The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand

Seasons in Thailand

Compared to the places that many visitors come from Thailand will always be considered hot; all year (tropical). Thailand does have seasons though.

Peak Season: December and January are the peak of the high season, both because it is prime time for European and Australian vacationers and because the weather is the most accommodating. Right around Christmas and New Year is very busy in the tourist venues, so if that is the time you prefer … book early, especially hotels. Some of the more sought after hotels tend to sell out as early as six months in advance. Hotel prices are at their highest levels during this time and discount airfares sell out sooner. Most other expenses tend to remain constant, although it can be argued that some P4P activities may differ with opportunistic ladies.
Christmas eve and New Years eve may also carry additional expenses. Some hotels add a mandatory dinner in the price for the night (whether used or not and particularly in Phuket) and some higher end bars take the opportunity to raise (even double) the bar fine.

High Season: High season starts around October, when the weather starts to be a bit drier and on the west coast the beaches calmer (safer). The high season usually ends mid to late April after the Thai New Year festival (Songkran). Songkran has also been named by some as the “water festival”.
More details in the Songkran Section.

Low Season: Generally May through September. Low season is the rainy season, however, as it goes with the climate in general you can luck out and have longer stretches with not much rain or you may find yourself soaked (for periods) daily. If you are going for the beaches of Phuket, the midst of low season is generally a bad choice as riptides can be of great danger.

Thai Holidays: Thai holidays may affect your vacation plans. On most public holidays government offices, schools and banks (not money changers) tend to close and so will some tourist attractions run by the government, including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho in Bangkok. In addition there are some Buddhist holidays where bars are mandated to not serve alcohol or play music, the same may be true for some other holidays. For details see: Public Holidays and Bar Closures in Thailand.

So what season do you pick? Aside from the issue of rain and aside from other limitations you may have in choosing it really comes down to what it is worth to spend the extra money on high or peak season. The hotel rates during low season can be about 1/2 to 2/3 of the rate during peak season on the other hand if you prefer lots of activity and loads of people do select peak season. If you are looking for a little of all, many favor Oct/Nov and Feb/Mar.
Bangkok being a metropolitan area does not change much in pricing based on season.

For additional information see also the Climate Section.

The Ultimate Newbie
Guide to Thailand

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