If you visit Thailand in summer, you have a few advantages over those who choose the high season. First, prices are dramatically lower than during peak tourist season. You can stay at luxury resorts for half – or more – of the usual price, and you won’t have to deal with throngs of travelers. Many hotel websites list high, low, and shoulder-season prices so you can comparison shop while planning your trip. Furthermore, though Thailand definitely receives a lot of rain during the summer months, often it only comes in the form of a quick, dramatic downpour once a day, rather than being a steady drizzle. Even better: often that downpour occurs in the middle of the night.
Though the cheap prices and lack of crowds are definite draws for visiting Thailand in summer, there are definitely disadvantages. While you might not see rain 24 hours a day, the weather is still going to be very hot and humid. You’ll certainly want to have air-conditioning, and, occasionally, stepping out of the cool dry air of your bungalow feels like you’re walking into a greenhouse.
Services are cut back during Thailand’s summer season. Boat transport in particular is severely reduced, if not canceled altogether on smaller islands and beaches. Because of the reduction in service, you’ll need to plan ahead more than you might in high season, when boat transfers continually run. For example, if you want to visit Ko Mak, which is just south of Ko Chang, you’ll need to not only check the boat schedules to see how often they run (and plan your finances accordingly since Ko Mak doesn’t have an ATM), you’ll also need to be aware than choppy water often causes boat cancellations. (However, Ko Chang sees more ran than anywhere else in Thailand during mid-summer, so it’s probably best to avoid that area altogether!)
The best places to visit in Thailand in summer are in the north of the country: Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, for example. They’re naturally cooler from being further north, but also less polluted than say, Bangkok. Furthermore, there’s plenty more to do here than many beaches down south, so if it rains you won’t be stuck gazing forlornly out your bungalow window at a wet beach.
If you have some flexibility, shop around for air tickets and accommodation by entering different dates into booking widgets (below) to find the best deals.
More information on traveling in Thailand:
[Photo credit: caq, Flickr]