Thailand makes an excellent destination for backpackers, vacationers and digital nomads year-round. However, the seasons vary widely from region to region and coast to coast. We’re going over the seasons of each region to help you determine the best time to visit Thailand for your travel needs!
Located smack dab in the center of the mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand makes an excellent destination throughout most of the year.
However, in order to avoid monsoon rains and smoke season, you’ll want to be sure to do a little research and planning before packing your bags so you are sure to visit the right places at the right time.
That’s why we’re here!
With such a diverse landscape throughout the country – from the mountains in the north to the islands in the south – the climate in Thailand varies widely from region to region.
Plus, the seasons are not as straight forward as in other places in the world. Instead of winter, spring, summer and autumn, the Thai seasons are best described as “cool”, “hot” and “rainy”.
In this article, we’re going over the seasons of each region to help you determine the best time to visit Thailand for what you’d like to see and do on your trip.
When is the best time to visit Thailand?
In general, you’ll find the most comfortable temperatures across the country, with little chance of rain, from November – February.
Now, let’s break it down by region…
Bangkok and Chiang Mai
Bangkok and Chiang Mai have the best weather from November – February. Outside of these months, you can expect heavy rains and extreme heat, with lots of smoke in the north of the country.
If you plan to visit the Thai islands, the best time to visit the Andaman Sea (Thailand’s southwest coast) is November – April. Monsoon season is May – September in this region, so you will likely want to avoid it during this time.
Thailand’s Gulf Coast will have its best weather from December – March, but the summer months (July – September) are also a decent time to visit and the crowds tend to be fewer. Monsoon season in the Gulf is much shorter than the Andaman Sea, generally lasting from October through the end of November.
When should I travel to Thailand?
As with any destination, there is no straightforward answer to this question. But we’re not going to leave you hanging…
In this article, we’ve organized Thailand’s seasons by region, and listed some of the best things to do during each season all over Thailand. We hope reading through these suggestions will help you decide the best time to visit Thailand for YOU.
Answer these questions to get started:
- What region of the country do you plan to visit?
- Do you mind a bit of rain?
- Are you easily bothered by crowds?
- Are you negatively affected by high humidity?
- Do you prefer to spend your time outdoors hiking?
- Are you planning to do some scuba diving while in Thailand?
Thinking about your answers to these questions is going to help you start to determine when to visit Thailand.
Best time to visit Thailand Guide
General Thailand Info
- Our experience in Thailand
- Thailand geography overview
- Map of Thailand
- Weather in Thailand
- What to pack for Thailand
Know where you’d like to go in Thailand? Jump to that section of this article so you can quickly see what time of year will bring the best weather.
Seasons by Region
- Northern Thailand
- Central Thailand
- Southern Thailand & Thai Islands
- West Coast (Andaman Sea)
- Gulf of Thailand
Where to go during each season
Not sure where you’d like to go, but know what time of year you’ll be traveling? Click on the months so you can see which destinations will be best during that season.
Overall BEST Time to Visit Thailand
Want a quick recommendation? Jump down to see our advice for the best time to visit Thailand. Plus, we’ll share what times of year we’d avoid visiting!
Be sure to download our complete packing list for Southeast Asia! It’s packed with good suggestions and insider tips to help plan your Mexico vacation. And it’s completely FREE, so why not!?
Our experience in Thailand
We’ve visited Thailand in all seasons
- We’ve spent quite a bit of time living and traveling in Thailand, and with the exception of June, we’ve been in Thailand during every other month (many of which we’ve been multiple times).
Our favorite time of the year in Thailand
November – January
This is easily our favorite time of the year to visit Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. It’s also a great time to visit the Andaman Coast and the islands in the Gulf.
Worst time to visit Thailand
Starting in mid-February, the burning season begins and it’s not a good time to be in the northern part of the country. We’ve been there for the burning season twice, and it’s rough. (Not recommended!)
By April, it is uncomfortably hot in the north. The only reprieve is the (very fun!) Songkran celebration (a water festival) which takes place during April.
Good to know: From February through April, the islands and coasts can be a better choice.
The summer months are very hot, muggy, and rainy in Thailand and can bring monsoon weather to the islands and Andaman Coast.
Thailand geography overview
Thailand is a country in the middle of mainland Southeast Asia with nearly 320,000 square miles (513,120 km²) an odd shape with a long tail leading down towards the equator.
Thailand has everything from high mountains and an upland plateau in the north, to central plains and tropical islands in the south.
Map of Thailand
The map above shows a very rough break down of the northern, central and souther regions of the country. Generally speaking, you can consider Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to be in the north, Bangkok is part of central and the lower leg and Thai islands make up the south.
Weather in Thailand
The weather in Thailand varies from region to region with the north experiencing the greatest fluctuation in temperatures throughout the year and the south experiencing very little variation the closer you get to the equator.
The climate is mostly tropical with warm temperatures throughout the year (with the exception of the mountains in the far north).
The seasons in Thailand can be categorized into three main groups: Cool, Hot and Rainy.
Though somewhat unpredictable, and varying from coast to coast and by region, they follow the general pattern below.
- Cool season: November to February; also peak tourist season
- Hot season: March to May
- Rainy season: June to October
The cool season is felt most distinctly in the far north, but temperatures hardly change in the south.
The hot season is essentially the dry season where central and north are at their highest temperatures with clouds of dust gathering in the air.
The rainy season is caused by the southwest monsoon, which is unpredictable. However, the Gulf Coast is effected less by the southwest monsoon and more by the northwest monsoon, causing November to consistently be its wettest month.
Seasons in Northern Thailand
The weather in northern Thailand tends to be less humid and experiences the greatest rage of temperatures throughout the year. During January, the average low temp in Chiang Mai is 59ºF (15ºC). On the flip side, during hot season, the north of the country is dry and dusty and temperatures can skyrocket.
- Hot Season: February – April
- Rainy Season: May – September
- Cool Season: October – January
What to pack for visiting Northern Thailand
- Lots of layers for cooler nights and warmer days
- Good hiking shoes or
- Swimwear – even though you’re not by the water, there are plenty of pools and waterfalls!
Seasons in Central Thailand
Central Thailand experiences the country’s three seasons fairly equally throughout the year. The one constant is humidity, which makes the air feel hotter than it should.
- Hot Season: March – June
- Rainy Season: June – October
- Cool Season: October – February
What to pack for visiting Central Thailand
- Loose, lightweight clothes & layers
- A shawl or scarf to cover your shoulders when entering temples and religious sites
- An insulated water bottle to stay hydrated
Seasons in South Thailand & the Thai Islands
Temperatures in southern Thailand are more consistent throughout the year, with less variation the closer you get to the equator. There is really only 2 seasons down here: wet and dry.
The climate does vary from coast to coast in the south based on the different monsoons. Which is why we’ve split up the coasts below to show seasonal variations.
A Note About Diving: Diving and snorkeling will be at it’s best during the winter months. December and January will be more crowded since it’s the peak season. If you want to see some mantas and local whale sharks, it’s best to plan your trip around February to April.
Phuket, Krabi & Andaman Coast (Southwest Coast)
- Wet Season: April – October/early-November
- The wettest months are September and October
- Dry Season: mid-November – March
Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao (Gulf of Thailand)
- Wet Season: October – December
- The rainiest months are October and November
- “Shoulder season” (not too much rain): January and February
- Dry Season: January – August
- May – October can be windy
What to pack for visiting Southern Thailand
- Reef safe sunscreen
- Bug repellant (solids are the way to go!)
- A wide brimmed hat or baseball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Cool Season in Thailand: November – February
Peak of the dry season in most parts of the country, November sees cooler temperatures and plenty of sunshine. The western Thai Gulf coast is the only part of the country still experiencing rain.
Getting into the peak of tourism season in Thailand, weather is great all over the country and temperatures are relatively cool. There is little to no rainfall and tourists flock to the beaches for plenty of sunshine.
Peak tourism season and great weather all over Thailand. Accommodation will be at premium prices, and you should book well in advance. The cooler temps in the northern region are great for hiking in the mountains and trekking through the jungles.
Still peak tourism season all over the country. The Chinese New Year typically happens in February (thought it follows the lunar calendar and the exact vary from year to year).
Best places to visit during cool season in Thailand
- Northern Thailand experiences the most comfortable weather of the year during this time. Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai are all great places to add to your itinerary.
- Consider visiting lesser known destinations, as this time of year is peak tourism season.
- Sam Phan Bok: A natural wonder only accessible during dry season. Found in Ubon Ratchathani, Isan, thousands of holes are scattered across the Mekong River bed.
- Bo Sang, a small village in the north hosts their annual Umbrella Festival on the 3rd weekend in January.
- Chinatown in Bangkok is a fun place to witness the Chinese New Year celebrations.
- Visit some of the Thai Islands in the Andaman Sea such as Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta and Phuket.
Best things to do in Thailand during cool season
- Celebrate the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai in November.
- Visit temples in Bangkok such as Wet Saket during the Thai national holiday of Makha Bucha to observe spiritual rituals.
- Krabi Naga Fest, a music festival near Krabi.
- Jai Thep Music and Arts Festival takes place in Chiang Mai in early February.
- Loy Krathong festival is celebrated around the country by floating krathongs on the rivers to give thanks to the water spirits.
- Ayutthaya World Heritage and Red Cross Fair boasts stunning light shows amid the ancient ruins.
- Big Mountain Music Festival in Phetchaburi happens in December.
- The Andaman coast is at it’s best in November, so it’s a perfect time to go island hopping.
Hot Season in Thailand: March – May
Temperatures are starting to heat up all over Thailand, so it’s best to stay near the water. In the north, burning season is in full force, so you’ll want to avoid traveling there as much as possible. (Trust us, we lived in Chiang Mai during these months, and we would not recommend it.) Instead, this is prime time for diving in the Andaman Sea at popular locations such as the Similan Islands.
One of the hottest months in Thailand. Be sure your accommodation has air conditioning if you are visiting during this month. Remember to drink lots of water and use plenty of sunscreen too.
Another incredibly hot month in Thailand. With many public and religious holidays, it’s a good time to get off the beaten path and experience new and interesting cultural celebrations.
Best places to visit during hot season in Thailand
- The ancient city of Ayutthaya is a great place for boxing fans to visit on National Muay Thai Day
- Bangkok, Phuket or Chiang Mai during Songkran Festival
- Similan Islands liveaboard for scuba diving in the Andaman sea
Best things to do in Thailand during hot season
- Turtle Release Festival in Phang Nga in March
- Thailand’s International Balloon Festival happens around this time in a different location every year
- Pattaya International Music Festival: one of Thailand’s best, takes place over a 3-day weekend in March and it’s 100% free to attend!
- Check out a Muay Thai demonstration on National Muay Thai Day on March 17
- Songkran Festival is famous for it’s water fights in the streets takes place around the country in April during the Thai New Year
Rainy Season in Thailand: June – October
The start of the rainy season means you’ll want to carry an umbrella and wear shoes that can get wet. Take extra precautions on scooters as the roads can be dangerous when wet.
Wet and humid all over Thailand, you’ll want to pack and umbrella and wear plenty of bug spray! Be careful of leeches if you are planning on venturing into the jungle.
Typically the wettest month in all of Thailand. Come prepared for the rain and be sure to have a long list of indoor activities to entertain yourself during this month.
This is the wettest time of year on the Andaman coast, but rains generally ease up in the north.
Central and Northern Thailand will have dried up by October, but nearly all of the islands on both coasts will still be experiencing heavy rain.
Best places to visit during rainy season in Thailand
- National Parks such as Khao Yai National Park and Kanchanaburi’s Erawan National Park will be wonderful this time of year.
- Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Hua Hin, and Cha Am will be some of the driest beaches and islands to visit.
- Bangkok for its magnitude of indoor activities and International festivals.
- The small mountain town of Pai for its decent weather in October.
- Visit the Mekong River in the north to experience the mysterious natural phenomenon known as Naga Fireballs of Nong Khai in late October.
Best things to do in Thailand during rainy season
- Phi Ta Khon Festival in Dan Sai district of Loei province
- Go chasing waterfalls! They will be at their fullest during the rainy season.
- Visit the floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park
- Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival in Isan
- Scuba diving in Koh Tao
- Visit temples, museums, art galleries and malls to stay indoors as much as possible during the rain.
- Experience long boat races on rivers all over the country in September.
The best time to visit Thailand in our opinion…
There really is no “bad” time to visit Thailand, but it’s a good idea to have the seasons in mind when planning your itinerary and activities you’d like to experience during your trip.
Our personal pick would be to visit Thailand between November and February, as you’ll have great weather all around the country.
When to avoid traveling in Thailand
- Chiang Mai: If possible, avoid visiting from mid-February through early April. This is “burning season” and air quality can be quite bad.
- Andaman Sea (Krabi, Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lanta): Rainy season is from May – October
- Gulf Islands (Koh Tao, Koh Chang, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui): Rainfall is heaviest in October & November
- Similan Islands: The National Marine Park is closed between the months of November through March.
What to pack for your trip to Thailand
We know it can be overwhelming packing for a trip to a new destination. That’s why we spent hours creating this super helpful PDF just for you.
In this free SE Asia packing list PDF download, we’ve provided packing checklists for everything from clothing and toiletries (for both women and men!) to what shoes to pack and extra medicines you may want to have on-hand just in case.
Plus, we’re sharing tons of packing hacks and tips for traveling in SE Asia that you won’t find anywhere else!
Are you planning a trip to Thailand?
We have TONS of resources on travel in Thailand and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Thailand Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.
- How to Travel Sustainably in Thailand
- Thailand Beaches: Two Week Island Hopping Itinerary
- Scuba Diving in Thailand: The Best Liveaboards for Every Budget
- Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Bangkok
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We want to hear from you!
Have you ever been to Thailand before? When did you go and what was your experience like? Leave your comments in the section below and we’ll do our best to respond to any questions!