There are three seasons in Thailand: cool, hot and rainy. Each season presents pros and cons for travelers.
Remember that the climate varies depending on which part of the country you are in. For example, the rainy season occurs in a different time of year in the Gulf of Siam than it does in the Andaman.
So there is no direct answer to the question: What is the best time of year to travel to Thailand. You can and you should travel to Thailand at any time of year.
At first this article discusses the climate of the majority of Thailand and then it will focus on the climate of the southern part of the Gulf of Siam.
Thailand’s Cool Season
Cool season lasts from November to February. It is certainly the most comfortable and enjoyable time of year in Thailand making it the peak traveling season. The sky is blue and the tropical heat is not sweltering. In fact, the 2 weeks surrounding Christmas season are so cool that tourists may even find themselves shivering at night.
However, the downside of this season is that accommodations will be packed and prices will be high. If you plan on traveling during Christmas or New Year, you must book your flight and hotel well ahead of time.
But don’t worry if you end up making last-minute travel arrangements. There is always a place to stay in Thailand. However, you may need to look in places that are less well-known to the average tourist. For example, to the south of Hua Hin, there are peaceful beaches in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Ban Krut.
The Hot Season in Thailand
Hot season lasts from March to May. Inland temperatures can be roasting hot but on the coast, sea breezes make things much more bearable.
If you can tolerate heat well, this will be a good season for you to travel. The sky is clear and there is still room to breathe in all the tourist destinations. In fact, it’s easy to find good deals on accommodations this time of year.
Thai people know that hot season is the best time to cool down with a nationwide water fight. Thais celebrate the new year in April with a water festival called Songkran and tourists are always welcome to join the party.
Thailand’s Rainy Season
This is the slowest tourist season in Thailand. Rainy season begins somewhere between the end of May and the beginning of June. The positive side of this season is that there are hardly any tourists and hotels offer absolutely amazing discounts.
Usually it only rains for a couple of hours per day. Who knows, the tropical downpours could even turn into an adventure.
Places close to Bangkok, such as Hua Hin, Pattaya and Koh Samet are the safest tourist destinations this time of year as they usually receive the least amount of rain. These places typically enjoy good weather all year long.
The southern part of Thailand receives the most rainfall and you might run into some hardcore downpours. However, you might also have some beautiful days as well.
Some guesthouses will be closed on the smaller islands in the Andaman Sea. There are no ferry services to these smaller islands and the national parks are also closed. However, there are still ferry services to the more popular islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lipe.
Exception: The Southern Part of the Gulf of Siam
The climate in the southern part of the Gulf of Siam is unique. In islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, the rainy season begins in September and lasts until the end of the year. In contrast to the rest of Thailand, June-August is still a good time of year to travel to these islands.
The Weather Report
A good place to check the weather forecast is The Thai Meteorological Department. This website is more reliable than other online weather services. This website provides forecasts specifically for the different regions in Thailand.