The old joke about Thailand weather only having two seasons: hot and dry and hot and wet is a little more nuanced than that.
Broadly speaking there are three main seasons. Hot season runs from March until June; rainy season is from July until October; and cool season goes from November until February. The other thing to take into account is there are differences in the times these actually take place, and how dramatic they are based on where in the country you intend to be in your visit. For example, in the south of Thailand, there isn’t much variance in the temperature, meaning there are only really rainy and dry seasons with the seasons transitioning without sudden changes. The north has much more defined swings in weather: hot season is much hotter, cool season is much cooler, and rainy season is very much, much wetter!
To help decide the perfect time to plan your visit to Thailand, here’s a monthly breakdown of Thailand weather. I’ve also included notes on the high season and low season for tourism in Thailand which, unsurprisingly goes hand in hand with Thailand weather. If you’re traveling on a budget, this in an important thing to take into account, with high season being significantly more expensive.
January is right in the middle of Thailand’s cool season. The average temperature is a calm 27˚C, with a high of 32˚C. Rainfall is very low: only 10mm on average, with an average of 2 rainy days per month.
These are pretty much dream conditions for visiting Thailand so, as you can probably guess, January falls into the high season. Tourists flee the colder parts of Europe and North America to enjoy Thailand at its most inviting. Accordingly, anticipate relatively high prices for accommodation. Prices at restaurants will also be increased.
February sees a slight increase in temperatures, with the average 28˚C, and the high being 33˚C. The rainfall averages stay just as low as they were in January.
High season starts to slow done near the end of February. Prices remain higher, but things will get less busy as the month progresses.
March sees the start of hot season, as the heat begins to rise dramatically. The average temperature in March is 30˚C, with a high of 34˚C. Rainfall also increases as Thailand starts to head into its rainy season. The new averages are 50mm of rain, and approximately 5 rainy days across the month.
As the temperatures and rainfall increase, high season ends. While there are always plenty of tourists in Thailand, the numbers decrease significantly from March onwards.
April is Thailand’s hottest month. An average temperature of 31˚C, with a searing high of 35˚C (but it has been recorded higher in some years), is enough to ensure this is not a popular month for tourists. If you’re looking to grab a great deal on a hotel, and you can stand the heat, book in April!
Compared to March, the average rainfall is more than doubled to 110mm, with an average of 8 rainy days.
May is very much in the heart of Thailand’s hot season. The temperatures slightly drop from those in April, but not by much. The average temperature is 30˚C, and the high is 34˚C. Obviously, May also falls into the low season of tourism, also making it a good time to visit for budget-conscious travellers.
Rainfall climbs dramatically as Thailand heads towards its wet season. May’s average rainfall is 180mm, with 17 rainy days.
June is the last month of the hot season. The average temperature remains constant at 30˚C, with a slight drop in the high to 33˚C. The average rainfall holds steady at 180mm, with a slight increase in rainy days to 18.
While June still falls into the low season, tourism numbers do start to climb in the next couple of months. If you want to grab an early-summer bargain, now might be the best time to get in!
Technically, July marks the beginning of the rainy season. There isn’t much change in the averages from those in June, however: the average rainfall is still 180mm, and an average of 19 rainy days. Temperatures remain steady too, with an average of 30˚C and a high of 33˚C.
What does increase, however, is the number of tourists. July doesn’t technically fall into the category of ‘high season’, but with schools and universities finishing for the summer, there is noticeably more families and students about. This doesn’t result in the dramatic spike in prices that you’ll find in the high season, but things certainly do get busier.
The temperatures hold steady in August, at an average of 30˚C and with a high of 33˚C. Even though rainy season has begun, the average rainfall actually drops to 170mm, although there is another increase in rainy days to 21 on average.
Tourist numbers remain higher than at other points in the ‘low’ season. If it’s important to you to experience Thailand’s delights at their most quiet, July and August probably aren’t your best months to visit.
September is truly the peak of rainy season. The average rainfall increases significantly to 220mm with an average of 22 rainy days. If you’re planning to visit in September, make sure you bring a poncho or umbrella!
Despite the high chance of rain, the temperatures are pleasant though, at an average of 29˚C and with a daily high of 32˚C. Falling in the midst of the rainy season, and with schools and universities back in session, September is a great time to grab a bargain on your trip to Thailand.
Tourist numbers are at their lowest in October with the weather beginning to be slightly less incredible than September!
The rainy season starts drawing to a close in October. Average rainfall decreases to 190mm, and rainy days fall steeply to 16. The pleasant temperatures continue, remaining at an average of 29˚C and a high of 32˚C. Historically, October use to be my choice of month to visit Thailand, leading to the end of low season, most business were keen to get income flowing in again and prices were significantly cheaper. While this is a good month for the budget conscious, unfortunately over the past few years, I haven’t seen the significant discounts that you use to easily see at this time.
Rainy season is over! There’s a massive drop in average rainfall to a mere 40mm, with an average of only 5 rainy days. Temperatures drop slightly too, to an average of 28˚C with a daily high of 31˚C.
With Thailand’s weather quickly improving for holiday makers, tourist numbers also rise sharply as the high season begins to ramp up. If you want to get to Thailand before the crowds arrive, this is your last chance for a while! You will also find that most discounted airfares end on 30 November.
The high season returns! Tourist numbers increase rapidly, getting back to their peak, and prices rise as the country’s weather gets back to its best.
The rainfall drops to almost nothing, averaging only 10mm and 2 rainy days. The temperatures cool to an ideal average of 26˚C and a daily high of 31˚C.
THAILAND WEATHER AND YOUR PERFECT HOLIDAY
So you are asking yourself, when is the best time to plan my holiday in Thailand? The answer, of course, is up to you!
The answer depends entirely on your priorities. If you’re looking for the best weather in which to stretch out on Thailand’s golden beaches or tour around the country with a lot of outside time, the cool season between November and February is going to be the most pleasurable time for you. The trade-off of course for this perfect weather, is that prices are at their peak both in Thailand and the cost of getting to Thailand.
If you’re traveling on a budget, you can easily find better bargains in the low seasons, especially between March to June, and September to November. You’ll sweat a bit more in the hot season, or a chance of getting a bit wetter than normal, but you’ll still see all the same things that Thailand has to offer without the high season price tag!
Regardless of the timing of your visit, Thailand remains a wonderful, beautiful, spectacular country, with something for everyone throughout the year. And let’s not forget, if you are looking to plan your trip to coincide with a festival or event in Thailand, Thailand weather is only part of the equation in planning your holiday.