Whether you are after exotic beaches, impressive temples, zen-like spas, amazing cuisine or the hedonistic nightlife, Thailand ticks all the boxes. No wonder then that it is known as the Land of Smiles! But when is it best to visit to get the most out of your trip?
Thailand’s tropical climate is common of Southeast Asia and generally falls into three seasons. The rainy monsoon season of May-October, the cool season from November-February and the hot season from March-May when it is not unusual for city temperatures to reach an impressive 35°C. As such, the best time to visit weatherwise is often seen as the cool season from November-February when temperatures are the most pleasant and rainfall is at its lowest. Although despite the name, Thailand’s ‘cool’ temperatures of 30°C would be considered a heatwave in the UK!
Unfortunately, the best time to visit can also mean the busiest, but a little research means you can soak up the sun and unique cultural heritage without the crowds and spend around 31% less doing so.
The real monsoon season doesn’t tend to hit until July-October, although expect rain showers from May onwards. Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island, sees a consistent year round temperature of around 30°C and there are plenty of varied activities on offer whatever the weather such as jungle hiking, water sports, diving…. or nature watching and indulgent spa retreats for those who prefer a more relaxed pace. Travel there in May and – according to Skyscanner – you’ll be spending 43% less than if you travelled during pricey December.
Direct flights are available from London to Phuket and start from around £350. If you are planning on breaking up your journey and want to spend a couple of days in the capital, consider flying into the main hub, Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, from £250 and travelling on via regional airlines.
What to see and where to go:
With so much on offer, the only issue is how to fit it all in! Check out our round up of must visit places and events below to add to your bucket list.
- Bangkok – No visit is complete without a trip to the capital city. By day, take in the elaborate temples and ornate palaces, shop ‘til you drop whatever your budget in high end shopping malls or local street markets like Chatuchak and Sampeng, or take a day trip to the nearby river island of Koh Kret. By night, enjoy a nightlife like no other.
- Chiang Mai – The largest city in Northern Thailand. Brave the sometimes unpredictable weather to admire numerous, stunning Buddhist temples (over 300 hundred to be exact), stunning botanical gardens and fascinating hill tribe villages.
- Pattaya – Only an hour from Bangkok, be sure to add this fascinating city to your must-see list. Visit the spectacular Khao Chee Chan Buddha Mountain and enjoy a plethora of activities such as water sports, bungee jumping, horse riding, golf and diving alongside an impressive nightlife.
- Phuket – Soak up the culture on Thailand’s biggest Island via magnificent beaches, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine. If you visit in October, enjoy the fascinating ceremonies of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, a must-see (and taste!).
- Ko Samui – the island is extremely popular with visitors due to the stunning wildlife, white sandy beaches and spectacular scenery, not to mention the luxury resorts and spas. Find time to see the impressive 12m-high golden Buddha statue which can be found on a small island just off Ko Samui, and make sure to set your alarm for the impressive sunrise vista… we promise it is worth it.
- Hua Hin – A stunning beach resort made popular by the Thai royal family in the 1920s and located south of Bangkok at the Gulf of Thailand. Enjoy incredible beaches and experience the local culture at impressive temples and bustling night markets.