Thailand’s weather seasons in a nutshell

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On October 19, 2015, Posted by , In Tips and Guides, By ,,, , With No Comments

Thailand has 3 seasons

Thailand is a tropical climate country that is hot throughout the year. The average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius with average highs into the 30’s and daily forecasts of clear and sunny skies.  Like Thai chili, locals will tell you the seasons in Thailand are ‘hot’, ‘very hot’ and ‘very very hot’.  Meteorologists will say the 3 seasons are: ‘hot’, ‘cold’ and ‘rainy’.

Weather in Thailand

flickr/Mike Behnken

*The seasons are mainly influenced by two monsoons; the southwest monsoon and the northeast monsoon. Monsoons are actually changes in big wind patterns, and not rain storms which they can create. Different parts of the country are affected differently by the monsoons.

 

Cold season in Thailand

Cold season in Thailand is between mid-October and mid-February. It is created by the northeast monsoon that starts around mid-October. The northeast monsoon brings in cold and dry air from China and affects mostly just the northern provinces in Thailand.  Bangkok is hardly affected by this and the south of Thailand isn’t affected at all.

A day in the life in cold season is no different than any other usually hot day in Thailand.  Granted, if you do pay special attention, you might feel a slight temperature drop.  If you’re living in Bangkok, you need to be out at dawn or late at night and you should be treated to some mildly cool breezes that can be refreshing for a change.

In the north, the winds are more crisp and cooler during the dusk and dawn hours.  Putting on long sleeved clothes isn’t so unusual but you’ll be quickly shedding them once the sun starts to rise.  It’s the northern mountains where temperatures can drop to respectable single digits at night (although snow has never been recorded).  Camping on the mountain ranges has become popular with locals who want to experience chilly weather, wear a toque and see their breath by the camp fire.

Putting things in perspective, Bangkok’s lowest temperatures in 30 years was recently recorded in 2014 – which happened to be only 15.6 degrees Celsius.

 

Cold Season Chart

*Degrees Celsius (mean minimum – mean – mean maximum) between 1971 – 2000

 

Rainy season in Thailand

Like the cold season, it’s not as bad as it sounds.  Admittedly, there is the rain storm here and there, but what you’re really in for is hot weather that’s interrupted with rainfall for a short while.  These momentary bouts of rainfall usually last no longer than half-an-hour and occur once a day.

Rainy season in Thailand is between mid-May and mid-October and peaks in September.  The rain is caused by the southwest monsoon which starts around mid-May and brings in warm moist air from the Indian Ocean.  Temperatures during the rainy season still average 30 degrees.  Although it can rain everyday like clock work, there are rows of days when the rain is absent, and even weeks of dry spells are common especially during the June and July lead ups.

The south experiences a different and prolonged pattern of rain that can extend to January because it’s affected by both the southwest and northeast monsoon.  If you recall, the northeast monsoon starts in mid-October marking the start of the cold season.  However, its interaction in the southern maritimes has the affect of creating rain – prolonging the rainy season in the south.  This is especially so on the southern east coast along the Gulf of Thailand.

While the rainy season can persist to January all over the south, there will be greater chances of rain on the south-west coast beaches like Phuket and Phi Phi from July to October peaking in September.  And there will be greater chances of rain on the south-east cost beaches like Samui and Pha Ngan from October to January peaking in November.  Useful information if you’re deciding what beaches to choose during that off-season time.

 

Rainy Season Chart

 *Degrees Celsius (mean minimum – mean – mean maximum) between 1971 – 2000

 

Hot season in Thailand

The hot season in Thailand is between mid-February and mid-May.  This is the transitional period when neither the southeast monsoon or the northwest monsoon are active.  The result is very very hot weather.

Temperatures during the hot season can reach 40 degrees peaking in the month of April.  You may be familiar with the Songkran Festival held in this month, a festival where its tradition to splash water on your neighbors as a symbol of good wishes for the Thai New Year.  Thankfully too because April is the hottest month of the year!

Depending on what part of Thailand you’re in, you’ll notice the different ways the heat can pound you.  For academic purposes, the coastal south of Thailand is somewhat excluded from the extreme temperatures of the rest of the country, due to the nature of the cooling winds from the sea. However, we don’t advise against suntan lotion and a big beach umbrella!

 

Hot Season Chart

 *Degrees Celsius (mean minimum – mean – mean maximum) between 1971 – 2000

 

Full Chart (source: Thai Meteorological Department)

Full weather chart

 *Degrees Celsius (mean minimum – mean – mean maximum) between 1971 – 2000

 

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