Seasons and Weather
Thailand essentially has three seasons – rainy, cool and hot. The hot dry season starts in March and lasts 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.
Climate | Chiang Mai
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Climate | Bangkok
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Climate | Phuket
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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.
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
Traveller Reviews - see what our customers think of our Thailand tours
Thailand Video Lounge - travel videos to inspire you