Thailand Rainy Season: When It Is, What to Expect, and Where to Go
What if you visit Thailand during the rainy season? Does it mean that your trip will be ruined by constant downpours and floods? Not necessarily! In fact, there are many advantages to traveling to Thailand during the wet season, such as lower prices, fewer crowds, and greener landscapes. You just need to know when the rainy season is, what to expect from the weather and the environment, where to go for the best experiences, and what to pay attention to for your safety and comfort. This way, you can make the most of your rainy season adventure.
Thailand's climate is influenced by two monsoons (the southwest and northeast monsoon). In most of Thailand, the rainy season takes place from May to October, with September and October experiencing the highest rainfall. The south's east coast (including Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and Koh Samui) is different! It experiences heavy rainfall from October to December.
Data from climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org
It's true that downpours are common during the rainy season. However, in most places, it rarely rains all day. The days are warm and sunny most of the time, then when it does rain it is in short and sharp storms. Rains usually last around one or two hours at a predictable time (usually in the afternoon or evening).
Visiting Thailand during the rainy season can be a rewarding experience if you are prepared for some challenges and inconveniences. Here are some of the things you can expect when traveling in Thailand during the wet season:
Thailand is known for its humidity, and the rainy season can make it feel even more oppressive. You may sweat more and feel sticky or uncomfortable. Make sure to drink plenty of water and wear light and breathable clothing.
Standing water from rain can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so be sure to pack insect repellent and protective clothing. Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as dengue fever or malaria, so it is better to prevent bites than to treat them later.
Some areas of Thailand, especially Bangkok and the south, are prone to flooding during the rainy season. This can cause traffic jams, road closures, power outages, and damage to property. It is advisable to check the weather forecast and local news before traveling and avoid low-lying areas or places near rivers or canals.
One of the benefits of traveling during the rainy season is that you can enjoy lower prices for accommodation, transportation, tours, and activities. Many hotels and resorts offer discounts or promotions to attract customers during the low season. You can also negotiate for better deals or bargains at markets or shops.
Another advantage of traveling during the rainy season is that you can avoid the crowds and enjoy more peace and privacy. Many popular attractions, such as temples, museums, or national parks, will be less busy and more pleasant to visit. You can also have more space and comfort on public transportation or at restaurants.
Thailand has a lot to offer for travelers who are willing to brave the rain. You can still have an amazing time by visiting great places and picking exciting experiences that can’t be ruined by the weather. Here are some of the best places to visit in Thailand during the rainy season and why they are worth considering.
Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and a hub for culture, nature, and adventure. It is also one of the best places to visit during the rainy season, as the rain usually comes in short bursts in the afternoon or evening, leaving plenty of time to explore the city and its surroundings. Chiang Mai has over 300 temples, many of which are located within the old city walls. You can admire their architecture, learn about their history, and witness the daily rituals of the monks. The rainy season also brings cooler temperatures and lower humidity, making it more comfortable to be outdoors.
►What to do during rainy season in Chiang Mai
- Explore the must-see attractions: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Chedi Luang.
- Enjoy the lush scenery, waterfalls, and wildlife at the nearby national parks: Doi Inthanon, Doi Suthep-Pui, and Mae Sa Valley.
Chiang Rai is another city in northern Thailand that offers a mix of culture, nature, and art. It is also a good place to visit during the rainy season, as the rain is usually not too heavy or frequent. Chiang Rai is famous for its unique and colorful temples. These temples are not only places of worship, but also works of art that showcase the creativity and vision of their designers.
►What to do during rainy season in Chiang Rai
Visit the unique and colorful temples: Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple), Wat Rong Seur Ten (the Blue Temple), and Wat Huay Pla Kang (the Big Buddha Temple). Chiang Rai is also a gateway to the Golden Triangle, the area where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. You can take a boat ride along the Mekong River and visit the opium museum or the hill tribe villages.
Kanchanaburi is a province in western Thailand that is known for its historical and natural attractions. It is also a good place to visit during the rainy season, as the rain can enhance the beauty and freshness of the landscape. Kanchanaburi is home to the Burma Railway (aka “Death Railway”) bridge built by Allied POWs during WWII and immortalized in Bridge Over the River Kwai. A memorial and two museums commemorate those who died in the effort, and a yearly carnival includes a pyrotechnic recreation of the bridge’s bombing.
►What to do during rainy season in Kanchanaburi
Visit some of stunning waterfalls: Erawan Falls, Sai Yok Yai Falls, and Huay Mae Khamin Falls. These waterfalls have multiple tiers and pools that are perfect for swimming and relaxing. The rainy season makes them more impressive and less crowded.
Bangkok is the capital and largest city of Thailand, and a must-see destination for any traveler. It is also a good place to visit during the rainy season, as there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you entertained when it rains.
►What to do during rainy season in Bangkok
- Visit some of the most iconic landmarks: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and Wat Traimit, where you can marvel at their architecture and learn about their significance.
- Explore some of the museums and galleries: National Museum, Jim Thompson House, Art in Paradise, and MOCA Bangkok
- Sample some of the delicious street food, enjoy a rooftop bar or a river cruise, and shop till you drop at one of the many markets or malls.
Koh Samui is one of the most popular islands in Thailand, located on the east coast of the southern region. It is known for its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, coconut palms, and luxury resorts. Koh Samui is also one of the best places to visit during the rainy season in Thailand, as it has a different monsoon pattern than most of the country. The rainy season on Koh Samui usually lasts from October to December, which means that you can enjoy sunny weather from May to September when other parts of Thailand are wetter.
►What to do during rainy season in Koh Samui
- Lounge on the beautiful beaches: Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut, or Maenam
- Visit some of top attractions: Ang Thong Marine National Park, Na Muang Waterfalls, Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, or Big Buddha Temple
- Check the weather forecast and local news before traveling and plan your activities accordingly.
- Adjust your itinerary or cancel some plans if the rain is too heavy or causes flooding.
- Pack appropriate clothing and accessories, such as a raincoat, an umbrella, waterproof shoes, and a dry bag.
- Drink plenty of bottled water and avoid ice or tap water.
- Avoid eating raw or uncooked food, especially seafood, and wash your hands frequently. Protect yourself from mosquitoes, which can carry diseases such as dengue fever or malaria. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and sleep under a mosquito net or in an air-conditioned room.
- Be careful when driving or riding a motorbike, especially on mountain roads or rural areas. Avoid swimming in the sea or rivers, as the currents can be strong and dangerous.
- Stay away from power lines or electrical appliances that may be exposed to water.