Climate & Weather in Thailand

Because of its location and tropical climate, Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.
Because of its location and tropical climate, Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

Thailand is near the equator, and because of its location, it has a warm, tropical climate. Thais divide their years into three main seasons- they call them the rainy season, the cool season and the hot season. In the cities, it rarely gets colder than 25° Celsius, and if you're packing for a trip to Thailand, the kind of clothing you'll take depends on the season in which you're visiting.

Thailand's rainy season is during the same time as North America's and Europe's summer, and the days are filled with heavy downpours (although these usually only last for about an hour at a time). Thailand's major cities get up to 340mm of rain per year, and the rainiest parts of the rainy season are the months of May to October. As temperatures reach their peak, the rain does not come down cold- in fact, it usually feels like a warm shower. These months are the slowest times of year for tourism.

Thailand's cool season goes from December to March, although that seems like a stretch (there are usually only a couple of December weeks where it's relatively cool). Then, temperatures dip down to just a few degrees Celsius, which doesn't make a lot of difference to the locals, but for the rest of us, it makes it a great time to come on vacation.

The hot season in Thailand begins right after the New Year, and by the time April and May come, the climate is very hot and unbearably humid. Tourists and locals alike enjoy the yearly Songkran festival, which takes place in April when it's already hot- and there's plenty of water being thrown around to cool off. April and May are the hottest parts of the hot season, and the humidity is due to the wind coming off the sea. As the months go on, temperatures will gradually begin to fall.

From June to September, there is plenty of sun and temperatures are cooler, usually ranging from 24 to 28° C. The rain is very refreshing, and because there aren't many tourists during the rainy season, hotel rates are better. If you're trying to decide when to visit Thailand, you should assess the climate at the time when you want to visit. Knowing what the weather will be like when you take your trip will enable you to pack appropriately, and you'll spend less time worrying and more time enjoying Thailand.

If you are planning to visit Koh Samui island, interestingly enough, the weather in Koh Samui is different than most of Thailand and experiences its dry season from April to September even though the rest of the country usually is drenched in the monsoon season. However, conversely, during the months of October through December the island experiences a great deal of participation while it is dry in mainland Thailand. The best time to head out to Koh Samui is during the span of months that reach from January to March because this is when the island receives the smallest amount of rain.