Every travel blog on the internet will confidently exclaim that the best time to visit Thailand is between November and April. These months are the dry season in Thailand, and sunny skies are nearly guaranteed.
However, the endlessly sunny skies also mean peak season for tourists. Hotel rates, flight costs, and crowds all increase dramatically during these months. Those seeking a less crowded experience and more reasonable prices may want to visit Thailand in the rainy season.
Fewer people means fewer tourist vans leaving for day trip destinations. With limited flexibility, a self-drive in Phuket and other Thai cities is a fantastic alternative. Even with your own car, however, you need to be ready for the weather.
How Rainy Is It?
As far as travel blogs are concerned, it rains all day, every day from the 1st of May until the 31st of October. The reality is far different, and it is highly dependent on where you are in Thailand.
Each year, the mountains of Northern Thailand receive half the rain that Phuket does. In fact, Chiang Mai has more sunshine hours per year than Phuket. A bit of forethought and planning can help you avoid the rainiest times, so you can enjoy a less crowded vacation while enjoying cooler weather.
No matter the location, September is universally the rainiest month of the year. August and October can also be heavier with rain. On average, there will be a few showers over the course of the day, each lasting twenty or thirty minutes. Just after dawn and in the latter half of the afternoons, rain is most common. Once the rain disappears, the fun starts again with the upside of lower temperatures.
July is an excellent month to visit during the rainy season. There is less rain overall, but the weather is cloudy, so temperatures are more reasonable. The jungle is also stunningly beautiful and green during these months, as the mountains are covered in mist in the mornings and afternoons. It is an entirely different Thailand than many tourists get to see.
Dressing for the Rainy Season
Dressing for the weather in Thailand is also highly dependent on where you’ll be travelling. No matter the time of year, light clothing is generally recommended.
Temperatures are typically around thirty degrees celsius in the rainy season, so expect it to be quite warm most of the time.
Nighttime temperatures and mountain temperatures are a different story. Soon after dark, the temperature will cool during the rainy season. While most people won’t need a jacket, those travelling by tuk-tuk or motorbike may feel chilly, especially late at night after a rain.
If a trip to the mountains is on your itinerary, a sweatshirt and a light rain shell should be on the packing list. A rain jacket is handy, but it can quickly make you sweat with the humidity. If your trip doesn’t involve heading to the mountains and you’ll be in town or at the beach, bring a small umbrella, instead.
It should be noted that no matter what time of year you’re travelling, you should consider bringing more modest clothing. Thailand is a Buddhist country, and Thais somewhat conservative in their dress.
You’ll typically see most Thais wearing pants, despite the heat. While foreigners aren’t expected to wear pants, certain sites may require modest outfits. At temples and government-affiliated buildings, men and women should wear shorts longer than the knee and keep their shoulders covered. Some sites may require pants, though they generally have some available to borrow for free.
Escape the Rain With a Rental
One of the best ways to experience the jungles and mountains of Thailand and escape the tourist traps is to rent your own car. That way, you’ll be able to stay dry no matter the downpour, and no matter where you are.
Drive Car Rental has cars available in Phuket and all over Thailand. You can even pick up a car at one location and drop it off at another. Book your rental today to lock in the best rates and enjoy your trip to the fullest!