Are you an adventurous traveller or a beach bum? Whether you’re more interested in a cultural trip or living the ultimate island life, Thailand has it all. With gorgeous mountain landscapes in the north, paradise beaches in the south, and cities brimming with cultural heritage, this country offers you a vacation with endless possibilities. So, when is the best time to visit Thailand?
Your best time to travel to Thailand depends on what kind of vacation you are dreaming of. We have highlighted some of the best things to do in Thailand, including the best weather conditions and top attractions such as islands, hiking, festivals, food markets and, of course, shopping. Since South Africans do not need a visa to enter Thailand, all that’s left to do is book your ticket and head east!
Thailand’s tropical weather is comprised of warm, cool and monsoon seasons where north and south experience different weather patterns. For the best time to visit Thailand, first decide on which region you want to explore.
Northern Thailand weather
The northern parts of Thailand are surrounded by green tropical forests and staggering mountain landscapes. The weather in this area is defined by a rainy season, cool season and warm season.
October to February is the cooler period in the north and definitely the best time to visit Thailand for its incredible hiking and stunning sunrises. In the morning you can wake up to fresh air with temperatures peaking at 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day. This blossoming period is perfect for experiencing the countryside with its picturesque green mountains, rice terraces, and winter flowers.
The months of March to May experience the hottest weather in this area. With this heat, northern Thailand’s weather is similar to the south, just a little less humid! If possible, try to avoid going here during April, the hottest month of the year.
The rainy season up north starts from mid-June and stays until October. We don’t recommend travelling here during the middle months of this season, as outdoor activities are somewhat limited.
Weather and Climate in Chiang Mai
Average temperature & rainfall per month:
Essentials to Pack
-Comfy hiking shoes
-Map of the region
-Light, comfortable clothing
Southern Thailand weather
The southern part of Thailand, including areas from Bangkok down to beachy Phuket, is defined by two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
The dry season spans from December until May, and temperatures range from around 25 to 32 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Thailand’s southern parts is during the dry season from around November to April. During this time, you get to soak in the tropical heat along the beautiful coastline while cooling off in the sparkling turquoise waters.
The rainy season in the south starts in around June and continues until October. The rains usually come in short spurts so, if you’re planning to visit Krabi and the surrounding islands, you’ll still get plenty of sunshine. You can also indulge in having the flawless beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui all to yourself!
During the warm months from May to June, the heat increases and you might experience temperatures up to a scorching 40 degrees Celsius in Bangkok. While this may not be the best time to visit Thailand due to the uncomfortable heat, you can always cool off in the sea or spend your days lazing by your hotel pool.
Weather & Climate in Phuket
Average temperature & rainfall per month:
Essentials to pack
– Flip flops
– Backpack or waterproof bag
– Water bottle
– Swimming costume
– Sun hat
– Insect repellent
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Between March and April is the best time to visit Thailand’s islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui for the most incredible diving and snorkelling along the east coast. Enjoy the 26 degree Celsius warm waters and spot magnificent sea animals, including whale sharks!
The southwest coast of Thailand is known for its breathtaking islands and gorgeous beaches. Water temperatures here stay high all year round and the average sea temperature along the Krabi coastline is 29 degrees Celsius. As a diver, December to January is the best time to visit Thailand’s west coast. Swim between colourful reefs and spectacular fish species off the islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi.
How much are flights to Thailand?
High season (November-February)
The tourist peak season hits Thailand from December to January and also in April during the Thai New Year. During the festive peak period, prices on flights and accommodation can go up by more than 30% during low season, so this might not be the best time to visit Thailand if you’re looking to travel on a budget. However, if you do a little bit of planning and book early enough, you may just score some great deals on cheap flights and accommodation.
Low season (March-October)
Travelling during low season has the advantage of being a lot cheaper, especially if you visit places that aren’t busy all year around. Why not explore some off-the-beaten-track places and discover some of Thailand’s hidden treasures without the bustling crowds?
Take advantage of fewer crowds, lower prices, emptier hotels and having the beaches all to yourself! Stay updated on our latest flight specials to Thailand.
Top things to do in Thailand
With so many incredible things to do in Thailand, you might need a little guidance. Here is a list of the top things to do in Thailand that you simply cannot miss out on.
The best time to visit Thailand’s beaches are ideally between November and March, but anytime is really a good time! The beaches in Thailand are famous for their dreamy palm trees, white sand, and turquoise waters. Explore the iconic Railay beach, just a boat ride away from Ao-nang. Or enjoy the silence and beauty of Kata beach on Phuket.
Explore the blossoming islands by Thailand’s famous longtail boats. From the city of Krabi, you can easily access and explore more than 200 beautiful islands of this western archipelago. Here you can find the most extraordinary secret beaches in Thailand. Among these are the paradise islands of Phi Phi where the iconic movie The Beach was filmed. Start early and you can easily spend an entire day island hopping amongst the majestic limestone cliffs.
Snorkelling is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things to do in Thailand. The underwater life along the Thai coast offers a great variety of corals, fish, and anemones. By the Surin Islands on the east coast, you will find some of the most stunning reefs on the planet. Spot extraordinary clownfish living among colourful corals.
If you are staying in Bangkok, make sure to visit a floating market. These charming markets are situated on narrow riverbanks where vendors and farmers sell exquisite products from their boats. Bang Kachao is one of the most famous markets and celebrated for its authenticity and fine organic products. This truly is shopping with a difference!
One of the essential things to do in Thailand is to try its distinct and delicious street food. The street food culture is very diverse, and dishes are super tasty and cheap. Some common and simple Thai dishes are:
Poh Pia Tod – small, delicious spring rolls
Som Tam – a classic fresh Thai salad
Phad Thai – the all-time noodle favourite
Tom Kha Gai – traditional chicken galangal soup
If you are an adventurer and intrigued by Thailand’s northern landscapes, go hiking in the area around Chiang Dao. This small town is a 90-minute drive away from Chiang Mai, and easy to access by bus or car. It is such a wonderful place to visit, just to experience the outstanding nature.
Thailand is a Buddhist country and visiting the temples is a part of everyday life for many Thai people. Many temples are beautifully decorated and have a great history behind them, so make sure to visit one. In Chiang Rai, you find the temple Wat Rong Khun – a spectacular white building decorated with pieces of glass that sparkle in the sunlight.
Be sure to always dress appropriately when visiting Thailand’s temples.
Chiang Mai’s Ancient City
The ancient city of Chiang Mai is a historical crown jewel for Thailand. Even though it is today the largest Metropol in the north, it has kept a grand cultural heritage and charm that is astonishing. It is also known for its food and vegetable markets, with locally produced goods.
To get more inspiration on things to do in Thailand, read up on green perspectives in Thailand!
Annual events and holidays
When it comes to religion, Thailand is first and foremost a Buddhist country, with 94% of its population practising Buddhism. Many national celebrations and public holidays are therefore due to Buddhist traditions. Some get celebrated throughout several days and are amazing to experience. For the best time to visit Thailand and experience its festivities, be sure to plan your trip around some of these events:
Chinese New Year: January 16th (date changes every year)
This New Year’s celebration is very festive, especially in the Chinese parts of town! On this day in Bangkok, you’ll find people dressed in red, partying in the streets and celebrating this occasion!
Songkran Water Festival: April 13-15th
This is one of the biggest festivals and is a celebration of the Thai New Year.
The celebration is spread over three days, where on the first day people engage in massive water fights on the streets. Bring a water pistol and enjoy a really funny thing to do in Thailand.
Phi Ta Khon: late June-July
This is called the Ghost festival and is a 3-day celebration held especially in the town Dan Sai, bordering Laos. During the festival, people bring attention to the spirits of the dead. During the 3 days of celebration, you’ll find fireworks, games, and parades held throughout the city where people dress up as dancing spirits. Take a look at the beautifully decorated costumes!
Loy Krathong (Lantern Festival): November
Loy Krathong is a celebration of the river goddess “Mae Nam” and takes place on the night of the 12th full moon every year. People traditionally release decorated krathongs (lanterns) on to the water and glowing paper lanterns into the sky at night. It is an absolutely beautiful sight.
Now that you have a complete guide on Thailand’s seasons and attractions, the best time to visit Thailand is generally between the cooler months of November to February, or between June and September if you’re looking for the best deals. Since peak season runs from December to January, we recommend you to travel just outside of this period. This will guarantee you both spectacular weather as well as cheap flight tickets for your holiday!
Are you also looking for the best time to visit Thailand? What’s your idea of the perfect Thailand getaway? Please share your comments below.
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