One of the main challenges facing any traveler to Thailand is trying to decide when to go. The country is hot year-round and it’s not always easy to escape the heat, especially in busy Bangkok. The rewards are numerous for braving the climate, though. Cheap massages, tasty food and great shopping await you in Bangkok; hiking and adventure call you from Northern Thailand; and the green waters of the Andaman coast offer a bit of relaxation in the south.
Hot, Hot, Hot!
Thailand is a country with a few diverse regions, from Chang Mai in the north to Phuket in the South. The weather isn’t exactly the same across the country, because the northern cities are at higher elevations in addition to being farther from the equator, but you can count on one thing: Thailand is always pretty hot. Temperatures climb above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in March and stay there until May, at least, but even during the cooler times — November through February — 100-degree days are common.
The northern provinces have the coolest weather, partially because these regions are farther north than sweltering Bangkok or Phuket and partially because of the elevation of the cities. Chang-Mai sees December and January temperatures in the high 50s. By contrast, the temperature barely drops below 75 in Bangkok at any time of the year. In Phuket and Surat Thani in southern Thailand, temperatures stay consistent throughout the year, ranging from the mid-70s at night and reaching daytime highs around 90.
Thailand doesn’t have four season in any of its regions. Instead, the country has a wet and dry season, with July, August and September bringing the most rain across the country — often more than 1 foot a month. In Phuket, only December through March are considered dry months; the rest of the year can be sopping wet. Hotel prices tend to come down during the wet season, too, so don’t be afraid to ask for rainy weather discounts.
Escaping the Heat
Most hotel rooms in Bangkok have air conditioning or at least ceiling-mounted fans. In smaller cities, air conditioning is a bit of a luxury upgrade — but worth the few extra Bhat. Coffee shops and restaurants are usually air conditioned, too, and Internet cafes provide nice escapes from hot weather. Taxis are cooler options than tuk-tuks, especially in Bangkok’s busy traffic.