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When is the best time to visit Thailand?

With its thrumming markets, spicy street food, and palm-lined beaches, the Land of Smiles is a year-round destination: although most people tend to visit from December to March, when the weather is at its driest and coolest.

However, the best time to visit Thailand really depends on where in the country you’re going, why you want to visit, and what you want to get from the experience.

A quick summary before you dive in:

Bangkok November – May
Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand October – February
Phuket, Krabi and the Andaman Islands December – January
Ko Samui and the Thai Gulf February – March

Whether you prefer high season buzz or low season peace, our guide on the best time to visit Thailand – as well as the cheapest – should help you to start planning your big adventure.

You can also use our Best Time to Book tool to find the cheapest flights to Thailand from your local airport.

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Best time to visit Thailand: at a glance

Thailand has a tropical climate with roughly three seasons:

– hot (March to May)

- wet (May to October)

– cool (November to February)

If you want clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures, it’s best to book your trip for the cooler months. It’s still hot – this is Thailand, after all – and temperatures rise up to 30°C during the day. This is the busiest time to visit Thailand, so hotels and flights are likely to cost more.

If you want to avoid the crowds and aren’t too fussy about sunshine, head to Thailand during the summer. Humidity levels are pretty high and downpours are frequent, but you won’t be sheltering from the rain all the time. Although it rains almost every day, it doesn’t rain constantly: some days are clear with a short storm in the afternoon. Most malls, restaurants and hotels have refreshing air con, too, so you can retreat from the hottest parts of the afternoon.

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Best time to visit Bangkok

Thailand’s buzzing capital city is a mish-mash of modern and traditional, combining historic attractions and buoyant nightlife with bright shopping malls and swanky bars.

Temperatures don’t vary much during the year: during winter they sit in the mid-twenties, rising to the thirties during the summer months. The big difference is in humidity and rainfall – in the wet season (July to October) there can be as much as 200mm of rain a day, dropping to 10mm during the winter.

November to March is when Bangkok is at its best, as the monsoon rain (and humidity) are gone but the scorching temperatures of summer are yet to arrive.

April to June can be almost unbearably hot, with highs of 35°C and lots of humidity to boot. The monsoon arrives in the middle of June, dropping the temperature by a few degrees and getting rid of some of the dust.

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Best time to visit Phuket, Krabi and the Andaman islands

Phuket and Krabi sit on Thailand’s Southwestern coast. As well as being party destinations in their own right, they also form the gateway to the Andaman islands like Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. This idyllic part of Thailand is famous for its longboats, limestone rock formations, and lively full moon parties.

December and January are the best months to visit Thailand’s Andaman coast. This is the driest and sunniest part of the year, and the sea is very calm – perfect for scuba diving and paddle boarding. July to October is wilder, with high winds whipping the waves into a frenzy bound to impress avid surfers. This is the cheapest time to visit, as the inclement weather puts off sun-seekers.

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Best time to visit Ko Samui and the Gulf Islands

The Southeastern coast, which sits on the Gulf of Thailand, follows a slightly different seasonal pattern to the Andaman region. The islands here – Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and Ko Samui – get less rain than the rest of the country even during the wet season, which falls from October to December.

February and March are the very best time to visit, as the weather is at its sunniest and driest. April is the hottest month, particularly around the Songkran new year festival where locals throw water over each other to cool off.

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Best time to visit Chiang Mai and northern Thailand

Chiang Mai is an ancient city packed with Buddhist temples, nestled among the jungle and mountains of northern Thailand. As well as being a digital nomad hotspot, it’s also famous for its historic attractions and elephant nature parks.

The best time to visit is October to February, when the weather is comparatively cool and there’s a refreshing breeze in the air. Humidity is low too and you can expect up to nine hours of sunshine each day. Although highs of 30°C are common, it can get chilly with temperatures as low as 15°C.

Compared to the south, northern Thailand experiences heavier rains during monsoon season which hits in August and September. Try to avoid visiting Chiang Mai from February to April: this is burning season, where farmers around the city set their fields alight. The smoke mingles with the city’s smog and, when combined with the hot seasonal temperatures, it can feel unpleasant.

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Cheapest time to go to Thailand

You’ll find the cheapest flights to Thailand from May until October, which happily covers the British school holidays. This does come at a price, however – the southwestern monsoon rolls in from mid-June and sticks around for the whole summer.

If you can handle hot and muggy temperatures and don’t mind getting caught in the occasional downpour, there are some great bargains to be had. It doesn’t rain all day every day and besides, watching a tropical rainstorm from the balcony of your own private beach villa is pretty hard to beat.

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Need more tips for your Thai trip?

Check out our top ten things to do in Thailand

The best time to visit Thailand is when any of these five bucket-list worthy festivals are on.

If you need some more convincing, these 10 reasons why you should go to Thailand should do the trick