Best time to visit Thailand

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Best Time to go

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Events in Thailand

Thailand i a huge country with something to offer every kind of traveller – it’s not surprising that nearly a million Brits head here every year. You’ll find paradisiacal beaches and luxurious resorts, as well as beach-party spots and divers’ heavens, like the protected UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Similan Islands.

You can island hop by boat or stay ensconced at your all-inclusive beach resort sampling cocktails and local seafood. Inland is just as captivating, with bustling cities like the capital Bangkok, and pretty Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north. You can spend your days marvelling at the intricate architecture in serene temple complexes, sampling delicious (and cheap) street food, or booking treks through protected rainforest and jungles.

Whether it’s mountains, cities and culture, jungle or the coast you’re seeking – you’ll find a dream escape in Thailand. There’s something to recommend holidays in Thailand in every season, but it’s the perfect country for winter sun, as our cold season coincides with its hot-dry season.

The Best Time to go to Thailand – Season Guide

High season in Thailand

Perhaps the best time of year to visit Thailand is during our winter. High season here – the warmest and driest part of the year – is from November to February, promising a cheerful dose of vitamin D during European winter.

In November, the rain starts to taper off, and the west of the country averages seven hours of sunshine and temperatures of 27⁰C. December is widely considered the best time to visit Thailand, with almost no rainfall, long, sunny days and very low humidity too. Average temperatures on the Andaman coast are around 26⁰C, in Bangkok it’s around 27⁰C and, in northern Thailand, temperatures range from 28⁰C in the day to 15⁰C in the evenings.

January and February are both dreamy months right across the country. If you fancy slightly cooler temps but plenty of sunshine, make a beeline for the north, while Phuket and Khao Lak on the west coast are ideal for beach breaks. Koh Phi Phi and the Surin and Similan Islands all boast phenomenal diving and snorkelling conditions at this time of year.

Shoulder season in Thailand

March and April are actually Thailand’s hottest months, so you’d expect them to be peak season. However, as temperatures soar to 35 and 40⁰C with very little rain, it can be too hot for some holidaymakers. March is ideal for beach holidays and snorkelling and diving is still very good (sea temperatures reaching 29⁰C). The humidity creeps up in April and the days may be punctuated with short showers – the rain heads to the west coast first. Crop burning in Northern Thailand reaches its peak levels in March and April, meaning air in Chiang Mai can sometimes become quite polluted, so many people prefer to explore the south, the coast and Bangkok. This is also the best time to go to Thailand and visit the Khao Sok National Park; the rainforest is teeming with wildlife at this time and you have a good chance of spotting favourites.

The other shoulder season, and possibly the best time of year to go to Thailand on a budget, is October. The rain is beginning to fade, but unpredictable thundery showers are broken up by spells of warm, sunny weather. Temperatures drop down to around 25⁰C, meaning it’s a comfortable time to explore the temples, antiquities and even cities without sweltering.

Low season in Thailand

Low season in Thailand coincides with European summer holidays, but don’t let this put you off. It’s one of the best times to visit Thailand on a budget and with fewer crowds, and there are plenty of things to do. It’s also not a wash-out, because the monsoon season doesn’t hit the whole country at once. May and June are good times to visit the south-east coast, the Gulf of Thailand, as the west-coast is experiencing the brunt of the monsoon at this time. Hua Hin and Koh Samui are very popular, but the Similan Islands National Park closes in May as the seas become rougher. In June and July, the monsoon spreads south and east, but you’ll still experience sunny weather around the downpours. Head to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to get the best of the weather. August and September are the rainiest and cloudiest months in the country, with high humidity throughout. However, if you’re wondering when to go to Thailand and explore the north, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle really come to life in July and August, as the rains relieve the heat haze and people explore the temples and markets.

When to Dive in Thailand

Diving season in Thailand is somewhat separate to beach-holiday season. In fact, this glorious destination has two distinct diving regions and two distinct seasons, making it a fantastic choice for scuba-fans year-round. In the east, the Gulf of Thailand, the visibility is incredible between May and September, while on the west coast, the Andaman Sea, conditions peak from October through April. Get a chance to spot whale sharks between March and June, or manta rays from mid-October through to mid-May.

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Events in Thailand

  • If you visit Thailand in January, you’re likely to find colourful decorations and parades in the major cities as people celebrate Chinese New Year.
  • Held in February, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival is one of the most colourful events on the Thai calendar. There are parades with traditional dress and dancing, street food and music, and towering, sculptural displays of flowers in all the colours of the rainbow.
  • Pattaya International Music Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in Thailand, usually held in late March. Big-name Thai and Asian artists from a wide variety of genres perform on festival stages along Pattaya Beach Road.
  • The Thai New Year, Songkran, is a three-day national celebration in April. It brings welcome relief from the scorching temperatures as locals hold huge street water fights.
  • Hua Hin has several major festivals throughout the year. The Hua Hin Jazz Festival takes place in June, with a laid-back festival atmosphere and performances on beach stages. The Thailand International Kite Festival is also held here in March, when the beach sky fills with colourful creations.
  • Phi Ta Khon Festival – also known as the Ghost Festival – is a fantastic reason to head off the beaten track in Thailand and visit lesser-known Loei in the north, in late June. Expect a carnival atmosphere, colourful costumes and elaborate masks, as well as quite prominent phallic imagery representing fertility. The weird and wonderful parade is reminiscent of a Day of the Dead celebration.
  • The Phuket Vegetarian Festival (or Nine Emperor Gods Festival) is usually held in the last week of September or early October. There’s a huge and colourful parade and a cacophonous atmosphere. Perhaps unexpectedly, people walk on hot coals, climb ladders made of blades and pierce their cheeks with daggers and swords.
  • Loi Krathong is the Thai Festival of Lights, held in November. Join in for this magical celebration as residents head to the water, releasing lanterns into the sky and floating banana tree trunks adorned with flowers, candles and incense as offerings to the river goddess.
  • In November, residents of Lopburi celebrate the Monkey Festival. Inside the impressive temple complex tables are piled with food for the town's long-tailed macaques. The monkey photo opportunities are myriad – but be warned, they’re not shy.
  • Wonderfruit is a music and cultural festival held near Pattaya in mid-December (2023: 14–18th). It’s a very sought-after event (the organisers are capping tickets) with a fantastic line up, parades and dancing, a fabulous atmosphere and sustainability initiatives front and centre – the festival is certified carbon-neutral. Think colourful, quirky and immersive stages, sculptures and light experiences, delicious vegan cuisine and art and upcycling workshops.
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