There is an old adage about the Thai climate which goes 'There are three seasons in Thailand. The hot and wet season, the hot and dry season and the hot and humid season' Whilst not strictly true, it must be remembered that although Thailand is a tropical country, temperatures can vary quite significantly depending where and when you visit.
The three main seasons are:
The Cool Season – Starting in November and lasting until February.
Not surprisingly, this is the most popular time for tourists. Cool is of course, a relative term and being a tropical country it will always be warm. The mountainous northernmost parts of Thailand are the only areas that experience temperatures that could be regarded as cool. Inland areas, including Bangkok, will only experience two or three weeks of ‘cool’ weather in late December and January.
Southern Thailand has only two seasons – wet and dry – which means although there is no real cool season, from November to late April there is abundant sunshine but without the stifling heat.
The Hot Season – Starting in March and lasting until June
The least most popular time for tourists. The temperatures start rising mid March and it can be oppressively hot until June. Coupled with high humidity, the unrelenting heat makes many long for the rains to start. The best place to be during this period is along the coasts to take advantage of the off shore breezes.
The Wet Season - Starting in June and lasting until October
The wet or rainy season is dominated by the southwest monsoon. This does not mean it rains everyday. It does mean however, that very heavy rain downpours lasting for a couple of hours, usually in the afternoons, lead to flash floods. The weather is still mainly sunny but when the rain comes it is a deluge sometimes coupled with deafening thunder and a very impressive display of lightening. Some rainy seasons are worse than others. 2011 was a particularly bad year with 65 of Thailand’s 77 provinces being declared flood disaster zones.
For the Western visitor there is no such thing as
cool. Just cooler than
drier than humid, so light cotton clothing is the order
of the day. Don't worry about bringing too much clothing with you, as almost everything can be purchased locally, at a fraction of the price you will pay at home.
Do remember that the tropical sun can be quite fierce so a hat is useful, and don't forget to use a good sun screen.
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