picture of loha prasat in Bangkok

When is the Best Time to Visit Thailand?

They call this budget-friendly destination the ‘Land of Smiles.’ Once you experience the warm hospitality in Thailand, you’ll wholeheartedly agree. But the Thai people won’t be the only ones sweeping you off your feet. You’ll also fall in love with the impressive temples, tranquil beaches, lively cities, and exotic cuisine.

With year-round good weather to complete the package, Thailand provides an exciting adventure in any season. Raring to go? Read on for more details about the weather, the best months for cheap travel, the annual events not to miss, and much more.

Table of Contents

The Weather in Thailand

Thailand’s weather is characterized by three seasons: the wet season, the cool season, and the hot season.

Wet Season (July to October)

During the rainy season, many days are continuously hot and sunny. But expect a few days of short, sudden showers. Don’t let the rain put you off, though, as it tends to come in the late afternoon or evening and rarely lasts long. With highs of 91-93°F, a bit of rainfall can bring some much-needed relief from the heat.

Cool Season (November to February)

On the west coast of Thailand, the amount of rainfall drops, and so does the humidity. The change makes sightseeing and outdoor activities a more comfortable experience in places like Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Phi Phi. The east coast—Koh Samui or Koh Chang—is usually hit by the northeast monsoon, with rain lasting until January. Temperatures typically range from 79-93°F across the country.

Hot Season (March to May)

You’ll definitely feel the heat in the north, where temperatures are more temperamental throughout the year. Areas like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hong Son, Chiang Dao, and Lampang can reach 98°F or more, with few breezes to help you stay cool. However, you can expect slightly less extreme highs of 91°F in Phuket and 94°F in Bangkok.

The culture in Thailand is truly unique. One of the best ways to learn more about the country’s rich history is to attend one of its many annual festivals. Here are the most exciting events to consider as you plan your trip.

Chiang Mai Flower Festival (February)

Held at the end of the cool season every year, the Flower Festival in Chiang Mai transforms the city for three days with colorful botanical displays. It attracts up to one million visitors annually and is free to attend.

Songkran (April)

A traditional New Year’s Day celebration in Thailand, Songkran features spectacular costumes and makes way for the nation’s biggest water fight! So get your water gun at the ready. Bangkok is one of the best places to hit the streets and soak in the festivities—literally.

Bung Ban Fai Rocket Festival (May)

Venture north to the region of Isaan for Thailand’s weirdest and noisiest festival. The Rocket Festival sees phallus-shaped bamboo rockets launched into the sky, encouraging the gods to make love and bestow successful rice crops on farmers for the year.    

Vegetarian Festival 2022 

The Vegetarian Festival is a Chinese lunar calendar festival celebrating plant-based diets. Held in Phuket from September 25th to October 5th, there are lantern pole raising ceremonies, street processions from multiple shrines, and delicious vegetarian dishes to sample.

Loy Krathong 2022

Scheduled for November 9th this year, the annual Festival of Lights will bring beautiful lanterns to several areas in Thailand. Head to Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Tak, or Ayutthaya to witness the floating lanterns at night.

The Best Tourist Attractions in Thailand (And When to Visit Them)

Thailand is a vast nation with endless activities at the ready. Make your trip unforgettable with a visit to any one of these sights and attractions.

The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

Make time for the Grand Palace if you’re in the capital. Even if Bangkok is just a quick stopover, you won’t regret visiting the palace grounds and the famous temple. Just a few minutes away are Wat Pho and Wat Arun, where you can watch the most amazing sunsets. Admission to the Grand Palace is 500 baht ($15 USD).

Next Vacay Travel Tip: Avoid peak periods like Christmas, New Year, Chinese New year, and Thai New Year to beat the crowds.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

There are several floating markets in Bangkok, but Damnoen Saduak is the most popular and also the most tourist-friendly. This sprawling market on the river is lively and colorful, with boat hire starting from 1500 baht ($44 USD) per boat.

Next Vacay Travel Tip: The best time to visit Thailand for floating markets is from November to May, when the weather is at its driest.

Chao Phraya River

The best way to experience the famous Chao Phraya is by river cruise. A basic dinner cruise starts from 1,280 baht ($38 USD). Or, you can treat yourself to luxury and upgrade to a more glamorous experience.

Next Vacay Travel Tip: The drier months (November to May) are ideal for cruises on the river.

Railay Beach

This beach is considered one of the most beautiful in Thailand and a great destination for snorkeling and diving. So if you’re looking for postcard-perfect views, Railay Beach in the Krabi Province needs to be on your bucket list. You can reach Railay Island from Krabi town or Ao Nang (starting from 1,200 baht or $35 USD for a private boat).

Next Vacay Travel Tip: Visit between February and May for the best diving visibility.

Koh Phi Phi

These islands are a world-famous location made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, The Beach. Koh Phi Phi is nothing short of spectacular, with magnificent snorkeling and diving spots, soft white sand, and unbeatable nightlife.

Next Vacay Travel Tip: Plan your visit to coincide with a full moon party and witness the island’s party atmosphere in full swing!

Sunday Walking Street

Looking for the best street food in Thailand? Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Street is the place to be. Sample everything from Pad Thai noodles and chicken satay to samosas and sweet roti. These mouthwatering dishes will cost you less than $2 USD.

Next Vacay Travel Tip: The best time to visit Thailand’s northern areas like Chiang Mai is in the cooler season when the weather is more comfortable for walking around. 

Thai Public Holidays and Occasions

Many public holidays in Thailand can make cities and resorts a little more crowded with tourists and locals. These include Chinese New Year, Thai New Year (Songkran), and the Christmas and New Year period.

If you don’t mind the festive crowds, these are fantastic opportunities to experience Thailand in a celebratory mood. From street parades and parties to excellent street food, prepare for a sensory adventure during Thailand’s favorite public holidays and occasions. However, be aware that sights and attractions such as temples are often teeming with crowds during these times. 

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