To fully enjoy a visit to Thailand, you need to plan ahead and avoid the monstrous monsoon rains of the region.
Find favorable weather between November and March, when there is less rain and the temperature is cooler. If you find yourself in the country from April to June however, southern Thailand serves as good respite from the scorching weather in the rest of the nation.
Thailand’s tropical climate manifests in three seasons. The average temperature during hot season of March to May registers at 33.8°C (93°F) with humidity levels of 76 percent. Rains start to come from June to October when the average high is 32.2°C (90°F) and humidity is 81 percent. Temperature tends to drop from November to January, the cool season, when average high is reported at 31.2°C (89°F) and humidity is at 75 percent on average.
Tourist arrivals see a multitude of visitors during August, November, December, February and March. Smaller crowds are experienced during April to June and September to October.
Local festivals create another depth of cultural interest to your visit. Some of these events attract throngs of tourists because of the colorful fanfare in the streets. Many holidays in Thailand are based on the Thai lunar calendar.
January to February
• Like most other countries, Thailand welcomes the start of the New Year on January 1st.
• Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon day after Winter Solstice. Spring cleaning and paying homage to ancestors in the temples are some of the practices done during this time.
• Makha Bukha Day is a Buddhist festival marked by candle-lit processions in the temples at night and giving of alms and basic necessities to the monks. It occurs on the full moon day of the lunar calendar’s third month.
• On the 6th of April, the coronation day of the first King of the Chakri dynasty is commemorated through Chakri Memorial Day.
• The whole of Thailand welcomes Thai New Year through the Songkran Festival, held from April 13 to 15. It is one of the long holidays in the nation and is famous due to the splashing of water in the streets by pedestrians. Buddha statues are also cleaned at this time of the year.
• Commemoration Day of HM King Bhumibol’s ascension to the throne is on the 5th of May.
• The brahmin festival Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day marks the start of the rice-planting season.
• Vesak, one of the major festivals in the Buddhist calendar, is also celebrated in Thailand in mid-May to pay homage to Lord Buddha’s attainment of Nirvana.
• Buddhist Lent is a 3-month period of meditation for the monks. Thai people offer big candles to the temples.
• Thai Mother’s Day is a celebration of the birthday of HM Queen Sirikit.
• Chinese Moon Festival, or Wan Wai Phra Jan, is celebrated by the Thai Chinese.
• End of Buddhist Lent Day, or Wan Awk Phansa, encourages the Buddhists to offer food and other basic goods to the monks.
• Also during the same period, Bang Fai Phaya Nak festival is held in Nong Khai province in the town of Phon Phisai. Spectators watch the strange phenomenon of “fireballs” rising from the Mekong River at night. The town is filled with street parties, food stalls and live music from October 1-7.
• Chulalongkorn Memorial Day on October 23 gives Thais a chance to pay respects to the one of the most popular monarchs in the nation.
• Yet another popular festival that draws tourists from around the world is Loy Krathong. As dusk settles in Thailand, the people release vessels made from banana leaves into the waterways and launch lanterns to the sky, to thank the river goddess and be freed from sins.
• Father’s Day is also the birthdate of HM King Bhumibol. Fluvial parades and a regatta are held as part of the festivities.