Last week I booked tickets from August 1st - August 29 for my first trip to Thailand. At the time I knew it was during the rain season but had been told it wouldn't be too bad and that October was really the month to avoid. I'm fine with some rain here and there but am now a little worried after looking at the weather map on this site....August looks really.
My question is this: during a rainy day, does it typically pour all day with constant dark skies? Or does the rain come and go? Like are there down pours for an hour or so followed by breaks in the clouds and sun?
I realize that weather anywhere can be unpredictable, and the occasional down pour doesn't bother me, but I will want to see some sun (I live in Seattle!).
I plan on going from Bangkok to the north and then down the the south.
Thanks and happy travels!
#1 walkingtrees has been a member since 25/1/2010. Posts: 58
Where abouts in the south are you going?
Wet season is characterised by a couple of hours of heavy rain most days. It is generally not all day rainy affairs, but some days are. You'll often get plenty of sun either side of the rain.
The southern Gulf islands (Samui, Phangan, Tao) are usually real good in August - still well short of their normal wet season of Oct into Jan. It does rain, but sunshine usually dominates.
Elsewhere is wet season, but travel is usually okay - we get plenty of posts saying people had a good holiday with the usual daily mixture of one or a few showers/storms and sunshine/scattered cloud, some days with no rain.
This has been the pattern in all my wet season visits. In August 07, I was on Phi Phi and Phuket in what the newspapers called the wettest period for some years. In 15 days got 2 days virtually cloudless, about 2 where it rained more often than not (but these still had some sunny breaks and were not write-offs), and the rest were the normal mixture of one or a few showers, sun/scattered cloud. I had a great holiday. In August 09 I spent 4 days on the Phuket side. One was real windy, mostly sunny, a few short showers - the others were not windy, otherwise similar. Check the uncredited shots on the 2 Phi Phi pages and 1 Phuket page in the link below, lots of sunshine in them. BTW, Phi Phi/Phuket and Krabi are within sight of each other, so weather patterns are similar.
This August I was on Samui and Phangan - I think it rained twice for all of 20 minutes in the 3 weeks.
The driest of the non-Southern Gulf islands tends to be Ko Samet near Bangkok. Most of Samet's beaches face east and are sheltered from the prevailing wet season winds which on the days when they get stronger can cause rough seas and blow a lot of flotsam and jetsom onto the beach.
The wettest are Big Ko Chang and neighbours + the Ranong area islands. Nevertheless I have seen plenty of posts from visitors to the former in the wet season saying they enjoyed themselves.
Wow, thanks folks...I can see I'll be frequenting this board with questions in the build up to my trip...I amazed at the quickness of the responses and the quality of their content.
I arrive to bangkok August 2, and will spend a couple/few days in the city. After that I plan on taking a train north and south..I'm not sure in what order yet. I haven't really yet planned on the southern leg on my journey yet. I DO want nice beaches, culture, parties, and to go places off the beaten path...a little bit of everything I guess. If I can afford it at the time, I'd like to try diving.
As far as my Northern journey, I'm hoping to take train/busses to Ayuthaya, Lop Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, etc.
I'm also considering a side trip to Angkor Wat from Bangkok in between my North and South travels.
What do you guys think? Where to go in the South? Any other recommendations.
#4 walkingtrees has been a member since 25/1/2010. Posts: 58
I hear ya walkingtrees. I'm originally from Seattle too but now live in Chiang Mai. I grew up hating rain but now I see it as a relief from the tropical heat. Don't worry too much about rain for your Thai trip in August - you will definitely get some on maybe half of your days but it seldom lasts all day and is often limited to brief thunderstorms which can be pretty impressive. By the end of your trip you may see rain in a different way. Carry a small collapsable umbrella (available for $3 everywhere) which also makes a good sunshade when you've had enough photons. As weathernerd Tezza indicates, the southern gulf coast and islands generally have the sunnier weather at this time and don't tend to get wet until around Oct/Nov.
Headed between Bangkok to Surat Thani, I have enjoyed going by day train and stopping off at less touristy places like Prachuap Khiri Khan, Bang Saphan, and Ban Krut. Also, Chumphon is a nice manageable town with good beaches out on the coast and way less western tourists than the popular islands. Happy planning.