The best time to visit Thailand

Updated: 09th December 2020

Long boat and beach - Best time to visit Thailand - On The Go Tours
Thailand is best travelled during the cool season

Seasons and Weather

Thailand essentially has three seasons – rainy, cool and hot. The hot dry season starts in March and stays until May. This is followed by the rainy season from May to October. Frequent rains do occur during this time, but generally in short sharp bursts which are sometimes quite spectacular to witness – so certainly bring some waterproof clothing for this time of year. The cool season then lasts from November to February. With dry days and temperatures that are still very warm, this is considered the best time to visit.

Although Thailand broadly follows this weather pattern, there are variations between regions which are further explained below:

What's the climate like in northern Thailand?

The more mountainous areas of northern Thailand experience the greatest range in temperatures, dropping significantly at nighttime during the cool season from November to February. Although you'll need to pack warmer evening clothing, don’t let this put you off as the days are lovely and mild and the countryside is lush and in bloom.

During the hot season from March to May, this region is often much warmer than the central plains, with the northeast in particular having to deal with dust clouds and humidity.

What's the climate like in southern Thailand?

In contrast, temperatures are more consistent in southern Thailand. However, there are differences between the eastern and western coasts. The rainy season hits the west, or Andaman coast, harder than elsewhere in Thailand. Therefore, it's best to visit during the drier months from November to April, when there's also great snorkelling and diving.

The east, or Thailand’s Gulf coast, lies outside of the country’s general weather pattern. This part of the southern peninsula and its islands instead feel the effects of the northeast monsoon, which sees rainfall from October to January, with the highest amount in November.

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Climate | Chiang Mai

Temp Min °C121620232424242423221916
Temp Max °C303335363432323232313028
Rainfall (mm)33951773851261051611571571133912

Climate | Bangkok

Temp Min °C222426272727272625252321
Temp Max °C323233343333323232323131
Rainfall (mm)102830711911521561883202315810

Climate | Phuket

Temp Min °C222223242525252524242323
Temp Max °C323334333232313130313131
Rainfall (mm)40304015020024030026040028020010
Best Time to Visit Thailand

Best Time to Visit by Region

Given Thailand's vast length and range of landscapes, the climate can be expected to vary between regions. Here we take a closer look at the weather patterns in five of Thailand's most popular destinations.

When is the best time to visit Bangkok?

Bangkok is generally hot and humid throughout the year and can be considered a year-round destination. However, the cool season from November to February is thought to be the best time to visit, with cooler temperatures allowing for easy exploration of the city on foot.

March to May are the hottest months in Bangkok and see sudden bouts of rainfall. This is also the time when the Thai New Year is celebrated so Bangkok has a great festival atmosphere. May to October is then regarded as the low season, with lower prices available for accommodation and excursions. Although there is frequent rainfall, visitors can still enjoy indoor activities such as shopping and visiting Bangkok’s famous temples.

When is the best time to visit Chiang Mai?

November to February is the best time to visit Chiang Mai, with cooler temperatures being perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities such as trekking. This is also peak season, with January seeing the highest influx of tourists.

The hot season from March to May sees very high temperatures in Chiang Mai, and you’ll most likely want to spend your afternoons relaxing by the pool. Temperatures cool again for the rainy season from June to October, however alongside the showers you can expect humidity levels to rise.

When is the best time to visit Chiang Rai?

Likewise to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is best visited during the cool season from November to February, when you can expect clear skies and cool, refreshing temperatures perfect for outdoor activities.

Nevertheless, Chiang Rai is considered a year-round destination. Just be aware that the hottest temperatures are experienced in the month of May, during the hot season, and August and September see the most showers during Thailand’s rainy season.

When is the best time to visit Khao Sok National Park?

Khao Sok is open year-round, however it is Thailand’s wettest region as it receives rainfall from both the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand monsoons. Visitors should therefore be prepared for rainfall at any time of year, which is to be expected seeing as much of the park is covered in tropical rainforest.

Despite this, less rain is observed during the drier months of December to April. March and April are the park’s hottest months and also see the greatest humidity. May is then the best month for bird watching as this is when mating season starts. May to July and October to November see the greatest rainfall, however as these periods are outside of school holiday seasons availability is much easier to come by.

When is the best time to visit Koh Samui?

Koh Samui is best visited during the cool season from December to February. Although temperatures are slightly lower, you can expect clear skies and you won’t have to face the sweltering midday heat of the hot season from March to May.

The wettest months are from September to November, however rainfall tends to only occur in small downpours, leaving the rest of the day fairly dry and sunny. Although this is not considered the best time to visit Koh Samui, many holiday makers still travel during this time to take advantage of the lower prices for flights and hotels.

Tropical beach Bang Por, Koh Samui's north coast
Thailand's beaches are best visited during the cool season

The Best Time for a Beach Holiday in Thailand

If you’re looking to sun yourself on Thailand’s beaches then the best time to travel is during the cool season from November to February. Although you may require a light sweater during the evenings in any destinations north of Bangkok, you can expect clear skies and much less humidity.

Despite being named the cool season, temperatures are still very warm and perfect for working on your tan. In contrast to the scorching heat of the hot season, you will enjoy a much more pleasant beach break.

Songkran Water Festival celebrated mid-April

See Also

To help further plan your visit to Thailand check out our handy Travel Guide resources:

Best Places to Visit - from beaches to cities, national parks to ancient ruins
Tourist Visas - the lowdown on getting into Thailand
Top Travel Tips - useful information on money, health and shopping
Traveler Reviews - see what our customers think of our Thailand tours
Thailand Video Lounge - travel videos to inspire you