Whether it’s the tantalizing food, fascinating culture, lively celebrations, or the promise of days spent on idyllic beaches that draws you to Thailand, there is no doubt that the country captivates. While it's famous for its lush landscape and beautiful islands that shine on warm, sunny days, a monsoon season and sometimes sweltering temperatures mean that choosing the right time for you is essential. Here's how to choose the best time to go to Thailand.
High Season: November to March
Best time for good weather
A cool and dry season follows the monsoons, meaning the landscape is lush and temperatures are comfortable. However, the gorgeous weather means Thailand is at its busiest: Christmas and the western New Year holidays bring crowds and inflated rates.
Shoulder Season: April to June and September and October
Best time to head to the coast
April to June is generally very hot and dry, with an average Bangkok temperature of 30°C. However, the sea breezes in coastal areas provide natural air-con. In September and October, the gulf coast islands are your best bet for avoiding rain.
Low Season: July to October
Best time for budget travelers
Monsoon season ranges from afternoon showers to major flooding, but the rain is usually in short, intense bursts. While the low season means lower prices and smaller crowds, there are downsides: some islands shut down and boat service is limited during stormy weather. If you choose the low season, be flexible with travel plans.
The weather is cool and dry, ushering in the peak tourist season.
Key events: Chinese New Year
Still in the high season, but less crowded than December and January, Thailand is sun and fun for anyone escaping colder weather elsewhere.
Key events: Flower Festival; Makha Bucha
The hot and dry season approaches and the beaches start to empty out, coinciding with Thailand's semester break ('mid-term'), when students head out on sightseeing trips.
Key events: Mango Season; Kite-Flying Festivals
Hot, dry weather sweeps across the land. Though the main tourist season is winding down, make reservations well in advance – the whole country is on the move for Songkran.
Key events: Poy Sang Long; Songkran
Leading up to the rainy season, festivals believed to encourage plentiful rains and bountiful harvests take place. Prices are low and tourists are few but it is still remorselessly hot.
Key events: Rocket Festival; Royal Ploughing Ceremony; Visakha Bucha
In some parts of the country, the rainy season is merely an afternoon shower, leaving the rest of the day for music and merriment. This month is a shoulder season.
Key events: Chanthaburi Fruit Festival; Hua Hin Jazz Festival; Phi Ta Khon; Pattaya International Music Festival
The start of the rainy season ushers in Buddhist Lent, a period of reflection and meditation. Summer holidays bring an upsurge in tourists.
Key events: Asahna Bucha; Khao Phansaa; HM the King's Birthday
Overcast skies and daily showers mark the middle of the rainy season and, in theory, mean fewer visitors.
Key events: HM the Queen's Birthday
The rain will continue through September, though this often keeps the crowds at bay.
Religious preparations for the end of the rainy season and Buddhist Lent begin. The monsoons are reaching the finish line (in most of the country).
Key events: King Chulalongkorn Day; Ork Phansaa; Vegetarian Festival; Bangkok Biennale
The cool, dry season has arrived, and if you get here early enough, you'll beat the tourist crowds. The beaches are inviting and the landscape is lush.
Key events: Loi Krathong; Lopburi Monkey Festival
The peak of the tourist season has returned with fair skies, busy beach resorts and a holiday mood.
Key events: Chiang Mai Red Cross & Winter Fair; Rama IX's Birthday