Thailand Weather and Seasons
Obviously, Thailand is a tropical country. However, the weather varies significantly from region to region, and there are significant seasonal variations in most of Thailand. Latitude varies from a little under 6 degrees north of the equator to slightly over 20 degrees north. There is lots of seaside, as well as far inland plains and mountainous areas. There is no desert but some inland places can get dry during some times of the year whereby the lush vegetation lightens up in color quite a lot.
The peninsular south is less predictable in weather and more subject to extremes such as big storms. The nearby seaside moderates the climate. The central and northern parts of the country have much more predictable weather patterns and are not so vulnerable to tropical storms due to the distance from the sea, and the geographical shape of Thailand's land mass whereby there is a big concave shape running north to Bangkok, which tropical storms are quite unlikely to turn up and travel into.
What you consider "hot" may depend on where you're from, your body size, and your body's natural metabolism. For example, when staying in a home or resort upcountry to the north, I am comfortable without air conditioning for most of the day, and all of the day during the cool season. However, I know people who cannot live without air conditioning, take only brief walks outside into the natural elements, and seek climate controlled environments as destinations via air conditioned vehicles. I often walk long distances without minding the climate, but I am relatively thin.
Thailand is a rich agricultural country, thanks in large part to good water management in the areas which have a long relatively dry season.
The seasons are determined by the "monsoons", which are consistent wind patterns that change at different times of the year due to the differences between land and sea temperatures and pressures.
The seasons are as follows:
November thru February - Dry, "Cool" Season - Winds are predominantly from the north when this season starts. Daytime high temperatures are between 30-35 C (85-95 F), humidity between 50% - 60%. Every day is a sunny day. The ground will still be saturated in many places in November due to the previous rainy season. Sometimes the temperatures drop significantly lower, and can be quite cold at night. This is the season to travel around Thailand.
March thru June - Hot Season - Travellers unaccustomed to the heat should not arrive in this period. Even the Thais have problems in the hottest spells. Temperatures can soar to 40 C (105 F) on the hottest days, and at night the humidity rises. Sometime between late June to late July, evening downpours start to come.
July thru October - Rainy Season - By "rainy", we are talking about evening downpours. It rarely rains for more than an hour at a time. The mornings are usually sunny, but a thunderstorm or two can come towards the late afternoon or at night. This usually starts in late July or August, but by September there is a thunderstorm on most days, often resulting in flooded streets but cooler nighttime temperatures. Because Bangkok is flat, you rarely find any place with more than a foot of water, and it usually drains away ... slowly ... in a few hours. By late September and October, the major rivers are high and there is sometimes permanent flooding along the river, sometimes quite deep. There is a massive investment in pumps to manage the problem, but sandbagging of economically valuable areas and flooding of adjacent areas is not uncommon. This season usually ends abruptly in late October when the winds suddenly change to the north.
You can see the weather radar for various parts of Thailand via the Thai Meteorological Department website at weather.tmd.go.th.
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