Thailand holiday weather
Thailand is a popular holiday destination famed for its beaches, royal palaces and ancient ruins. While the temperatures are consistently high year round, there is tremendous variation in rainfall throughout the year.
Thailand climate information
Part of Thailand's appeal is its warm temperatures throughout the year, but its weather is dramatically characterised by two monsoon seasons.
As a result Thailand's weather tends to be defined by three seasons: the wet season (May to October), the cool season (November to February) and the hot season (March to May).
During the wet season (known as reudu fon), the weather is dominated by the southwest monsoon which brings warm humid air to the country from the Indian Ocean which results in abundant rain throughout these months. Rain does tend to fall on most days but tends to come in short bursts of an hour or two in the afternoon or overnight, with the heaviest rain falling in September and October
While it is not the hottest time of the year, the high humidity caused by the SW monsoon can make the wet season an uncomfortable time to visit Thailand.
Its worth noting that the monsoon also brings consistent onshore winds which creates reliable breaks if you're planning on surfing the Thai coast.
The hot season (known as ruedu ron) is most notable in the north of the country where temperatures are more changeable throughout the year. In spots like Chiang Mai average temperatures peak at around 37C in April - with minimal breeze and relatively little rainfall, this can make it a very difficult time of year to visit.
The hot season is less pronounced in the south of the country with temperatures peaking closer to 33C in Phuket.
The cool season (ruedu nao) brings a significant turn in weather conditions with the north-east monsoon changing the prevailing wind directions. This brings in cool, dry air resulting in cooler temperatures and more comfortable humidity. This also means less rainfall and its is this combination that makes the cool season arguably the best time of year to visit much of Thailand.
During the cool season, the west coast of Thailand, the Andaman Sea is also at its calmest which makes it a perfect time to visit the west coast resorts such as Phuket, Krabi and the Ko Phi Phi islands.
If however you're heading to the east coast of Thailand (the gulf coast), such as Ko Samui or Ko Chang, the cool season sees this area hit by the northeast monsoon with consistent rain between October and January, peaking in November.
When is the best time to go to Thailand?
If you are headed to the Gulf coast or East coast the best time to visit is between April and September.
If you're visiting anywhere else in Thailand, the best time of year is between November and February with temperatures at their most bearable and less rain falling.
Perhaps no surprise then that this is the busiest and most expensive time of the year so if you're willing to risk the rain to avoid the crowds and maybe grab a bargain, the tail ends of the wet season could be a worthwhile gamble.
When is rainy season in Thailand?
The rainy or 'monsoon' season in Thailand occurs between July and October. The rains in the first few months are heavy but inconsistent (lasting just a few hours), whereas towards the end they become more persistent. The best time to visit is during the hot season, which lasts from March to June.