SQ: When is the best time to travel to Thailand?

The Royal Palace is an all weather, year round attraction in Bangkok.
Hello! On this post I am answering our first Submitted Question (SQ) from Ryan (as posted here):

Ryan asks:
"Hi Froi! When is the best time to travel to Thailand? And if you can suggest also, places that is a must to visit and activities to experience, that we should do as a group."

 My answer:

Hi Ryan! First off, thank you for asking.

My short answer would be: You can visit Thailand anytime. Thailand is a country that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Of course, each month would have its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you are looking for and your travel priorities. Basically, you can decide based on at least three (3) considerations: weather, festivals and tourist season.

Weather
Thailand's weather is somewhat similar to the Philippines. It can be divided into 3 types:

Cool Season
Cool season in Thailand starts around November until February. Most tourist prefer to travel to Thailand during this time, as the cool weather is perfect to walk the streets of Khao San, explore the Royal Palace, or joy ride the Chao Praya Express.

Dry & Hot Season 
Hot season in Thailand starts from March until the first two weeks of May. Most people, especially those from the west, are bothered of the heat and humidity at these times, so they prefer to avoid traveling during this season. If you're from the Philippines (or any other tropical country for that matter), this may be a minor issue as we're used to the heat. It would mean, however, that you should bring extra shirts when going on tours (and yes, the mandatory shower in the morning and in the evening, but then again, if you're Filipino, that's a given.)

Rainy Season (May - October)
Rainy season in Thailand starts on the last two weeks of May until October. Many tourist also tries to avoid traveling to Thailand during these times, but then again, we're no stranger to thunderstorms so I see no reason why we should be like them. The only consideration it that, flooding has been quite a problem in Bangkok in 2011, but they say a flood that bad is unlikely to happen again in the next few years.

Tourist Season
Tourist season in Thailand is dictated by the local weather and the weather in the West.

High Season
High season in Thailand is from November until February, which coincides with the cool season in Thailand as well as winter in the West. High season would mean that prices are a bit higher, but with a lot of competition, local tours can't really increase prices that much. With hotels and hostels however, it would mean that you can't just walk in and be guaranteed of an available room so pre-booking is advised.

Low Season
Low season is from March to October as tourist try to avoid the humidity during the hot season, and the thunderstorms during the rainy season. This is also the time when hotels and hostels offer discounts, and air travel are usually cheaper on these months too (except for March - May for those coming from the Philippines as these are the months that a lot of Filipinos travel too). Land transportation rarely adjust their prices during the low season.


Festivals
There are two major festivals that might interest travelers to Thailand. These are the Songkran Festival (mid April) and the Chinese New Year (usually in February). A complete listing of all major Thai festivals are listed at the bottom of this post.

That's it, I hope this post will be able to help you decide when to travel to Thailand. By the way, I've traveled to Thailand during December, January, February, March and April on separate occasions, and I must say, I love each time.

As for the second part of your question, I will answer it in another post.

Happy travels!

Tara, byahe tayo!

Froilan Grate | Last Row Traveler
Visit also No Bystanders | Planet Run | Customer Wow | Halo Halo and more 

Thailand Festivals
(From the Amazing Thailand website)

New Years Day Jan 1st
In Thailand there are three New Year's days. The Western, on Jan 1st, the Chinese New Year on the first day of the First Lunar month, usually in February and the Thai New Year marked by the Songkhran festival in April. Thais usually exchange gifts on January 1st.

Phra BuddhaBahtFair

Held at the temple of the Holy Footprint at Saraburi, 236Km north of Bangkok, from 31st January to 1st February. Many activities including music and outdoor drama.
Bosang Umbrella Fair
Held in Chiang Mai during January, it features colourful paper umbrellas and other local handicrafts.
Chinese New Year
1st day of the first Chinese Lunar month, usually in February. Businesses close for 3-4 days giving families time to get together and worship at one of the Chinese Buddhist temples. There may also be public celebrations with acrobats, Lion Dance and firecrackers. The latter are believed to frighten away "foreign devils".
Flower Carnival
Held in Chiang Mai during February it features parades and colourful floats exhibiting the local flora.
Makha Bucha Day
End of February/beginning of March, depending on the moon. This commemorates the day when 1250 of Buddha's disciples gathered spontaneously to hear him preach. Buddhists visit Wats and make merit by such acts as releasing caged birds. In the evening the celebrations culminate in a candle lit procession around the main temple building.
Chakri Day 6th April
Commemorates the founding of the Chakri Dynasty, of which the present King Bhumipon is the 9th King. Portraits of the King and Queen are prominently displayed and decked with tributes of flowers.
Songkhran 13-15th April
This is the celebration of the old Thai New Year. Buddhists visit the temple for the ceremony of Rod Nam Dam Nua. They sprinkle water on the Buddha images, and on the hands of the monks and novices at the temple, as an offering to express confidence that the supply of water will be adequate to cover the dry season.
Songkhran is a time when the Thai family will try to be together, and many people will travel back to their home village.
This holiday has now become secularized, with exuberant merrymakers taking to the streets throwing water at each other, and you, by the cup full, the bucket full, or even with a hose. To add to the fun, talc is mixed with the water and may be daubed on your face. Take it all in good spirit, no one is exempt, not even the policemen. The cool water may even be a welcome relief as the festival coincides with the time when the sun is due overhead and the weather can be very hot.
Pattaya Festival
Held during the second week of April in Pattaya on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard. It features processions, floral displays, and other special events plus a spectacular fireworks display.
National Labour Day - 1st May
This holiday follows the lead of many western countries, whose workers now celebrate Labour Day.
Coronation Day - 5th May
This celebrates the coronation of the present King Bhumipon, Rama IX. Tributes are paid at shrines and portraits of His Majesty.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony
This is an ancient Brahman ceremony, held under Royal patronage in Bangkok during May, which celebrates the beginning of the rice planting season.
Fruit Fair
A festival is held in Rayong during May and another in Chantaburi during June. They feature locally grown fruit such as rambutan, durian, and jack fruit.
Visakha Bucha Day - Full moon of the 6th Lunar Month.
This celebrates the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha, and is therefore the most sacred day on the Buddhist calendar.
Asalaha Bucha Day - Mid July
This is the day before the start of Buddhist Lent. Many young men, who are about to become monks, hold parties on this day.
Buddhist Lent - Mid July
This marks the start of Khao Pansa, period similar to the Christian Lent. During the period monks do not travel to other monasteries, their religious duties are strictly observed, and the novice monks receive their training in the teachings of Buddha.
Candle Festival
Held in Ubon Ratchatani on Khao Pansa Day. Candles carved from bees wax are paraded through the streets.
H.M. Queen's Birthday - 12th August
Tributes are paid to Her Majesty, and donations are made to the many charitable organisations that are patronised by the Queen.
Chulalongkorn Day - 23rd October
This commemorates the death of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, who reigned between 1868 and 1910. He is renowned for his achievements in the fields of education, modernisation and progressive thinking.
Buffalo Races
Held in Chonburi (80Km east of Bangkok) during October.
Loy Krathong - Full Moon 12th Lunar month, November
The festival is believed to date back to the Sukhothai period, but its exact significance is uncertain. Krathongs, or lotus flowers made of natural materials, containing a candle, incense sticks, a coin or two and beautifully decorated with flowers are launched into the sea, or any convenient stretch of water, as a thanksgiving to the water spirits, and a cleansing of sins.
River Kwai Bridge Week
A week long series of historical exhibitions, light and sound shows, and vintage train rides held in Kanchanaburi during the last week of October.
Annual Elephant Roundup
Held during the third week of November at Surin in North East Thailand.
Trouping of the Colour - 3rd December
Their Majesties the King and Queen preside over this annual event which is held in the Royal Plaza, Bangkok.
H.M. King's Birthday - 5th December
People demonstrate their respect for King with flags, displays and other tributes.
Constitution Day - 10th December
This marks the day in 1932, when the monarchy became constitutional, at the very beginning of democracy on Thailand.
New Year's Eve - 31st December
The end of the old year when everybody celebrates.
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