Southern Thailand Weather Calendar

Southern Thailand has two weather seasons: high season and low season. High season begins in November and features higher percentage occupancy in hotels and higher prices for goods and services. In Phuket, the change in prices can be pretty dramatic. The weather is generally clear and sunny. The coolest weather is in late December through early January. Peak high season is the Christmas-New Year period. It's crowded and more expensive.

Low season features wind predominantly from the southwest. Storms which originate in Antarctica, pass by Sumatra on the way to Phuket. There are periods of one or two weeks during which it rains at least a little on most days. These are actually prime kayaking conditions.

Cloudy days are cooler, making paddling more comfortable. Conditions often change by the hour. We put on sun screen in the morning and watch approaching rain fronts in the afternoon. It's beautiful!

The good news is that Paddle Asia specializes in finding out-of-the-way destinations. We much prefer to see the natural world sans the crowds!

Here's the month-by-month weather breakdown:


Red Munjac, also known as Barking Deer.This is a peak "high season" month. This means that the hotels, vendors, street merchants and everyone else are asking their highest prices. Negotiating is difficult. If you don't like crowds, this might not be the best time to come to Phuket. However, since we get away from the crowds, this is still a great time to go paddling.

The weather is perfect. The average temperature during this period is approximately 75ºF to 89ºF (24ºC to 32ºC.) That's why it's so appealing tourists. Most countries are experiencing cold weather this month. There is very little chance of rain, though it can happen during El Nino years. Even then, it won't amount to much.

The prevailing wind is from the Northeast. The other side of the Malay peninsula is experiencing their rainy season.

The migratory birds are all here!


This month is the same as January as far as weather and crowds go. The average temperature during this period is approximately 75ºF to 89ºF (24ºC to 32ºC.)

Many orchids are in bloom towards the end of the month. The migratory birds are still here.


Monkey.High season is tapering off this month. There seems to be less people and negotiating on prices is possible, especially with street vendors and small shops.

The average temperature during this period is still approximately 75ºF to 89ºF (24ºC to 32ºC.) It gets a little hotter at the end of the month sometimes.

There are occasional brief showers some years. This is a great time for paddling. The showers merely give you a little break from the sun.

Some of the migratory birds start departing for colder climates near the end of the month.

Many species of orchids are in bloom in both saltwater and freshwater areas.


Clouds building.Mid-April through October is known as the "low season". The seasons are the opposite on the east coast of hte Malay Pensula (the Gulf of Siam side.) Koh Samui for example, has its high season during Phuket's low season.

This is a transitional month. The previously Northeastern monsoon winds gradually start moving around to eventually come from the Southwest. Somewhere around the middle of the month, you can count on some heavy showers. The second half of the month is usually pretty wet. Frequent thunder showers occur. They are often quite heavy and often brief. It seldom rains all day.

April and May are the hottest months of the year. The temperatures range from 80ºF to 95ºF (27ºC to 36ºC.)

In the middle of the month, the Thais celebrate Songkran, the water festival. Everyone splashes and throws water on everyone else. It's certainly something to see, even if only once. Driving a motorcycle is extremely dangerous due to slippery road and getting ice cold water thrown at high velocity at you while you're driving.

On the aesthetic side, low season storms can be absolutely stunning. The colors are often breathtaking. The sunsets are ineffable. The power of nature is at its best.

The middle of the month is the official end of high season. Negotiating prices becomes easier.

Birds are very active during this month in preparation for breeding. Some migratory species have left.

Many species of orchids are in bloom in both saltwater and freshwater areas. Most of the migratory birds are gone, but Thailand hosts plenty of resident birds. You'll still see plenty!


Limestone cliffs.This is a wet month.

This is a fairly nice time to paddle. It's a bit hot, but there aren't many tourists around.

One of the truly nice things about paddling during the rainy season is the visibility. When it stops raining, the visibility can be absolutely outstanding! Since there are so many groups of islands in the areas where we do our trips, this becomes a very rewarding part of your trip. It makes you take a deep breath and say "ahhhhh"!

Prices come down on almost everything.

Many bird species are looking for a mate. That means that they are calling a lot and moving around. Some migratory species are still around, though most have left.

Many species of orchids are still in bloom in both saltwater and freshwater areas.


The same as May except the waves on the west coast of Phuket are bigger.

The temperatures range between 70ºF and 90ºF (20ºC to 33ºC.)

Many species of orchids are still in bloom in both saltwater and freshwater areas.


The same as June, but the waves can be a little bit bigger depending on the storm activities out to sea.

Many young birds can be see feeding with their parents.

The temperatures range between 70ºF and 90ºF (20ºC to 33ºC.)


Elephant.This is a month that can have nice weather. The wind is still from the Southwest, but the rain is a bit less than the previous months and a lot less than the next two months.

This can be a dangerous time to go swimming. The rips get pretty bad and the waves can be big. Having said that, waves aren't dependable in Southern Thailand. It all depends on the storm activities out to sea. Even during stormy years, the waves aren't happening every day.

The temperatures range between 70ºF and 90ºF (20ºC to 33ºC.)


This is the wettest month of the year by far. There are frequent storms. However, there are still plenty of clear days. The rains are often heavy with very strong winds at the start of the front. Line squalls occur during this period. The rains aren't necessarily all day long. Many days have brief showers or no rain at all.

Since we prefer bungalows and small hotels to camping, the comfort quotient of our trips is still high.

This is the lowest time of the year for tourism.


The is usually the second wettest month of the year. Storms are less frequent and less intense than those in September. Tourism is slow, so you're able to negotiate prices easily.


Kingfisher.November through mid-April is known as "high season" in Phuket and along the west coast. November is a transitional month. The rains gradually taper off throughout the month.

The most popular time to visit Phuket is during the cooler northeast monsoon season. From November through March, it's not as humid and a comfortable breeze is common. The average temperature during this period is approximately 75ºF to 89ºF (24ºC to 32ºC.)

Some migratory bird species start arriving.

Many Strangling Fig trees are in fruit, making it very easy to see a lot of Hornbills in Khao Sok National Park.

The prices of everything start to go up. However, many merchants are still willing to "deal" a little bit.


This is high season. The closer to Christmas, the more people arrive. Negotiating prices becomes increasingly difficult.

All of the migratory birds that visit Thailand are here by December.

More Strangling Fig trees come into fruit. This is a very easy time to see hornbills, gibbons, monkeys, and other fruit-eaters.

All in all, theres no bad time to visit southern Thailand. The southwest monsoon season isn't as bad as you might think. The skies are often clear and the seas moderate. There's really no reason why the southwest monsoon should interfere with a good paddling vacation. In sum, if you like cheaper prices and potentially wilder weather, come in the low season. If you like clear weather and predictable conditions, come on over in the high season.

Summer showers makes for beautiful rainbows.What is the Monsoon?

The word monsoon most likely comes from the Arabic word mausim, which literally means season.

The monsoon is the seasonal wind reversal. It is not the rain as commonly assumed. Rain is the byproduct of this wind. For half of the year, the wind comes from one direction and for the other half, it comes from the direct opposite direction.

From about mid April through October and into November a bit, the predominant wind direction on the Malay Peninsula is from the southwest. For the rest of the year, the wind shifts to coming from the northeast.

The western side of the Malay Peninsula—the side that has Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Tarutao—gets more rain during the summer months. The eastern side—the side with Koh Samui, Koh Pang Ngan, Koh Tao and Koh Chang—is drier during this time. The wind is coming from the southwest. The wind direction shifts in November and the seasons change. During the winter months, the eastern coastline of the Malay Peninsula gets less rain.

Beautiful sunset.The tourist high season on the eastern side of the Malay Peninsula is from about November through the middle of April. This is the low season for tourism in the Gulf of Thailand side (Ko Samui).

The seas can get a bit bumpy on the western side of the Malay Peninsula during the summer months. We concentrate on Phang Nga Bay and Khao Sok during this time as they are both fairly protected.

Don't let a little rain prevent you from enjoying either side of the Malay Peninsula. Low season means cheaper prices on almost everything, less tourists, rainbows, and awesome sunsets.

We promise you won't melt!

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This page last updated on Thursday, October 24, 2013