Caution: Avoid the Worst Time to Visit Thailand

Want to know when the worst time to visit Thailand is? Let’s talk about when NOT to visit!

As an experienced solo traveler who only packs summer clothes, I’ve chased good weather all around the globe and I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way – that timing is everything.

My journey has taken me through Thailand’s lush landscapes in winter, and I’ve weathered the rainy season living as a digital nomad in Chiang Mai.

I once passed out on a dirty bathroom floor in Thailand because I was too hot and dehydrated. I’ve savored the bustling street markets under a clear sky and endured torrential downpours while huddled in my cozy apartment.

Most travelers consider the worst times to visit Thailand to be:

  • March to May when the heat becomes unbearable.
  • May to October when it is the rainy season.

That being said, I was shocked to find that the rainy season in Thailand isn’t nearly as bad as I expected!

If you’re lucky enough to have the flexibility to choose when to visit Thailand, rather than have a set vacation time like many people, you’ll want to avoid the worst times to visit Thailand, which varies region by region. Let’s go!

Worst Time to Visit Thailand

  • Best Time to Visit (Coolest): November to March
  • Worst Time to Visit (Hottest): March to May
  • Most Expensive Time to Visit Thailand: November to February
  • Burning Season in Chiang Mai: February to April
  • Rainiest Time to Visit: May to October
  • When You’ll Find the Biggest Crowds: November to February

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There is no beach in Chiang Mai, but there are beautiful beaches in the south of Thailand! Me sitting on a rock overlooking a beautiful beach and water in Thailand.

From my experience, the overall worst time to visit Thailand is between March and May when temperatures start to soar and the humidity becomes unbearable. This is especially true for Bangkok and other parts of central and south Thailand.

If you’re not a fan of sweating through your clothes before lunchtime, then you will want to avoid this time of year.

April is the hottest month in Thailand, with temperatures reaching as high as 42°C (108°F). Temperatures tend to be a little cooler in Northern Thailand than in Central or South Thailand.

Many travelers also avoid May to October. The rainy season peaks in September and October, and the country is prone to heavy downpours and high humidity during this time.
While the idea of constant rain might not sound appealing, it’s not all doom and gloom. I loved living in Chiang Mai during the rainy season! More on the rainy season in Thailand further down.

And some regions get rain from October to December, like Koh Samui, so always research the region you’re going to.

On the flip side, Winter (November-February) is generally dry and comfortable and is usually considered the best time to visit. One of Chiang Mai’s festivals takes place in February! But there are downsides — prices will often be higher during this time and the tourist crowds can become overwhelming. So if you’re hoping for peace and quiet, it’s best to avoid this season or head to less crowded parts of the country.

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Best Time to Visit Thailand for Great Weather

Pic of me swimming in turquoise water in Thailand with my sunglasses on and large rock formation behind me.

The optimal period to visit Thailand for great weather is November through March.
November to March is the country’s dry season, characterized by a pleasant tropical climate with abundant sunshine, blue skies, and a refreshing breeze blowing in from the sea.

During this time, temperatures hover around a comfortable 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), perfect for spending all day in a bikini while exploring Thailand’s stunning beaches, vibrant cityscapes, and verdant jungles.

While the northern regions experience cooler nights, it’s the perfect time for a serene twilight stroll in the bustling night markets or a quiet, reflective moment at one of the many ancient temples.

It’s a time when Thailand truly blossoms, offering visitors an unparalleled experience of its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

⭐️My pick for Best Bangkok Food Tour is this Bangkok Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk with a near-perfect 5-star Rating.

Most Expensive Time to Visit Thailand

A picture of the beautiful cliffs around Koh Phi Phi, with turquoise water and lush, green cliffs.  Photo taken during the rainy season in Thailand, considered by many to be the worst time to visit Thailand!

The most expensive time to visit Thailand is during peak season, November through February.

That also happens to be when you’ll find the best weather in Thailand.

If you’re not on a tight budget and don’t mind the crowds in the airport and the most popular sites, then don’t worry about it! Thailand tends to be affordable year-round.

But if you’re like me and want to find better deals on flights and accommodations, and you like to have popular tourist sites to yourself, you will be better off going to Thailand during off-peak times, like during the rainy season.

🚙 I recommend using Discover Cars to compare costs and get the best deal.

Busiest Time to Visit Thailand

The busiest time to visit Thailand is during the peak season, November through February.
Noticing a trend here?

People chasing the best weather in Thailand will want to come during this time, which makes it the most crowded time to visit, too!

The more I travel, the more I realize I would rather put up with less ideal weather in order to avoid traveling with the biggest crowds. You might feel the same way.

If so, consider coming to Thailand during its low season, from April through October. The weather may not be ideal, but you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding crowds and getting great deals on flights and accommodations.

Plus, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy outside, and as long as you’re prepared for rain with a raincoat and backpack cover, you’ll be fine!

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Months to Avoid in Thailand

Underwater photo of me scuba diving near Phuket, Thailand. I'm showing the "hang loose" sign, wearing a black wet suit.

Hottest Months: April and May tend to be the hottest times in Thailand, and I tend to avoid those times when visiting. I can’t handle the heat!

If you don’t mind the heat, or if you plan to spend most of the time in your hotel’s rooftop pool or in the sea, then you can find some great deals during this time. Or head to cooler places in Thailand for a bit of respite!

Rainiest Months: If you want to avoid the rain, you’ll want to avoid May to October, especially September and October, the months that tend to get the most rain. And you should also know that it doesn’t rain all day every day during the rainy season!

Keep in mind that some parts of Thailand have different weather cycles, so if you’re planning to head to the islands, some of them might have different weather than the mainland. We’ll talk more about each region below.

Rainiest Time to Visit

The rainy season, or “Monsoon season” in Thailand is from May through October, with the most rain falling in September and October.

I lived in Thailand during the rainy season and was surprised to find that it didn’t rain every day. And when it did, the rain came in short bursts once or twice a day. There was one storm that came through, so it poured for a few days. Otherwise, the rain hardly impacted my time at all!

On the upside, the landscape during this period is incredibly lush and verdant. The rain breathes life into the scenery, turning everything a vibrant shade of green.

You’re also likely to find fewer crowds, lower prices, and more availability in accommodations, making it an attractive time for budget travelers.

On the downside, certain regions in Thailand may experience flooding, resulting in temporary road closures and complicating travel logistics. Some of the islands may also be less accessible during this time, with ferry services often being suspended due to rough sea conditions.

If you are coming to Thailand for a short visit and want the best weather possible, avoid the rainy season. But if you have a little flexibility and don’t mind getting a little wet, the rainy season might be just fine!

☔️ I love this packable raincoat because it’s lightweight and packs up tiny to carry around in your backpack easily. Plus, it’s cheap and comes in a lot of colors!

Worst time to Visit Thailand by City

Sipping a drink at a Chiang Mai cafe with an incredible view of green mountains and lush jungle behind me, during the best time to visit Chiang Mai.
Is the rainy season the worst time to visit Thailand? It’s actually not as bad as I thought – this picture was taken on a scooter adventure around the Chiang Mai countryside in the middle of the rainy season – it didn’t rain at all that day!

Worst time to visit Phuket 

Phuket is hot all year round, but there are certain times when it might be better to hold off on your visit.

March to May is notorious for being the hottest time in Phuket, with temperatures soaring past 90°F (33°C) and the air feeling rather humid.

From May to October, Phuket experiences its rainy season. While the island doesn’t typically get bad monsoons, the seas are a bit rougher during this time, and the visibility for scuba divers is often impacted. When I went back to Phuket in the rainy season, I was unlucky and had several days of nonstop rain thanks to a storm passing through.

👉 Pro Tip: Taking the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is a classic Thailand experience! I use this site to look up train and bus routes in Southeast Asia. Try to book at least a few days in advance because the trains do sell out, especially the lower beds. I recommend first or second-class sleeper cars that have air conditioning.

Worst time to visit Bangkok 

Visiting Bangkok between March and June, the hottest months in Bangkok will leave you drenched in sweat and wanting to take multiple showers a day. It’s not uncommon for the temperature to hit 100°F (38°C). Many locals head to cooler climates in Northern Thailand during this time.

May through October get quite a bit of rain, especially in August and September.

Worst time to visit Chiang Mai

The burning season in Chiang Mai (aka the smoky season) is the worst time of year to visit Chiang Mai as a traveler.

The smoky season in Chiang Mai takes place each year from February to April, and is when farmers in northern parts of Thailand set fire to their fields–a practice known as ‘slash-and-burn agriculture’.

This leads to unhealthy levels of air pollution throughout the region, making it difficult to breathe and impacting visibility. My friends who live in Chiang Mai year-round told me they spend the whole season inside hugging their air purifiers – and most leave Chiang Mai altogether!

👉 My top pick for a hotel in Chiang Mai is POR Thapae Gate because it’s in the perfect location and has a great breakfast! The staff here is amazing, and you’ll love having a relaxing place to come home to after a full day of exploring.

Worst time to visit Krabi

Krabi’s temperatures peak from February through April.

June through October is also a less-than-ideal time for beach activities in Krabi due to the region’s stormy season and increased chance of flooding due to heavy rains. And with that brings an increased amount of bugs and mosquitos.

Worst time to visit Koh Samui 

The islands in the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, etc.), unlike their counterparts in the Andaman Sea, dance to a different weather rhythm. March through September is the hot season, and May is typically the hottest month on these islands, where temperatures can climb to a sizzling 33°C (91°F).

October and November typically see the most rainy days.

Benefits of the Low Season in Thailand

A friend and I enjoying Art Mai? Gallery Hotel's rooftop pool in Chiang Mai at sunset with cocktails in our hands.

Visiting Thailand during the off-peak season, which typically coincides with the hotter or rainier months, might not be everyone’s first choice.

Here are a few reasons why a low-season visit to Thailand could be a fantastic idea:

  • Fewer Crowds: One of the biggest advantages of traveling during the low season is fewer tourists. This means you’ll have more space to explore popular sites like the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai, or the beaches in Phuket without jostling for room.
  • Cheaper Prices: With fewer tourists around, prices for accommodation, flights, and even some tourist attractions often drop. You’ll be able to negotiate your scooter rental. This can make your trip more affordable and allow for some unexpected luxuries.
  • Lush Scenery: The rainy season, known as the ‘green season’ in Thailand, brings about lush landscapes and full waterfalls, making it an excellent time for nature lovers and photographers to visit.
  • Cooler Temperatures: While the rain might put a dampener on your sunbathing plans, the showers can bring relief from the heat, making exploring the cities and temples more comfortable. All you need is a raincoat!

Tips for Visiting Thailand During Hot and Rainy Season

  • Pack Right: Raincoats or ponchos can be lifesavers. It usually doesn’t rain all day during the rainy season, so having waterproof gear allows you to continue exploring when showers hit. This backpack raincover has been a lifesaver, too!
  • Flexible Itinerary: Weather can be unpredictable during the off-peak season. Plan a flexible itinerary so you can adjust your plans according to the weather.
  • Indoor Activities: Have a list of indoor activities or attractions to visit during heavy downpours. Museums, art galleries, cooking classes, and spa treatments can make for great rainy-day activities.
  • Cooler North: Remember, temperatures are often cooler in the north than in Bangkok and the islands. If you’re not a fan of the heat, consider visiting places like Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.
  • Travel Insurance: Make sure your travel insurance covers weather-related disruptions. This can give you peace of mind in case of unexpected delays or cancellations.
  • Stay Hydrated: Despite the rains, it can still get quite hot. Always carry a filtered water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Embrace the Rain: Sometimes, the best thing to do is embrace the weather. Enjoy the sound of rain from a cozy café, and watch the locals go about their day.
  • Footwear: Opt for sturdy, waterproof footwear that can handle slippery surfaces. I wear my sports sandals everywhere and they dry fast!

👉 I LOVED my Thai cooking class so much (and it included a market tour!) – check out the best cooking classes in Thailand! 🧑‍🍳

Thailand Weather by Month

MonthAverage High TemperatureAverage Rainy Days
January33°C / 91°F2
February33°C / 91°F2
March34°C / 95°F5
April37°C / 99°F8
May34°C / 95°F17
June34°C / 93°F18
July 33°C / 91°F19
August33°C / 91°F21
September32°C / 90°F22
October31°C / 88°F16
November30°C / 86°F5
December29°C / 84°F2
Sources: Tourism Thailand, Holiday Weather / For Bangkok Province

💧 Thirsty? Always have clean drinking water on hand and save money with this reusable water bottle! It works great, turning tap water into safe-to-drink water that tastes good.

Worst Month to Visit Thailand FAQs: 

Me sitting with my legs crossed on a tree root that crosses the Monk's Trail to Doi Suthep.

When is the worst time of year to visit Thailand?

The worst time to visit Thailand is typically from July to October. This period is considered the country’s rainy season, with September being the peak month for rainfall. While some travelers find the rainy season charming and less crowded, it can disrupt outdoor activities and travel plans. March through May is the hottest time to visit.

When is the worst time to visit Chiang Mai?

The worst time to travel to Chiang Mai is during the “smoky season,” from late February to early April. During this time, farmers in the area burn their fields to prepare for the next planting season, resulting in a thick haze of smoke blanketing the city. This heavy pollution leads to poor visibility and poor air quality.

Should I avoid Thailand in October?

While October falls within Thailand’s rainy season, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should completely avoid visiting during this month. Weather conditions can vary significantly across the country, with some regions experiencing less rainfall than others. Additionally, the crowds are usually smaller, and the landscape is lush and green from the rains.

What month is typhoon season in Thailand?

Typhoon season in Thailand generally aligns with the rainy season, which runs from July through October. However, the peak of the typhoon season is usually from August to October. During this time, heavy rains and high winds can occur, particularly in the eastern and southern regions of the country. It’s always wise to check the weather forecast and make travel plans accordingly during this period.

How bad is monsoon season in Phuket?

Monsoon season in Phuket, which runs from May to October, can be quite intense with heavy rainfall and rough sea conditions. During this time, outdoor activities like scuba diving and boating may be disrupted. However, it’s also a time when the island is at its most green and beautiful, and the crowds are fewer.

Is it worth going to Thailand in September?

It can still be worth going to Thailand in September, despite being the rainiest time of year in Thailand. Showers are often brief and can even provide a refreshing break from the heat. September also marks the end of the peak tourist season, when you’ll find fewer crowds and more affordable rates for accommodations.

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Final Thoughts: Worst Time to Travel to Thailand

Most of us have set times when we can take a vacation, and that’s that. But some of us have more flexibility and can plan our trips around the best – and worst – time to visit.

Determining the “worst” time to visit Thailand truly depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to experience.

The peak tourist season between November and February offers ideal weather conditions but also brings crowds and higher prices. On the other hand, the off-peak season from March to October, characterized by hotter temperatures and more rainfall, provides opportunities for quieter exploration, lower prices, and lush landscapes, albeit with a chance of unpredictable weather.

While the heat and rain may be a deterrent for some, remember that it usually doesn’t rain all day during the rainy season, and with the right gear, like a poncho or raincoat, you’ll be just fine.

The temperatures are often cooler in the north, making cities like Chiang Mai a pleasant escape from the heat of Bangkok and the islands.

Curious about when is the best time to visit Chiang Mai, my favorite city in Thailand?

Check out my detailed guide on the best time to visit, to help plan your perfect trip to this charming northern city.

No matter when you choose to visit, Thailand’s rich culture, friendly locals, and breathtaking landscapes are sure to provide an unforgettable journey. Happy travels!

📝 Thailand Travel Planning Guide 🇹🇭🌟

Before you embark on your unforgettable journey to Thailand here are the essential tips every traveler should know:

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Thailand?

✅ 100% YES! — My #1 Safety Tip for all travelers is to buy travel insurance for every trip in case anything happens on their visit. I recommend and use SafetyWing – it’s cheap and comprehensive.

💧Can you drink the water in Thailand?

🚱 No — It’s recommended to drink filtered or bottled water in Thailand (but using tap water to brush your teeth is usually fine). I recommend this reusable water bottle! It works great, turning tap water into safe-to-drink water that tastes good.

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Thailand?

Yes — Renting a car in Thailand is one of the best ways to see the countryside! I recommend Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local companies, so you get the best rates.

🏩 What’s the best way to book my Thailand accommodations?

My go-to for Thailand hotels is For hostels, I use HostelWorld. Or get free accommodations with Trusted Housesitters!

✈️ What’s the best site to book Thailand flights?

For finding cheap Thailand flights, I recommend CheapOAir.

🎫 Do I need a visa for Thailand?

🙅🏻‍♀️ Likely Not — US, UK, and EU passport holders don’t need visas for stays of up to 30 days in Thailand.

💰 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆: The currency here is the Thai baht, and there are plenty of ATMs if you need cash. I always withdraw from ATMs to get the best rates (select “no” when it asks you if you accept the conversion rate).

🚕 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Getting around Thailand is a breeze! Grab is safe and cheap in major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Bangkok has a modern metro. It’s easy to use local transport such as songthaews, too.

📶 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆: Thailand has reliable internet connectivity. SIM cards are easy to find and cheap.