A COMPLETE GUIDE ON SEASONS AND FESTIVITIES TO HELP YOU DECIDE
Weather plays an important part in our travel experience. It is uncomfortable if the temperature is too hot or too cold. Rain and thunderstorm can ruin your whole travel plans. This is why it is important to check the weather before deciding on a destination at a particular time. Thailand is a tropical country, and the temperature doesn’t vary much in central and southern Thailand. The north, however, is more affected by the monsoon. The average temperatures are usually somewhere between 18°C to 35°C. The seasons can be classified into 3 major ones:
- Hot Season: March to June
- Rainy Season: June to October (this can vary)
- Cool Season: November to February
This is perhaps one of the worst months to visit Thailand if you can’t tolerate the scorching heat. Temperatures in Bangkok average 30°C, and can reach up to 40°C during this time. In addition to being very hot, it is also very humid and makes sightseeing an uncomfortable experience. Visiting temples and going anywhere without air conditioning without being dripping wet from all the sweat.
Luckily, Bangkok has a very good and cheap transportation system with AC, and taxis are cheap. And there are plenty of indoor activities such as shopping, restaurants, and movies. And if you can still have a great time in Bangkok during this season without stepping out in the sun. Also, the islands are also another good idea during this time. You can take a dip in the sea, which can cool off some heat.
In reality, Thailand is pretty hot the whole year in general. An exception might be the Northern areas during the cool season. There are some benefits to the hot season as well. There is less rainfall, and you will not need to cancel any travel plans for the rain or flood. Tips for traveling during this time are drinking plenty of water and liquid, being under the shade, and AC whenever you can, loading up on sunscreen, and carrying a small portable fan.
The rainy season which typically starts during June and runs through October is when the country has the most rain. However, the good thing is it doesn’t mean it will constantly rain even during this time. It can rain for days at a time, and there have been instances when it hasn’t rained for days or weeks. Another advantage of this season is that hotel prices are generally much lower.
But it can be a gamble. If you’re lucky you can do plenty of sight-seeing with some rain during the evenings, or you can be stuck in your hotel due to heavy rain. The destination on the Andaman seaboard such as Krabi and Phuket, the rainy season officially runs from May through October. On the gulf coast, however, it starts much later.
On the islands of the gulf coast such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, much of the rainfall occurs from September to December. Which is why if you’re visiting Thailand from June to August, and craving some vitamin sea, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan can be great options. But keep in mind, nature doesn’t follow strict timetables. So there might be exceptions to this as well.
Also, one thing to keep in mind is that there is a risk of flash flooding during the monsoon. This can occur in both big cities and the islands. However, if you’re lucky and the weather is by your side, you can have a great holiday at a bargain price.
If you’re wondering what is the best time to visit Thailand, it is during November/ late October to February. While it will still be hot, it will be quite comfortable than the rest of the year for most activities during this time. In Bangkok and some other places, temperatures can go up to 30°C. But if you’re heading towards the northern highlands such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the weather can get chilly.
So be sure to carry a light sweater/ jacket. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are undoubtedly very beautiful during this time of the year, you can enjoy gorgeous views of mountains covered in cool mist. Krabi and Phuket are also great during this time. While the sun is still up and shining, the heat is bearable. This is also the peak time for traveling in Thailand. This means you will have to pay a little extra to visit the land of smiles during this time. However, it is worth the extra money without a doubt.
Thailand is a beautiful country with a lot of diverse and unique cultural experiences. And although weather plays a major role in deciding when you want to visit a certain country, you can also narrow down your most preferred time by looking at the festivals and celebrations that happen throughout the year. These festivals offer a unique and unforgettable experience. However, please be noted that hotel prices can be slightly higher during the festivities. So here’s a list of wonderful festivals and celebrations in Thailand:
Umbrella festival in the village of Bo Sang: It usually occurs over the third weekend of the month, and it is a great side trip from Chiang Mai. The festival showcases the traditional art of making colorful paper parasols. Aside from that parades, live music, traditional dancing, and plenty of food stands, etc. make the festival very vibrant and enjoyable.
In February, the Chinese New Year brings a lot of festivities and celebrations all around the world where there is a significant Chinese population. Plan a holiday during this time to watch dragon dances, Chinese opera shows, lion dances, an acrobatic demonstration in Chinatown, Bangkok.
March is another happening month in Thailand. Thailand’s international balloon festival usually occurs in March. Head over to Pattaya to attend a three-day free music festival considered as one of Thailand’s best ones. If you’re a boxing fan, you can enjoy day-long demonstrations and events at the ancient city of Ayutthaya on 17th March (National Muay Thai Day).
One of Thailand’s biggest festivals “Songkran” is held in April. Bring out your water guns and get wet and wild during the water fights in this lively festival celebrating Thai New year.
Enjoy some durian with a side serving of fun, games, and parades in the world durian festival in Chanthaburi if you’re in Thailand during May. You can also watch locals launching many rockets in hopes of receiving rain in the Bun Bang Fai Festival. This festival is held in Yasothan in Northeastern Thailand.
If you are visiting the north of Thailand in June, attend the Phi Ta Khon Festival in Dan Sai district of Loei. A local spiritual festival where people parade in ghost costumes and seek rain.
In Isan, the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival is held in July. You can watch gigantic wax sculptures paraded through the streets with music, and dancing.
Head over to Hua Hin if you’re a food lover and attend the food festival in August. Don’t miss out Akha Swing Festival in Chiang Rai to experience the fascinating traditions of one of Thailand’s ethnic groups.
For party lovers, September is a great month to visit Thailand. Experience the multi-day Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music. It offers a unique experience with a performance from diverse genres, dance shows, operas, ballets, and whatnot.
If you are fascinated with the lives and traditions of unique groups of people, head to Koh Lanta to experience Loi Ruea Chao Le. It’s a Festival of the Moken people, also known as sea gypsies.
Fancy being in a festival that looks something out of a Disney movie? The Yee Peng or lantern festival is something not to be missed. One of the best places to observe this festival where people release stunning lanterns into the sky in Chiang Mai. Another major festival is also celebrated during this time. In the Loy Krathong festival celebrated around the country, people float pretty Krathongs on the rivers thanking the spirits.
Apart from huge celebrations of New Year across Thailand, you can totally be in the Christmas Spirit in Sakhon Nakhon province of Thailand where there is a large Christian population.
I hope you have all the information you need for deciding when to visit the beautiful land of smiles! Although this provides a general idea about the weather, don’t take it as the bible. As nature can be quite unpredictable at times. And whatever the season, enjoy the beautiful and vibrant country to the fullest!