The best time to visit a place weather-wise is usually a time that everybody wants to visit, so choosing a time that’s just right — that is, with decent weather but some extra elbow room — can be tricky. Here’s the lowdown on the best time to visit Ko Samui taking both weather and crowds into consideration.
Rainy season on Ko Samui is September through to mid-December. September and December will see short bursts of rain, but still pleasant days, and the rain will disappear as quickly as it arrives, bringing relief from the heat and leaving puddles and dripping palms. Avoid mid-October to mid-December if you want to stay dry, with November taking the brunt of the monsoon.
Approximately every five years the monsoon is heavier than usual. The last big one in 2010 brought floods, while November 2011 only yielded a few showers. Those wishing to take a gamble will enjoy hugely discounted accommodation and enough room even on Chaweng beach to call it paradise. Should diving be high on your to-do list, however, don’t take this gamble — underwater visibility decreases by about a third during the monsoon period.
June is a great time to visit as the weather is good with little rain and not too much heat, but visitor numbers are low as most holiday-makers are waiting for the European school holidays of July and August to come to the island. During the European summer, the island is hectic and all flights to Samui are packed. Room rates increase and the sun beds that line the busiest beaches are full.
The hottest months are March to May and even the ice-cream vendors on the beach disappear as it’s too hot to patrol up and down on the scorching sand; the temptation to eat the profits would also likely be too high, walking in near-saturation point humidity along a beach devoid of customers.
If you can only make it in April, try to visit around April 13 over Thai New Year, or Songkran. Nationwide this is the world’s biggest water fight and nobody escapes a drenching, a welcome relief to the heat. Places such as Chiang Mai celebrate for three days, but Samui’s water resources can only cope with a day.
The winds pick up towards the end of May, bringing relief as well as contestants to the annual Samui Regatta, part of the Asian sailing circuit, and worth watching if sailing is your thing.
Christmas and New Year are busy, but mid-January to end-February is a good time weather-wise, and the festive season crowds wearily head back to work and school. Due to the good weather this is still considered high season with the hotels, so shop around online for good room rates.
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 17th August, 2012.