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When is the best time to visit Thailand?

| Words by Zoe Crane | ,

Your definitive map and guide on the best time to visit Thailand and its key highlights.

Overview: Best time to visit Thailand

The weather in Thailand is made up of three major seasons, the hot season (April to June), the rainy or green season (July to October) and the cool season (November to March). In general, the best time to visit Thailand is in the cool season from October to March , when temperatures ease off and skies are clear. The wet season varies in Thailand’s southern beaches and when Phuket is wet, Koh Samui may be sunny. Some travellers think the best time to go to Thailand is the green season when it is less crowded and prices are at their lowest.

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Here is your guide on what to expect, where and when.

Map: When is the best time to visit Thailand

The north of Thailand is slightly cooler than the south, making it a great travel destination to visit year-round. The hot season lasts from March until May when maximum temperatures average 95°F (35°C). Occasional thunderstorms cool things down nicely. There are fewer crowds at this time of year and prices are lower.

The green season runs from May to October with July and August seeing the heaviest rainfall. It doesn't rain every day and the heavy downpours are generally brief and refreshing. This is the best time to see the countryside while it is lush and green. Temperatures range from a low of 73°F (23°C) in the evenings to an average maximum of 88°F (31°C). The cool season, from October to February, sees evening temperatures drop to around 55°F (13°C) in January and it’s best to bring a jacket or sweater, however the days reach a pleasant maximum around 86°F (30°C) and the skies are clear and blue most of the time.

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok is hot year-round with average lows around 70°F (20°C) in December and just a few degrees higher during the hot season, from March to May. Temperatures peak around 88°F (31°C) in the cool and wet seasons and reach 95°F (35°C) in the hot season, the best time to travel to the cooler beaches down south. The wet season starts in May and reaches its peak in September with nearly 14 inches (360mm) of rain and an average of 21 days of rain that month. By November the rain has all but stopped and the temperatures are at their coolest.

Nearby Hua Hin has a similar temperature to Bangkok, but rainfall peaks in October and November. Even then, rainfall is lighter than Bangkok and other coastal areas in Thailand, peaking at less than 8 inches (200mm) in October. There is some rain from May through November.

Kanchanaburi really heats up during the hot season when average maximum temperatures reach their peak at 100°F (38°C) in April. The monsoon season runs from May to October with the most rainfall in September and October, but less rain overall than Bangkok.

In the wet season in Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, days are warm and humid, often accompanied by a refreshing afternoon shower. While some rain can be expected from May to January, showers tend to be gone within an hour, and it is only October and November that experience heavy rain (17 inches or 430mm in November) which may flood roads affecting travel. Temperatures are fairly stable through the year, and the average minimum temperature is around 77°F (25°C) while the average maximum is 88°F (31°C). If you plan to visit Thailand between May and September and want to go to the beach, you will get better weather around Koh Samui than in Phuket and the rest of Thailand’s west coast.

The hot temperatures year-round and outstanding beaches make Phuket, and nearby Khao Lak, Koh Lanta and Krabi, the go-to destinations for many travellers. The average temperature year-round is 82°F (28°C), with average lows never dipping below 73°F (23°C) nor highs above 91°F (33°C). The rainy season in Phuket lasts from May to November, with the heaviest rain in May, September and October. During this season about 2 out of 3 days experience some rain but it is unusual for the rain to last all day. There are fewer tourists and prices drop significantly during this time. Storms can cause rough seas which can affect touring by boat, and this is not the best time to go diving in Thailand.

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