your answers to these questions is going to help you start to determine when to visit Thailand.
Best time to visit Thailand article contents
Seasons by Region
When to avoid visiting Thailand
Thailand Geography Overview
Thailand is a country in the middle of mainland Southeast Asia with nearly 320,000 square miles (513,120 km) an odd shape with a long tail leading down towards the equator.
Thailand has everything from high mountains and an upland plateau in the north, to central plains and tropical islands in the south.
Weather in Thailand
The weather in Thailand varies from region to region with the north experiencing the greatest fluctuation in temperatures throughout the year and the south experiencing very little variation the closer you get to the equator. The climate is mostly tropical with warm temperatures throughout the year (with the exception of the mountains in the far north).
The seasons in Thailand can be categorized into three main groups: Cool, Hot and Rainy. Though somewhat unpredictable, and varying from coast to coast and by region, they follow the general pattern below.
Cool season: November to February; also peak tourist season
Hot season: March to May
Rainy season: June to October
The cool season is felt most distinctly in the far north, but temperatures hardly change in the south. The hot season is essentially the dry season where central and north are at their highest temperatures with clouds of dust gathering in the air.
The rainy season is caused by the southwest monsoon, which is the least predictable. Except on the Gulf coast, which is effected less by the southwest monsoon and more by the northwest monsoon, causing November to be its wettest month.
Weve broken down the seasons by region below to give you a better idea of the climate in specific areas.
Seasons in Northern Thailand
The upland in norther Thailand is less humid and experiences the greatest rage of temperatures throughout the year. During the cool season, the far north temps can dip as low as 0 C and during hot season, when the north is dry and dusty, the uplands can be even hotter than the central plains.
Hot Season: February - April
Rainy Season: May - September
Cool Season: October - January
What to pack for visiting Northern Thailand
Lots of layers for cooler nights and warmer days
Good hiking shoes or Chacos sandals
Swimwear - even though youre not by the water, there are plenty of pools and waterfalls!
Seasons in Central Thailand
Central Thailand experiences the countrys three seasons fairly equally throughout the year. The one constant is humidity, which makes the air feel hotter than it should.
Hot Season: March - Jun
Rainy Season: June - October
Cool Season: October - February
What to pack for visiting Central Thailand
Loose, lightweight clothes & layers
A shall or scarf to cover your shoulders when entering temples and religious sites
An insulated water bottle to stay hydrated
Seasons in South Thailand & the Thai Islands
Temperatures in southern Thailand are more consistent throughout the year, with less variation the closer you get to the equator. There is really only 2 seasons down here: wet and dry.
The climate does vary from coast to coast in the south based on the different monsoons. Which is why weve split up the coasts below to show seasonal variations.
A Note About Diving: Diving and snorkeling will be at its best during the winter months. December and January will be more crowded since its the peak season. If you want to see some mantas and local whale sharks, its best to plan your trip around February to April.
West Coast (Andaman Sea)
Wet Season: April - October
Dry Season: November - March
East Coast (Gulf of Thailand)
Wet Season: September - December
Dry Season: January - August
What to pack for visiting Southern Thailand
Bug repellant (solids are the way to go!)
A wide brimmed hat or baseball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Cool Season in Thailand: November - February
November: Peak of the dry season in most parts of the country, November sees cooler temperatures and plenty of sunshine.The western Thai Gulf coast is the only part of the country still experiencing rain.
December: Getting into the peak of tourism season in Thailand, weather is great all over the country and temperatures are relatively cool. There is little to no rainfall and tourists flock to the beaches for plenty of sunshine.
January: Peak tourism season and great weather all over Thailand. Accommodation will be at premium prices, and you should book well in advance. The cooler temps in the northern region are great for hiking in the mountains and trekking through the jungles.
February: Still peak tourism season all over the country. The Chinese New Year typically happens in February (thought it follows the lunar calendar and the exact vary from year to year).
Best places to visit during cool season in Thailand
Lesser known destinations in Thailand as its peak tourism season is popular areas.
Sam Phan Bok: A natural wonder only accessible during dry season. Found in Ubon Ratchathani, Isan, thousands of holes are scattered across the Mekong River bed.
Bo Sang, a small village in the north hosts their annual Umbrella Festival on the 3rd weekend in January.
China Town in Bangkok is a fun place to witness the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Best things to do in Thailand during cool season
Krabi Naga Fest
Visit temples in Bangkok such as Wet Saket during the Thai national holiday of Makha Bucha to observe spiritual rituals.
Jai Thep Music and Arts Festival takes place in Chiang Mai in early February.
Celebrate the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai in November.
The Loy Krathong festival is celebrated around the country by floatingkrathongson the rivers to give thanks to the water spirits.
Ayutthaya World Heritage and Red Cross Fair boasts stunning light shows amid the ancient ruins.
Big Mountain Music Festival in Phetchaburi happens in December.
The Andaman coast is at its best in November, so its a perfect time to go island hopping.
Hot Season in Thailand: March - May
March: Temperatures are starting to heat up all over Thailand, so its best to stay near the water. In the north, burning season is in full force, so youll want to avoid traveling there as much as possible. Its prime time for diving in the Andaman Sea at popular locations such as the Similan Islands.
April: One of the hottest months in Thailand. Be sure your accommodation has air conditioning if you are visiting during this month. Remember to drink lots of water and use plenty of sunscreen too.
May: Another incredibly hot month in Thailand. With many public and religious holidays, its a good time to get off the beaten path and experience new and interesting cultural celebrations.
Best places to visit during hot season in Thailand
The ancient city of Ayutthaya is a great place for boxing fans to visit on National Muay Thai Day
Bangkok, Phuket or Chiang Mai during Songkran Festival
Similan Islands for scuba diving in the Andaman sea
Best things to do in Thailand during hot season
Turtle Release Festival in Phang Nga in March
Chumphon Marine Festival in March
Thailands International Balloon Festival happens around this time in a different location every year
PattayaInternational Music Festival - one of Thailands best, takes place over a 3-day weekend in March and its 100% free to attend!
Check out a Muay Thai demonstration on National Muay Thai Day - March 17
Songkran Festival - famous for its water fights in the streets takes place around the country in April during the Thai New Year
Rainy Season in Thailand: June - October
June: The start of the rainy season means youll want to carry an umbrella and wear shoes that can get wet. Take extra precautions on scooters as the roads can be dangerous when wet.
July: Wet and humid all over Thailand, youll want to pack and umbrella and wear plenty of bug spray! Be careful of leeches if you are planning on venturing into the jungle.
August: Typically the wettest month in all of Thailand. Come prepared for the rain and be sure to have a long list of indoor activities to entertain yourself during this month.
September: This is the wettest time of year on the Andaman coast, but rains generally ease up in the north.
October: Central and Northern Thailand will have dried up by October, but nearly all of the islands on both coasts will still be experiencing heavy rain.
Best places to visit during rainy season in Thailand
National Parks such as Khao Yai National Parkand KanchanaburisErawan National Parkwill bewonderful this time of year.
Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Hua Hin, and Cha Am will be some of the driest beaches and islands to visit.
Bangkok for its magnitude of indoor activities and International festivals.
The small mountain hippy town of Pai for its decent weather in October.
Visit the Mekong River in the north to experience the mysterious natural phenomenon known as Naga Fireballs of Nong Khai in late October.
Best things to do in Thailand during rainy season
Phi Ta Khon Festivalin Dan Sai district of Loei province
Go chasing waterfalls! They will be at their fullest during the rainy season.
Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival in Isan
Visit temples, museums, art galleries and malls to stay indoors as much as possible during the rain.
Hua Hin Food Festival in August
Experience long boat races on rivers all over the country in September.
Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music in September
Phukets Vegetarian Festival is held every year in October.
Celebrate the Loi Ruea Chao Le Festival on Koh Lanta.
From June to September, its best to do a Liveaboard in Phuket since they are protected from the rainy season weather and are open to divers all year round.
The best time to visit Thailand in our opinion...
There really is no bad time to visit Thailand, but its a good idea to have the seasons in mind when planning your itinerary and activities youd like to experience during your trip.
Visiting during November - January will give you the most flexibility in your itinerary in terms of enjoying the best weather all around.
When to avoid traveling in Thailand
Chiang Mai: If possible, avoid visiting from mid-February through early April. This is "burning season" and air quality can be quite bad.
Andaman Sea (Krabi, Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lanta): Rainy season is from May - October
Gulf Islands (Koh Tao, Koh Chang, Phang Nga Samui): Rainfall is heaviest in October & November
Similan Islands: The National Marine Park is closed between the months of November through March.
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Have you ever been to Thailand before? When did you go and what was your experience like? Leave your comments in the section below and well do our best to respond to any questions!