Travelling to Thailand is a breeze, as the country has a tourist-friendly policy as well as a vast network of infrastructure and hotels that cater to a diverse array of business and leisure travellers. But before planning your next trip to Thailand, it’s good to know all the essential information about the country, such as when is the best time to go, what to bring, getting around, cultural etiquettes, numbers to call in case of emergencies and all the facts that will help make your journey as pleasant as it can be.
Thailand is relatively hot all year round, although officially it has three main seasons. In Summer (March – June), temperatures can soar above 40 degrees, particularly in the northeast and Bangkok. Thai New Year, or Songkran, falls in April, the hottest month. To relieve themselves from the heat, Thais throw water at each other during the three-day Songkran festival.
The rainy season (July – October) brings lots of downpours and heavy rainfall, usually in the late afternoons or early mornings. Temperatures are moderately high, but it can feel very uncomfortable due to high humidity level.
The most welcomed season is the cool season (November – February), which brings a relatively dry and pleasant climate. Temperatures rarely rise above 35 degrees during the day.
The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February, when the climate is relatively cool and dry (25-32°C). While Bangkok usually sees insignificant temperature drop, the northern and northeastern provinces can be rather cold. And if you plan to take a trip into the mountains, be sure to bring a sweater or warm jacket.
December is the festive season, like in the West. Some of the most colourful festivals, such as Loy Krathong, Trooping of the Colours and New Year’s, fall in this period. Major shopping districts, particularly those in Bangkok, add to the year-end spirit by sporting decorative lights and Christmas-theme décors. The only drawback for arriving during this period is that popular destinations are crowded, and hotel rooms are in short supply. Prices for accommodation, tours, transportation and certain goods are usually bumped up to take advantage of the tourist influx.
Arriving between March and May will put you right through Thailand’s summer, when temperatures can climb above 40°C. Coupled with high humidity, it may feel more like you are actually in a giant heated oven with no escape route, except occasional visits to air-conditioned shopping malls and dining establishments. The monsoon season (June-September) is usually very wet and humid. But the good news is that you can always hide out in a mall, spa or restaurant to escape the heavy downpours which usually don’t last more than a couple hours. Also, the rain breathes new life in the countryside, abundant with rice fields and trees. National parks and waterfalls are usually at their best.