Thailand's Rainy Season
One of the most common questions that travelers ask about Thailand's rainy season is, "Does it rain all day, every day during the rainy season?"
The answer is "No". In fact, many days during the rainy season are completely rain free. Numerous regions in Thailand get less rain than is needed, while other areas experience extensive flooding.
Besides how Thailand's rainy or wet season varies by region, rainfall varies year to year. Generally, the rainy weather starts earlier in the North and finishes later in the South.
Common Rainy Season Problems in Thailand
- You will get wet and need to change/dry out
- Temporary interruption or delay of itinerary and travel plans are common
- Serious trekking, especially in mountain areas can get pretty slippery
- Planning outdoor activities is more difficult and requires flexibility
- Rough seas will make ferry travel to some islands unpleasant
- Local transportation can be less comfortable
- Renting motorcycles during the rainy season should be well thought out and riding style modified
Thailand Rainy Season Advantages
- Accommodations are cheaper and discounts easier to negotiate
- Weather is cooler and air is fresher
- There will be fewer tourists
- The countryside in Thailand becomes lush, fresh and vibrant
- White water rafting is awesome in the later part of the rainy season
- River travel and raft floats can be more pleasant
Recommendations for Travel in Thailand's Rainy Season
- Keep your travel plans as flexible as possible. Plan alternative indoor attractions for days with heavy rainfall
- After arrival, book your accommodations one stop at a time. Memorize the URL www.guidetothailand.com/hotels-resorts-spas/ and pop in to any cyber cafe.
- Plan your wardrobe well. Cottons dry fast. Bring or buy water friendly footwear.
- Find or fashion a double waterproof packet for critical items such as passport, tickets, travelers checks. Make sure it becomes forgetless
- If you do get marooned by temporary flooding, improvise.
- Go to a temple and have a chat with the monks or locals.
- Find an open front restaurant with good smells.
- Order 5 dishes you have never tried and sample them.
- Quiz the cooks about cooking techniques, seasonings and ingredients.
Additional Rainy Season Information
In regions like Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son; the rainy season often begins in May. Rainfall may dwindle in November .. or the month may finish in a flourish .. with flash flooding. The South can often be dry in June.
Another factor that complicates one effect of rainy season .. flooding .. is ground saturation. As ground saturation occurs, streams and rivers swell from the additional runoff. And since rivers flow downhill, than means toward the sea .. and many of them .. toward Bangkok.
It's rare to experience all-day steady rain. It's also unusual to have a week with rain every day.
A typical rainy day during the middle of Thailand's rainy season will have dry mornings followed by rain in the afternoon. The heaviest rain seems to fall at night.
But fortunately, mid rainy season rainfall is seldom cold. While it may be cool, it tends to be more refreshing than not .. unless you're riding a bicycle or motorbike.
Exception: For some reason known only to mother nature, Chiang Rai often gets a violent rainstorm, winds and hail .. yes, hail .. during Songkran. What should be the driest part of the year can turn into a shivering, awe inspiring, wet t-shirt experience.
Micro Climates: Wind patterns and mountains often conspire to create micro-climates in various areas around Thailand.
If you spend time about 15 km north of Hua Hin town you may start to think Thailand is arid. But if you trudge a few hundred kilometers down to Ranong, you start to think that the rainy season is 9 months long.
A common scenario for the middle of the rainy season is a steady downpour at night, clear or overcast mornings and then some rain in the afternoon.
Also very common is one or two days of sunshine between wet days.
When does Thailand's rainy season actually start? In the North, it starts in June. The beginning and ending of the rainy season tends to migrate from Northern Thailand to Southern Thailand with a difference of about one month.
What that means, the rainy season in the North usually ends a month sooner than it does in the South. But then there is a complication in the South .. two rainy seasons.
And if you don't need blazing hot sun to enjoy a beach .. you may find that you enjoy Koh Samui and Phuket even more.