Thailand locates within south East Asia, with tropical climate and only has 3 seasons in a year – cool season, summer and rainy season. You may have heard that many guides recommend to visit during cool season and summer, when the weather is pleasant, dry and sunny and avoid at all cost during the rainy season which is wet and seems impossible to roam around. In fact, rainy season is a fine period to travel and also has it's distinguish appeal despite being the wetting time of year.
Let's look into the detail and some popular questions usually asked when having a plan visiting Thailand in rainy season. There are many things that may help you plan your trip and discover the charm that only comes… when the rain falls.
When is the rainy season?
Rainy season in Thailand starts from mid June and ends around late October. However, this June-to-October pattern only accurate only if you are in the upper part of the country (from Bangkok upward).
Thanks to the climate zone and the shape of Thailand that stretch over 2,000 kms in north-south direction, the beginning and ending of the rainy season tends to migrate from Northern Thailand to Southern Thailand with a difference of about one month. That means the rainy season in the North usually ends a month sooner than it does in the South. If you visit Northern provinces like Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and also Bangkok the rainy season likely to start in June, the Southern provinces like Phuket, Phang Nga, and Hat Yai usually rains from July till the end of year.
How often does it rains?
Many people ask if it rains every day during the rainy season, and the answer is no. A week could go by without rain, even in the month with most precipitation like august and September.
When there is no tropical storm, it usually rains in the evening and stop before dawn followed by clear sunny sky in the morning and less hot temperature during the next day. However, we recommend carrying rain coat or umbrella with you all the time --- there are no guarantees when it comes to the weather!
Will the rain effect travel plan?
Actually, yes… but no. If you love to hit the beach, see clear blue sky or want to get dry all the time, rainy season may not be the choice for you. But if you love adventure and can go with the rain, this season will give you a less hot climate as well as refreshing atmosphere. Lots of people visiting Thailand during the wet season have a brilliant time.
What is the good point about the season?
Rainy season is the least crowded period of Thailand. Price wise, this is the cheapest time to travel --- lots of hotels dump the price and air tickets to Thailand are much cheaper than other time of year.
You get plenty of space at every famous attraction like Wat Phrakaew or Temple of dawn, and less people on the beach too. It's also the excellent time for adventure stuffs like white water rafting and river rafting, cooler temperature, also the refreshing verdant forest.
If you love to embrace into Thai cultural experience, rainy season has some of the most exclusive events of year such as Buffalo Racing, Khao Pansa, Candle festival, End of Buddhist Lent, Lai Rue Fai, Bangfai Phayanak, and Boat Racing Festival.
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What about rain storm?
In a year, there are only 2-3 storms that strong enough to reach the centre part of Thailand and there is almost no storm in the southern region. Most of them come from South China Sea to the east and usually weakens to just tropical depression as they pass through mountainous area of Vietnam and Laos before entering Thailand.
There will be more rain in the evening and night time, or at worst can drizzle all day long for 3 continuous days. However, the wind is not strong, and the monsoon (name they call tropical storm in Thailand) is less harsh than in Philippines, hurricane in the US or cyclone in India Ocean.
Most of the popular destinations have no effect from flood. In Bangkok heavy rainfall can last from 15 minutes to 1 hour and temporarily flood the streets as the city located on flat area. Seeing Bangkokians rolling up their trousers, and wading through the floodwater is a not-uncommon sight, but the flood will be drained in a jiffy with only a few puddles remain on the ground. Only problem is this flooding can cause widespread traffic jam especially during rush hours – it's a good idea to go around with underground and sky train.
Is there any good place to go during the season?
There are many destinations in Thailand that are much more attractive when it rains. Apart from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi in the west is a good choice. There are many waterfall to visit as well as plenty of relax atmosphere on rafts resorts along the river Kwai with plenty of opportunity to dip in the nature swimming pool (the river) during the day and starry sky at the night (if it's not rain). While many tend to stop at Kanchanaburi's Sai Yok, those seeking a more adventurous hideaway should head to Sangkhlaburi. The sleepy border town near Myanmar is best visited in the rainy season.
Khao yai offer verdant forests and some good selection of resorts on the highland of Nakhon Ratchasima province. The low season offers massive discounts on rooms. That means you can take a romantic getaway for less. And when it rains, stay in your room and enjoy the misty mountain view from the balcony is a blissful moment!
If you want to hit the beach head for Samui, Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao. While they are not totally dry, it gets significantly less rain during the rainy season than the rest of the country. Though, so you may encounter overcast skies, rainfall and a fair bit of humidity, most precipitation of this area occurs between October and January.
Photo from: ShutterStock - Anton Gvozdikov, Thoai, gubgib, gpointstudio, The Escape Khao Yai, Silverkris.com, UweBKK