The best time to visit Thailand

Thailand’s tropical climate means it can be visited year round, but plan your route around the country’s three distinct seasons: dry, wet and hot.
The best time to travel to Thailand is from November to February, when you can expect to enjoy dry, sunny weather. March and April are ideal months for beach vacations on islands such as Phuket, but it can be oppressively hot in the cities. Thailand’s rainy season begins in May and is wettest in August and October when trekking becomes difficult and some journeys can be affected. The good news is that the seasons are staggered on the east and west coasts, so as long as you do your research you can always find a sunny beach somewhere. Our guide to when to travel to Thailand ensures you always know what to expect in the ‘Land of Smiles’.

When is the best time to visit Thailand’s beaches?

December to April is the best time to go to Thailand’s beaches, with Christmas and Easter (the latter slightly less expensive) both popular with families. March, April and May are the hottest months of the year in Thailand, so the coasts and islands are glorious, and very busy. The islands on either side of the Kra Isthmus which separates the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand tend to experience different weather. Koh Samui in south-east Thailand, for instance, is usually rainy in December and January, but a good option in July and August, when it’s still sunny compared with Phuket on the west coast.

A month by month guide on when to go to Thailand

January in Thailand

    Cool but sunny weather Very popular month Multi-country tours in Southeast Asia
Weather-wise, January may be the best time of year to visit Thailand. Cool, dry and sunny throughout much of the country (although Koh Samui can be noticeably damp in January), it also misses the Christmas and New Year crush. The beaches of the west coast are positively dreamy in January, but this is also a great time to explore the cultural charms of cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

February in Thailand

    Weather warming up a little Ideal for family beach vacations Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The fragrant Chiang Mai Flower Festival is a highlight of Thailand in February, marking the end of the cool season. Temperatures are reliably in the 30°C-plus range by the end of the month, so February is the best time to visit the beaches in Thailand, especially with the kids in tow. You may still catch the occasional short shower but they’re a rarity.

March in Thailand

    Warm, dry weather Oppressively hot in cities Mountains, beaches and islands popular
Thailand in March is a good time to visit islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui, and hillier reaches where it’s a little cooler. This is the start of the hot season in Thailand, and while still a pleasant time to travel, you’ll want your room to have air con in the cities. Trekking in rural areas can be unpleasantly hazy due to farmers burning stubble ahead of planting.

April in Thailand

    Songkran Festival Hottest month of the year Ideal for island-hopping
Sticky heat is the norm in Thailand in April. This is the hottest month of the year, with temperatures hitting 35°C and packed beaches. People cool off during Songkran, however, the Thai New Year’s festival where colourful paint powder is mixed with scented water to wash away sins, and images of the Buddha are respectfully bathed.

April is great for volunteering at an elephant sanctuary

May in Thailand

    Shoulder season deals Lots of sun still Start of rainy season
Thailand in May experiences the beginnings of the rainy season, though occasional short downpours in the late afternoons and evenings do little to dampen enjoyment. There’s a lot of sun around still, and as this is a ‘shoulder month’ you can often snag a deal on flights for a beach break. Risk the rain and May can be a good time to visit Thailand, with even popular places largely crowd-free.

May is great for a small group tour of Southeast Asia

June in Thailand

    Hot and humid Showers usually light and short Rainfall leads to lush scenery
Don’t be put off by the rain – Thailand in June is still largely dry and sunny, though it’s very humid. Brief but heavy showers tend to arrive late in the day, so that beach breaks and cultural touring remain popular. June is also a good month for hill trekking and volunteering at wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand – the landscapes of the interior are becoming pleasingly green.
I like going in the rainy season from May to September. It’s quieter, Thai people are happier, and it’s unheard of for it to rain for days on end.
– Lesley Schofield from our partner All Points East

July in Thailand

    Rainfall increasing Temperatures drop slightly East coast beaches still sunny
The rainy season continues around much of Thailand in July. Trekking in rural areas such as the Golden Triangle, though picturesque, gets cumbersome. East coast beaches are still sunny, but you may want to think twice about visiting Thailand’s islands in July – Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands are wet and the sea is likely to be choppy. Koh Samui is usually brighter, but gets busy when the schools break up in late July.

August in Thailand

    Wet and humid Trekking difficult Peak monsoon season
August is peak monsoon season in Thailand and much of the country endures heavy rain and humidity (though lower Gulf islands such as Koh Samui are still fairly dry and sunny for now). However, if you don’t mind the rain and you’re not planning on doing any trekking, Thailand in August means few other visitors around, and good deals on flights and accommodation.

September in Thailand

    Wettest month of the year Travel plans can be disrupted Good low season deals to be had
Conventional wisdom would have it that September is the worst time to travel to Thailand. Heavy rain makes both trekking and beach vacations distinctly undesirable, and in rural areas can make it hard to get from A to B. But – not everyone is put off by the rain. If you visit Thailand in September you can expect mild temperatures, landscapes full of colour, and quite reasonably priced flights too.

October in Thailand

    Temperatures fall Rainy season ending Start of winter in Thailand
Thailand in October welcomes the onset of winter – there are cooler temperatures on the way and lower humidity, and the rains ease up. Thailand’s weather in October is changeable, but late in the month you can expect quite a few dry and sunny days. Phuket’s nine-day Vegetarian Festival is in October – expect street processions and vegan menus, as well as eye-watering rituals of self-mutilation as a form of purification.

November in Thailand

    Cool, dry weather in many areas Good month for trekking Festival of Light (Loi Krathong)
November is a good time to visit Thailand, with pleasantly cool temperatures and low humidity, while in most parts of the country the rains have dried up. Trekking in central and northern Thailand is especially popular, though it gets decidedly chilly in the evenings. Visit Thailand in November and you can witness the delightful Loi Krathong festival, when people symbolically cast away their grievances by floating candlelit rafts bearing offerings along canals.

December in Thailand

    Peak season Christmas busy in the islands Trekking, diving and beaches all popular
Heralding gloriously mild and sunny weather, December is one of the best months to visit Thailand, so early booking is highly advisable, especially for Christmas and New Year. Thailand in December means packed island beaches, sublime trekking in rural areas like Pai and national parks such as Khao Yai, and some great diving conditions. Parts of the south-east such as Koh Samui remain quite rainy, however.

December is great for a self-drive tuk tuk tour of Thailand

Bangkok Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Thailand or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best times to visit Thailand for festivals & events

Chiang Mai Flower Festival (first weekend of February)

Each year on the first weekend of February, Chiang Mai becomes a riot of colour with flower beds in full bloom, flower vendors setting up shop across the town, and – on the Saturday – the Flower Festival Parade. There are decorated floats, hill tribes in a rainbow of costumes and traditional dancing and music.

Thai New Year (13-15 April)

The traditional Thai New Year – Songkran – is celebrated countrywide, with the biggest festivities in Chiang Mai. Appropriately for the hottest time of year, water throwing – often ice-cold – is popular, and you may get smeared with colourful talc as a blessing. Elders are honoured, and there are music and dance performances.

Ngan Bun Bang Fai (May)

The Fire Rocket Festival is a Buddhist event celebrated by the ethnic Lao people of north-east Thailand at the beginning of the rainy season in May. Elaborately decorated rockets are paraded on oxcarts and floats, leading up to the competition on Sunday, where rockets compete on height, distance and beauty of vapour trails.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival (September or October)

Anyone thinking a festival celebrating vegetarian cuisine and the health benefit it brings would be a peaceful, bloodless affair, think again. As part of efforts to purify the body and soul, many worshippers put themselves through some gruesome body mortification rituals. Ironically, though, the worst injuries are usually caused by errant firecrackers.

Festival of Light (November)

Not all of Thailand’s festivals are wildly hedonistic. The Festival of Light – Loi Krathong – is held to give thanks to the Goddess of Water each November. Lotus-shaped crafts draped with flowers and candles float down the rivers in Sukothai and Chiang Mai in this beautiful, spiritual celebration.

Our travelers also ask...

What are the best months to travel to Thailand?

The best time to go to Thailand is from November to February, when there’s sunny, dry weather that’s not too hot – though December gets very busy and correspondingly expensive around Christmas. If you don’t mind the occasional shower, we’d also recommend May and June. These shoulder months are typically quiet, pleasantly warm and dry for the most part, and prices tend to be very reasonable too.

When is the best month to visit Phuket?

The best time to go to Phuket tends to be from November to February, the winter months in Thailand when you can expect pleasantly mild weather. Think manageable temperatures around 30°C, sunny skies, and low humidity with little chance of rain. Make sure you reserve your sunbed early though, because this is naturally peak season on Phuket.

During what month should you avoid Thailand?

Many people think the worst time to visit Thailand is August and September due to the high rainfall and humidity. But while you’re probably not going to be doing much trekking, and your beach options are limited, August and September can still be good months to travel. It’s much less crowded for one thing, and you can find some excellent deals on flights and accommodation. Plus, while you can expect some heavy showers, it’s not raining all day every day, so city touring is perfectly fine.

When is the best time to visit Thailand and Vietnam?

November to February is usually the best time to go to Thailand and Vietnam on a combined vacation. You can expect, warm, dry and sunny weather for the most part. Happily, these are also ideal months to visit Cambodia and Laos too, so if you’re planning a wider Indochina tour you’ve got a lot of options.

When is it quietest in Thailand?

The quietest months in Thailand are August and September, the height of the rainy season. January, and May and June, tend to be good bets if you want more peaceful beaches and cities but with nicer weather to enjoy them in.

What month is hottest in Thailand?

The warmest months in Thailand are March, April and May, just before the rainy season arrives. Expect temperatures up to around 35°C which some people relish, others find quite oppressive. Whatever your opinion, seek shade around midday and keep hydrated (our partners will often provide safe drinking water that you can use to refill bottles).

What is the rainiest month in Thailand?

Rainy season in Thailand is between May and October, though showers are likely in the late afternoons and evenings from April through to November, depending on where you are in the country. April and September are the wettest months in Thailand and likely to be most disruptive for travel and trekking, while coastal areas such as Krabi typically see more rain than the interior.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: SasinTipchai] [Intro: Andrzej Suwara] [Rainy season: Stefan Kunze] [Chiang Mai Flower Festival: John Shedrick]