Thailand’s weather is generally defined by three seasons: hot, wet, and cool. Travel buffs often watch out for the rainy season in Thailand, which typically spans from May to October. But before you scrap your travel plans, what if we tell you that the rainy season could be an ideal time to travel around Thailand? Well, if you don’t mind a bit of rain, the tourist crowds are thin, flight tickets and accommodation are cheap, and nature is lush and green. Without further ado, here are the places to travel to during the rainy season in Thailand to make the best of your trip.
Thailand’s northernmost region, Chiang Rai, is home to stunning mountain ranges and a vibrant Lanna culture. The province tends to be cooler and drier than central Thailand because of its high latitude. So the rainfall is shorter and less intense. Plus, the mountains and lush jungle views are right out of a postcard after a downpour.
What to do?
Chiang Rai is well-known to be the nation’s art capital. So, while taking shelter from the rain, visit the local temples and museums to see the intricate architecture of the temples and immerse yourself in the artworks of the best artists in Thailand. The must-visit temples at Chiang Rai are the White Temple (Wat Phon Khun) and the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten). You can also visit the Baan Dam Museum, aka the Black House Museum, which displays an eclectic mix of traditional northern Thai buildings with unconventional architecture.
Chiang Rai is also home to several hill-tribe communities, including Karen, Akha and Lisu. While there, visit the Longneck Karen Village to learn about the Karen culture. Are you visiting during August-September? You’ll experience the traditional Akha Swing Festival, typically celebrated for four days.
Where to stay?
In Chiang Rai, you can choose to stay in world-class hotels set against a backdrop of lush jungles and mountains. Feel one with nature at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Hotel, one of the most eco-friendly hotels in Thailand. Or, you spend your night at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort, where you can enjoy various activities such as elephant camp experience, countryside tour, cycling, or taking a long tail boat down the Mekong river. But, if you want to be cost-efficient and stay right in the city centre, book a room at the Mora Boutique Hotel where you can easily access all the city attractions!
The islands of Thailand are renowned for their palm-lined beaches and crystal-clear waters. However, the tides can be high during the rainy season, and the sun doesn’t always shine. But don’t fret. The excellent news is Koh Samui, Thailand’s largest island, only experiences brief downpours. So, if you don’t mind a bit of rain, you’ll still find plenty of things to do in Koh Samui!
What to do?
If the weather forecast does not predict heavy rain, we recommend you to visit Lamai Beach, Chaweng Beach and Bophut Beach. These picturesque beaches are your perfect beach destinations with white sands and clear waters. The best part is that the beaches should not be as crowded as the season! If the water activities are unavailable due to the rain, you can sit back, relax, watch the tides, or grab a meal at the local seaside restaurants.
The island is not only home to immaculate beaches but also modern cafes serving heavenly food and coffee – which is a perfect destination for rainy days. Visit the Fisherman’s House x Sasatorn Coffee for organic and clean Melbourne-style food and drink that is both innovative and artisanal. Want to dine with a view? Head to Vikasa Life Café, which serves tantalising International cuisine made with fresh local ingredients with a stunning beach view. At this café, both the scenery and dishes are a feast to the eyes!
Where to stay?
With many places to stay in Koh Samui, we’ll spare you hours of browsing and recommend hotels with impeccable service and facilities. Melati Beach Resort & Spa is a beachfront hotel set in the shopping area of Koh Samui; only a few minutes drive from the Thongson Bay Beach and 15 minutes from Chaweng beach and its nightlife and entertainment venues. But if you are seeking privacy and a peaceful getaway, spend your night at The Ritz Carlton Koh Samui, a 5-stars seaside resort located on the private sunkissed bay in Choeng Mon Beach. Want to be a stone’s throw away from the beach? The Banana Fan Sea Resort lies on top of the famous Chaweng Beach. So, you can easily monitor the weather to go out for a sun-tanning once the sun comes out!
Last but not least on our list is another place in the north of Thailand, Pai. The mountain-trimmed town of Mae Hong Son is known for its laid-back ambience, and it is perfect for a budgeted trip since the town has cheap accommodation, restaurants and souvenir shops. Moreover, Pai in the rain is truly a sight to behold, especially early in the morning. The mountains of Pai are blanketed with the morning mist while the rays of sunshine reluctantly shine in.
What to do?
The best mode of transportation to explore the hippie town is on a motorbike. However, remember to carry a raincoat with you just in case it rains. Also, driving safely is essential since the rain can make the roads slippery. If you do not know how to drive a scooter, you can hail a songthaew which is a local mini truck.
Pai is famous for nature activities such as hiking (Pai Canyon) and its waterfalls (Pambok waterfall and Mo Paeng waterfall). The Pai Canyon has the most fantastic view of the sunset, just 5 minutes walk up the stairs from the entrance. Even if it’s cloudy, the mountain view after the rain is simply unparalleled. However, if you plan to hike up the ridge trails, please be cautious since the rain can make the pathway slippery.
If these destinations are hard to reach due to heavy rainfall, you can opt to go café hopping in Pai. Doesn’t sipping hot coffee on a rainy day sound amazing? Your first stop should be Cafe De Pai, one of the most popular cafes in Pai, located in the middle of the walking street. On top of its delicious coffee, the café is famous for its fantastic breakfast with huge portions. The next café to visit is Coffee in Love, a café with the best view in Pai. The fairytale-like café perfectly encapsulates the Pai nature scene. Last but not least on our list is Fat Cat, a local restaurant serving delicious whole, homegrown and vegetarian food. You can also choose the type of milk- cow, soy, and coconut milk- according to your liking with your coffee!
Where to stay?
The small town has several cheap accommodations for tourists to stay in. If you would like to book a luxury stay, check out Pai Island Resort, located within a quiet terrain surrounded by the mountain range. Are you a partygoer? If so, book a room at the Rim Pai Cottage, a calm villa right off the walking street!
Even during the rainy season in Thailand, there is so much to do, so don’t let the downpour ruin your travel plans! Are you in Thailand and is stumped on what to do when it’s raining outside? Click HERE and check our guide on five things you can do on a rainy day in Thailand.