Thailand has some of the most beautiful sunshine, skies and storms to be experienced. There is nothing quite like sitting on a white sandy beach looking out across the dark shadows of the National Marine park at night. As you are watching an offshore electric storms shoots lightning streaks across the sky. You see the few clouds illuminated for a moment before your eyes readjust to the darkness and the stars reappear. All the while you sit warm and dry upon a sun bed with a cocktail in your hand. Pure bliss.
Before embarking on a Tropical Paradise retreat its good to know what the weather is doing and get clear on information such as the Monsoon patterns. A tropical pool side holiday can appear a lot less appealing when you have to swim through the floods to reach the pool. So reading up and book your holiday times with mind to "normal" annual weather patterns to assure a slightly more predictable beach experience in Thailand and South East Asia. There is nothing worse than arriving on the beach with your sun-cream in hand only to find you should have brought the umbrella.
Its pretty clear with the current Global Climate Chaos which is appearing throughout the world that its no longer as simple as "Sun in the Summer, Snow in the Winter". However there are still basic patterns under which the rains will loosely follow.
To clear up initial confusion about Wet Season its good to know that there is infact two Monsoons which cross Thailand. So when one part of Thailand is suffering torrential rain and floods another part can be an idea holiday spot with blazing sunshine. For example Phuket (on the Andaman coast) does not have the same Monsoon season as Samuii (in The Gulf of Thailand).
The NorthEast Monsoon - This is the main Monsoon to effect Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and the rest of the Gulf of Thailand. It usually hits through October/November, However there can still be high waves and light rain fall all the way through to April. However once December comes the weather is far more agreeable than the previous month. It's not recommended to holiday during the end of October and through November here if you are planning on scuba diving or snorkeling as it is now that the waves pick up and with the rain fall the visibility in the water is poor. The Monsoon however does not necessarily mean that you will get one month non stop rain, it is more likely that bursts of heat and sunshine are punctuated with sudden heavy rainfall, usually for about an hour or so a day.
The Southwest Monsoon - This Monsoon does not effect the Gulf of Thailand. It comes in from the Indian Sea around May to October and hits the Andaman Coast.
For a simple look at on overview of the Annual Weather Patterns for the Gulf of Thailand have a look at our simple guide below.
January, February - This is a wonderful time to visit the Gulf of Thailand as far as weather is concerned. The temperature is usually around a pleasant 26°C and the rains have usually passed.
March, April, May - This is when the Dry Season begins, the big waves clear and the water becomes crystalline turquoise, in some places as still as a lake. This is a lovely time to visit however if you find high temperatures difficult be aware at this time of year they can peak to a scorching 40°C at times. The perfect excuse for another ice cream.
June, July, August, September - These months a generally very pleasant months and known to be a mini-season for tourists. If your looking for pleasant weather without the busyness of the High Season (December, January, February) then this can be a perfect time to visit the Gulf. The temperature averages at around 28°C and there is only a light rain fall.
October - Slowly the rainy weather begins to draw in and by late october rain can be frequent. The temperature at this time of year averages at 27°C.
November - Monsoon Season, Heavy rains and storms. Large waves and poor water visibility for divine. However a wonderful time to see the power of Nature and between rain fall the weather is still warm and bright. The temperature is still a reasonably pleasant 27°C even in the Wet Season.
December - This is when the temperature and humidity begins to cool down again, averaging at 26°C, the storms of November can sometimes extend as late as mid December.
Koh Samui and The Gulf of Thailand can be a peaceful and beautiful experience at any time of year, temperatures rarely demanding anything close to long sleeves, or anything which can be considered as "wrapping up warm". The oceans can be tranquil blue pools of clarity and the skies can be the same, to the point where the only way of telling where the sky ends and the sea begins is from the silhouettes of fishing boats sitting upon the horizons. On the other hand the nature of the tectonic placement means that the weather can take a sudden shift. Ja dropping and hair raising storms which can leave your jaw hanging at their power and beauty. This is part of the magic of Thailand, forces which have ruled here long before we humans took place. With this in mind It is advisable of course to consult weather reports close to the date of departure so you can have a clearer idea of what to expect.