No matter where you choose to travel throughout the world, it is essential to time your visit appropriately for your destination. In Thailand, there are areas that have a tropical monsoon climate and others that have a tropical savannah climate, which can hamper travel.
Most visitors to Thailand that are familiar with the area do their best to avoid the rainy season, which spans from May to October in some areas. Even if you do choose to travel during this time, the rain is not always excessive and often comes in refreshing and cooling bursts.
Thailand is a big country and its landscape is very diverse, however. Choosing the best time to visit Thailand has much to do with which area of the country you are planning to visit.
Central and Eastern Thailand
The summers in Thailand can be quite hot, and they last from mid-February until April with temperatures capable of reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Winter begins in mid-November and lasts to mid-February.
The rainy season starts in May and continues until October, and rains are often frequent and heavy. If your destination is the coastal areas in the east, your optimal travel time to visit Thailand would be from December to May.
Northern and Northeastern Thailand
The seasons in the north and northeast are similar to the east and central regions with the exception of significantly cooler winters (November to February), especially in the mountain areas.
Many tourists prefer a winter visit when it is cool and dry with breathtaking scenery made more majestic by mist and fog. April is also a popular time to visit in order to catch the Songkran Festival (New Years Celebration) which lasts from April 13-15, although it is the hottest time of the year.
The Thai people roam the streets during the festival with water guns and containers of water to douse tourists to cool them off. Some even get water hoses and stand on the roadsides to drench anyone who passes by.
In southern Thailand, there is no winter; there is summer and the rainy season. Visits to the areas west of the Thai peninsula are best timed between mid-November and April to avoid monsoon season.
Visiting the islands via boat travel can be difficult and possibly even dangerous during this time. Visits to the area east of the Thai peninsula are best timed between December and June.
Gulf of Thailand
Visits to the Gulf of Thailand can be made anytime throughout the year. However, it is advised to check local weather conditions if you wish to avoid rain. If it is your plan to visit the areas both east and west of the peninsula, the best time would be between the months of December and April.
Festivals for Tourists
Some of the tourist draws to Thailand are the festivals held throughout the year. Some of these include:
- Songkran Festival (April 13-15)
- Rocket Festival (mid-May)
- Vegetarian Festival (September-October)
- Festival of Light (November on the full-moon day)
- Surin Elephant Round-up (November 18-19)
- The River Kwai Bridge Week (November 26-December 7)
As a general rule, most visitors attempt to avoid the rainy season from July to October. The coolest times to visit are from November to February. However as mentioned earlier, Thailand is a big country and the conditions vary depending on where you plan to visit and any special events you wish to attend.