When's the best time to go to Thailand?

The weather in Thailand—rainy seasons, wet seasons, temperatures and crowds—and when is the best time of year to visit

When should you go to Thailand? As soon as you can!

But seriously: Thailand is tropical, which means it technically has a rainy season and a dry season. However, in practice the heat and the rain don't quite appear and disappear in lockstep with one another. Thailand is, in general, hottest February to September, while it is rainiest May to October. That puts the sweet spot of the best weather between November and January.

This time of year, it is as cool and as dry as tropical Thailand ever gets, with temperatures in December ranging from 22–31 °C (72–88 °F)—though in the mountainous north around Chiang Mai, it can get down to 13 °C (54 °F). However, this window of lovely weather is no secret, so it's also when Thailand is the most crowded.

Of course, to those of us from temperate climes, the weather in tropical Thailand seems mostly hot and humid year-round—whether it's the stiflingly hot rainy season (May through October, with temps up to 36 °C / 97 °F and monthly rainfall up to 305 mm / 12 in) or the somewhat-less-hot dry season (November through April).

Again, it's the dry season that is by far more popular, both because it allows those of us in the northern hemisphere to escape our winter, and because the rainy season can be intensely humid (also, jungle treks then become exercises in daily de-leeching).

That said, there are a lot of regional variations (it's rainier in the south, and even there the heaviest rains on the west coast come April to October, while on the east coast it's rainiest September to December).

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.