The weather in Thailand and most of Southeast Asia cycles through three major seasons. Those seasons are amusingly thought of as ‘hot’, ‘hotter’, and ‘hottest’, but actually differ by the amount of rainfall. Cool season (October – mid February) has sporadic rain, hot season (mid February – mid May) sees the least amount of rain, while green season (mid May – mid October) encounters the most rain during the year.
For most people around the world, July and August are the most ideal times to take a vacation. Office work slows down, the kids are out of school, teachers are on summer break, and travel agents have discount deals.
Green season is the best time to hit the beach in Thailand. Although visitors imagine constant rain, this is actually not the case in tropical countries. Green season actually means an hour or two of downpour each day, followed by clear skies for the remainder. While at the beach you can simply pop inside your bungalow at the first sight of rain, and emerge shortly after with the sunshine beaming once again.
You’ve probably heard that visiting Thailand in the cool season is best because of the clear skies and low temperatures. However, green season is also a great choice as long as you know what to expect. Traveling to Southeast Asia during green season will not rain on your parade. Let’s look at where to visit and what activities are best during Thailand’s green season.
Where to Go
Whether kayaking in Ang Thong National Marine Park or scuba diving in Ko Tao, you are sure to fall in love with the gorgeous beaches and crystal blue waters. The only gamble with the weather revolves around island ferry boats. In heavy rains or choppy waters, ferries may delay departure from the mainland for a few hours. If you’re flexible and plan your island getaway to last 3 or more days, a beach trip during the rainy season is a dream. You may even find you have the entire resort to yourself. How luxurious!
Ang Thong National Marine Park holds many discoveries, just waiting to be made. The park’s 42 islands boast wildlife, hiking trails, stunning beaches, coral reefs, and many overlooks onto the glistening sea-green water.
What to Do
Throughout most of the year, waterfall pools are a wonderful way to enjoy nature and beat the heat after a short hike. From the majestic Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi to the Island Cascades, visiting Thailand’s waterfalls is like walking into a postcard. If you plan on island-hopping during green season, remember to check with your resort before swimming in a waterfall pool. Although you can safely lounge nearby, it may be closed to swimmers. If the water level rises from the rain, the parks can be momentarily closed for safety.
Island activities are a blast during green season because you already plan on getting wet. A little surprise shower won’t interrupt your holiday vacation plans. Kayaking in the rain can be quite romantic. Scuba diving with some drizzle up above won’t stop you from seeing the gorgeous sea life below.
Ko Tao is a great place for beginner divers with over 60 diving schools. The water is crystal clear, giving a clear view of the extraordinary sea life below. Shallow dive sites, a pinnacle, and a shipwreck are amongst a few of the many things you can expect while diving in Ko Tao. Afterwards, visitors can explore the beautiful island with its sandy beaches and adventurous hiking trails.
Foods to Try
Plenty of travelers visit Thailand for the delicious, authentic cuisine. With a booming food scene and Thai street food garnering international attention, there are a few things to be aware of during green season. After a heavy rain, some areas of Bangkok and other major cities experience temporary flooding. Vendors may close without warning, especially small food carts that don’t have equipment like umbrellas or awnings to protect customers from the rain. During green season, if you plan to cross town for a meal, choose local chefs that have a shop house (street-front restaurant with a roof) to ensure they’ll be open. Examples of shop house with quality food in Bangkok include the classic Thai dishes at Golden Bay Leaf in Punnawithi neighborhood or the Asian fusion menu at cocktail bar Madong in Onnut.
Though the term “rainy” season can scare visitors away, green season happens to be the most vibrant time of the year in a tropical scene like Thailand. Rains are short-lived and the intense tropical heat gets tempered by daily showers. Add abundant greenery to the mix and you are sure to enjoy the weather and lush scenery that comes with it. From the verdant mountaintop jungles to palm trees along the water’s edge, green season is the perfect time to make your Thai Island vacation dreams come true.