When is the best time to visit Thailand?
This is a question I get asked a lot about. When is the best time to visit Thailand? My answer is usually yesterday, but i get the follow of no really, when is the best time to visit Thailand. Now this is not an easy question to answer, but I will try my best to help you. If you are thinking of traveling to Thailand, there are a number of things to consider. Let’s start with flights to Thailand.
Flight prices can vary throughout the year, so if you are looking for a summer holiday this may not be the cheapest time of year to go. But flights can be found during this period at a reasonable price, you just have to look around. For this I use skyscanner. Given the fact that they search through over 50 different providers to find you the best deal. You will need to be aware that the best deal is not always the cheapest, but it can get you there quicker. It’s really up to you. But there are certain times of the year where the overall cost of your flight can be reduced.
The cheapest flights can generally be found from May to October. This is where you will find some direct flights cheaper than those with 1 stop during the peak months. The main reason for this sudden drop in price is the Thailand enters its rainy season from late May. But each region in Thailand can have different months where rain falls. To make this period more attractive to the casual traveler, who may not be seeking a sun lounger. Although Thailand will still be extremely humid during this time, which may put people off. But those who want to get the most out of there holiday funds can find some real bargains for flights.
Direct or layover?
Another question I get asked about flights is about, Should I fly direct to Thailand? This really is a personal choice given that you are likely to be travelling for in excess of 11 hours on a direct flight. It may be worth splitting the journey up with a stop over to save some money. But this can mean adding extra time onto your journey meaning you will use up more of your holiday time. On average a direct flight will cost around £130 more than a stop over flight. But that could mean having to check your luggage in again as well as clearing security. But let’s take a look at the benefits of flying direct.
The most obvious benefit of a direct flight to Thailand is the time you save. Unfortunately direct flights only seem to go to Bangkok. As Bangkok is central to Thailand you can easily travel to the rest of the country from here. There are a few other benefits to travelling direct though. As you will only have to check your bags in once, you will be able to arrive feeling more refreshed. 12 hours on a plane is a long time and many people will prefer to power though this rather than having to sit in an airport waiting for a connecting flight. The extra time you gain from your flight will always be spent relaxing at your chosen destination.
Most of the destinations in Thailand will involve a layover somewhere. If you are planning to travel to phuket, you may chose to stop at a number of different locations that include Moscow, Helsinki, Istanbul and many others. These hubs have direct flights to the locations involved and can save you a little bit of time, rather than flying to Bangkok and catching a connecting flight. On average, layover flights are cheaper than direct flights by around £130. This is not an insignificant amount of money to most of us, so often it is cheaper to use this option. It’s just a matter of how much additional time you are prepared to add to your journey.
Another factor in the timing of your visit to Thailand is the weather.
Thailand is famous for its many white sandy beaches, but your time on the beach will often be determined by the weather. It is important to not that Thailand has 3 seasons due to its location close to the equator. These seasons are rainy, hot and cool.
The rainy season usually occurs from May to October each year. Given the location of Thailand these seasons can often feel very different depending on where you are in the country. It is important to remember that the rainy season does not mean constant rain, but more like be ready for heavy rain. This will often result in flooded roads along with dangerous driving conditions. Storms will come and go very quickly during this period. This will often make it feel extremely humid to some of us following on from these. In some parts of the country the amount of rain deposited in a storm can be more than other parts of the country see in a month.
If you like the weather hot, then March through to June is the best time to visit. This is when to hot season occurs. Temperatures during this period can range from 30°C through to 40°C. This goes without saying, but you will need your sun cream during this period. The hottest temperatures can be found in the southern region of Thailand. This includes destinations like phuket and Koh Samui. So if you enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach, then these may be your destination of choice.
In the north of Thailand the hot season will see temperatures into the mid 30’s°C. Locations such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are often visited by those of us who do not like the excessive heat. As the north of Thailand is further away from the equator this also contributes to it feeling cooler. But it will still feel hot due to the humidity which can often be caught between the mountain ranges that are found in the north.
One piece of health advice I would give during this season may seem obvious, but it is important nonetheless. Always carry a bottle of water with you. You will become very dehydrated very quickly when you are exploring Thailand. As water is extremely cheap to buy, it will not break your budget to carry some with you. You can also take advantage of the free bottles of water that most hotels will give you.
The cooler season.
Thailand experiences a cooler season from November through to February most years. The average temperature during this season will feel like summer to many northern hemisphere countries. The temperature will reach around 30°C still in most places with the north feeling cooler. This is my favorite time to visit as I do not like the heat. The skies are reasonably clear, but occasionally you will have cloud cover making it feel very humid. This means you can venture out for a day and not have to worry about the heat.
If you are looking at an island holiday in Thailand you will definitely want to avoid September and October. These months see the highest rainfall and often the roughest seas. That being said, it is always hot in Thailand and you will still experience a good amount of sunshine. The rough seas can make it difficult to get to and from these islands though. So if you are planning on staying on one during this period, be prepared for a bumpy ride to them.
Busiest periods for tourism?
Over the last few years, Thailand has become even more popular with foreign tourists. The vast majority of foreign visitors have been from China, which has seen high economic growth. This has resulted in more Chinese citizens being able to afford to travel outside of China. But China is not the only country seeing more people visit Thailand, the UK has also seen an increase in holiday makers visiting the country. Most of these people will visit during May to October, during the cooler season. This means that the intense heat in Thailand does not become too much of a burden. This is when flights from the UK are at their most expensive.
But there are also the winter sun seekers who arrive from the UK from November to February. This can often be one of the most expensive times of year in Thailand as the holiday season has officially kicked of in many tourist destinations. This results in small price increases to maximise the profits during this time for the Thai business owners. But most of us will hardly notice it as the increase is minimal.
So for me the best time to visit Thailand is from March to mid April. After this point the Thai People will celebrate Songkran, the water festival. This attracts people from all over the world who will come to Thailand specifically for this event, but i will come on to more about songkran shortly. This results in an increase in hotel prices for many holiday destinations as tourist flock to be part of it.
Hotel prices in Thailand are reasonably cheap if you look around. Many 3-4 star hotels are available for less than the cost of a comparable hotel chain back in the UK. An average room can be found for around £20 per night in most locations outside of Bangkok. So finding the right hotel is not going to break the bank. In a lot of cases you may even get a free breakfast included in the cost.
If you intend to travel around Thailand, then hostels may be the best option for you. Many hostels can cost as little as £2-£3 a night. This is an absolute bargain to many students who visit each year. By sharing accommodation, the room is paid for by multiple people. The only downside to this is that you will not know who you are sharing with until you are in the room. There is a reason that it is so cheap.
Average hotel prices
The price of the average room will usually not vary much during the course of the year. This is due to the fact that Thailand is a place you can visit all year round. But due to price comparison sites offering the same rooms at different rates the price will fluctuate slightly depending on the number of rooms available. This means you can often save money by shopping around, leaving more money available for your experience.
In Thailand there are numerous events throughout the year that you may wish to participate in or avoid. During these festivals and religious days, many businesses will close. This will leave you with very limited options for eating and drinking during your holiday. The most popular festival is Songkran.
This festival is one of the most participated in celebrations in Thailand. Songkran (The Water Festival) occurs from the 13th-15th of April each year. The length of the celebration can be longer than just the 3 days in some parts of the country. For example, in Pattaya it will generally last for around 7-10 days, whereas in other parts it will last for just the 3 days. During this festival most bars will shut down and the staff will participate in one of the biggest water-fights in the world. Everyone gets involved from the young to the old. If you are out on the street, buy a water pistol to try and defend yourself as you will get wet.
Songkran attracts visitors from all over the world who want to be a part of this celebration. For this reason you will usually see flight prices rise around this time along with hotel prices. So if your looking to take part, your trip may cost you a little more. But you are paying for the experience.
There are numerous religious holidays that occur during the year too. These include Visakha Puja (june 4th), Asalha Puja day (late July/ early August) and Loy Kratong (October during the 12th full moon). During all religious holidays, the sale of Alcohol is banned and many businesses will shut down for the day. It is important to be aware of this when planning your trip, especially if you like to drink on your holidays. You will not even be allowed to buy Alcohol from a 7/11. So you have been warned.
Other Bank Holidays
Like most western countries, Thailand has its own Bank holidays. During these days many businesses will close. Some closures are enforced by the local authorities, whilst others are a choice. These bank holidays include New years day (1st Jan), Labour Day (01st May), Mid Year Holiday (01st July) along with the King and Queens birthdays. There are others that will occur during the year too. This will add some quiet time to you’re holiday if no t planned correctly.
So when is the best time to visit Thailand? It’s really up to You.