So... the rainy season in Thailand is coming up, and you’ve booked your ticket to Bangkok. If you’re anything like most people; this is when the questions come knocking: Was it a good or bad idea to go to Thailand in the rainy season?, Where can I be sure of good weather?, How can I tailor my trip through Southern Thailand to get some beach time?... or how about: Can I still go diving, join the Full Moon Party and perhaps do some trekking?
The short answer is: No need to worry! You can travel in Thailand all the year round (also in the rainy season) AND do most of the things you’ve been dreaming of. With a bit of knowledge and some dates pinpointed, such as when the moon is full during your stay, you’re going to have an awesome time in the land of smiles:
Rainy season in Thailand – and what to expect
Thailand has three official seasons which describes most parts of the country – Cool (Nov-Feb), Hot (Mar-Jun), and Wet (Jul-Oct). You can travel in Thailand in any of the seasons – what’s important to know though, is that the Southern parts of Thailand are very different weather wise depending on if you go west or east:
- West – The Andaman Sea (Phuket & Krabi): follows the official wet season, from July to October.
- East – Gulf of Thailand (Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Tao & Koh Samui): the wet season is from November to May.
Looking at inland Thailand during the coming months, the rains are without a doubt a main theme, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it: The rain gives so much, leaving forests and jungles wonderfully fresh, green and lush, waterfalls and rivers flushing through the landscapes – and a good chance for plenty of sunshine, too!
So, Gulf of Thailand it (most likely) is then! But how can I do it?
The Southern inland and Gulf coast together provide the perfect 2-3 weeks itinerary, getting you the best of everything; the pulse of the urban life, the wilderness of the jungle and the free and relaxing island life.
But you’re beginning in Bangkok, right? We thought of that too! Your perfect travel route through the South when its rainy season in Thailand:
(scroll to the bottom for a visualised map)
Excited (but tired), you arrive in Bangkok...
Bangkok is bold and beautiful, and it really pays off to plan the first days there in advance. Book your place to stay, and maybe even an arrival transfer to beat the jetlag faster? You’ll thank yourself you did (hint: check this Arrival Package out!). When in Bangkok, how about a bike trip through the local back alleys? Or a refreshing boat trip through Bangkok’s canals for a more relaxed overview of the bustling city.
By train from Urban Jungle to Actual Jungle
Go by sleeper night train from Bangkok to Surat Thani along the Southeastern coast. The trains are comfortable – and you get a bed and linen even in 2nd class. You depart around 19:00 in the evening and around 07:00 next morning, you’ll soon say hello to your new habitat: the jungle! (if you have questions to or need help with train tickets, feel free to contact us).
Khao Sok National Park – the oldest rainforest in Asia
Khao Sok National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and home to the man-made Cheow Lan Lake. In the rainy season (approx. May-Oct) the jungle is extra lush, the wildlife returns to the lakeshores and the main fruiting season emerges. Paradise is right around the corner.
Spend at least 2 nights here: One night in a hut in the rainforest where you wake up early in the morning to the sound of gibbon monkeys calling out from the treetops. And spend your second night at the Chew Lan Lake, where you can star gaze at night from your own floating bungalow.
End your Khao Sok experience back in Surat Thani, and jump on a boat to...
Koh Pha Ngan and Full Moon Party
Most backpackers have heard about the Full Moon Party, which takes place at Koh Pha Ngan Island. Every month during Full Moon up to 30.000 people gather at Had Rin Beach to celebrate life and dance the night away. If this is on your bucket list, now is the time to do it.
This is important: Plan your southern journey centred around the Full Moon Party, and book your stay at Koh Pha Ngan well in advance! Most hostels/hotels fill up quickly, and many places have a minimum of 5 nights stay. We recommend that you book a Full Moon Package to be sure of having safe surroundings and help at hand.
It’s a big social experience, and you’ll meet other travellers and new friends. Have a wonderful time!
From Koh Pha Ngan, there’s easy access by boat to:
Koh Tao – get that diving certificate and meet Nemo
In Thai, “Koh Tao” means Turtle Island, but in many travellers’ ears that’s just short for “Diving and snorkelling”! Get your scuba gear on: When you’re in the cheapest place in the world to become a certified Open Water Diver, it’s time to go below surface.
Sairee Beach is the place to stay at Koh Tao, but we recommend you to stay either North or South of the central part: the beach is amazing and the noise is more distant.
If you’re going for that diving certificate, accommodation is often included in the price. The Open Water Diver course normally takes 4 days from start to certificate.
If you’re not into diving, going snorkelling in the waters around Koh Tao is a beautiful adventure too.
If you have time, you can stay at Koh Tao’s beautiful beaches for some relaxation. Or you can sail to nearby Koh Samui.
You can also head back to Bangkok with a combined ticket for catamaran ferry and bus.
Have you travelled while it’s rainy season in Thailand? What was your experience? We would love to hear from you.
If you have questions about the above destinations and tours or about travelling in Thailand in general, please don’t hesitate to contact our Travel Advisors. It’s absolutely free and no questions are too small to ask.