Traveling during the rainy season in Thailand – June until October – is not something that appeals to most of us. We prefer – no, we demand – sunshine and clear blue skies on our travels. Is that realistic? Yes, it is! But… there are a few things you should know before traveling during the rainy season in Thailand. We’ve done it five times now and here’s a list of pros and cons.
Our own experience: traveling during the rainy season
We found traveling during the Thai rainy season to be pretty much ideal. It’s a lot less busy than normal (with the exception of the month of July, because of the European school holidays!), meaning you get to have whole beaches all to yourself. Another important thing to be aware of is that it doesn’t rain all day during the rainy season. Expect about one rain shower (heavy downpour) per day that will last around an hour. Most of the times it rains in the late afternoon, after which the weather gets better pretty quickly. That’s it!
Of course we also had some less fun experiences; in September of last year we were stranded on the tropical island of Koh Kood for four days due to bad weather. But you can prevent situations like that by knowing exactly where to go during the rainy season. More about that later in this blog!
Pros of the rainy season
Prices during the rainy season (especially in September and October) are low! You can get up to 50% off on hotel stays or day tours. Haggling for a good price is completely normal!
GREEN AND LIVELY
The green landscape makes up for a lot obviously. You can enjoy beautiful viewpoints, rivers and streaming waterfalls. Nature feels a lot livelier than it does during the hot season, for example.
The temperature is much cooler than the hot season with refreshing rain showers at the end of the day.
Buses, trains and plains are less full, which means you’ll be traveling more comfortably than during the high season.
Cons of the rainy season
Because there are more puddles, the rainy season has more mosquitoes than any other season. Make sure to use mosquito spray and read up on tips in our extensive blog on mosquitoes in Thailand.
There are fewer tourists in Thailand (especially during the months of September and October) meaning some restaurants and hotels will close temporarily. The ferries also have limited service, so try and travel in the morning.
During the rainy season there’s more chance of damage due to floods. After a few heavy downpours, streets in places like Bangkok can flood. This water is dirty: try not to walk through it, you can catch diseases!
Thailand’s rainy seasons: Dos & Don’ts
Be prepared for at least one rain shower a day. Make sure your backpack and daypack are waterproof or buy a rain cover. Cheap and good quality ponchos are sold in every 7-Eleven in Thailand. Something else that’s good for hygiene: disinfecting hand gel!
The rainy season is the mosquito season. More rain means more puddles that attract mosquitoes. Buy some mosquito spray at the 7-Eleven (60 Thai Baht) and read our blog on mosquitoes in Thailand!
COME RAIN OR SHINE
The weather is always unpredictable. This is especially true in Thailand. A clear blue sky can be replaced by a grey cloud cover in a matter of minutes. Take it day by day. We haven’t been able to find any good weather apps yet.
Floods are a regular occurrence in Bangkok during the rainy season. Stay away from the water and don’t walk through it unless absolutely necessary. The water is dirty because of everything floating around in it. Diseases spread like wildfire.
Don’t plan everything. Buses might leave a few hours later than planned, flights can be delayed for a day or ferries might be out of service due to high waves. Plans can fall apart, stay flexible.
Avoid raw vegetables. They might have been washed with dirty (rain) water, increasing the chance you might catch something unpleasant. So leave the raw salads to one side for now and rely on your instinct.
Places to visit during the rainy season in Thailand
Of course sunshine and clear blue skies are infinitely more preferable to rainy days. The place to visit during the rainy season is the Gulf of Thailand, in the country’s southeastern part.
Comparatively, it will be raining a lot more on the islands on the southwestern coast, such as Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lipe. The same goes for Koh Chang in the east. It’s best to travel there from November onwards.
If you’re looking for that tropical island vibe, there are a few other options besides the Gulf of Thailand in the southeast near Bangkok. For example, the island of Koh Samet and the bathing resort of Hua Hin.
Does that mean other parts of Thailand are off limits?
Absolutely not. You decide where you want or don’t want to go. 95% of towns and islands will remain easily accessible, even during the rainy season.
Just keep in mind that it rains every day, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for a little longer. But there will be enough sunshine in between the showers.
When it comes to the weather, we can’t give you any assurances, but don’t be deterred. We’ve traveled during the rainy season multiple times and really enjoyed it every time. We didn’t contract weird diseases or any such thing. You just have to be a little bit more flexible. And don’t forget: sunshine always follows the rain!