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Thailand - Weather and Climate - Overview

Thailand is about the same size as France and about 1770 km from north to south - Chiang Rai on the Myanmar border in the north, to just over halfway down the Malayan Peninsula in the south. As a consequence there are large variations in weather and climate. Equatorial in the extreme south, but the majority of the county is tropical – The weather of which is dominated by the two monsoon seasons.

The heat and humidity of February through April produces some very uncomfortable conditions. The average April temperature in Bangkok is 36 Celsius (108F) but accompanied by an afternoon humidity of 60 per cent a sweaty combination!

With the arrival of a southwesterly monsoon - temperatures drop by a couple of degrees but the increasing humidity means that conditions don’t get much better. Strong winds comming in off the Indian Ocean bring in heavy cloud and a great deal of rain. During the monsoon or rainy season daily sunshine only averages about four hours, compared with eight to eleven hours throughout the rest of the year. Fortunately even at the height of the monsoon season in September (usually) rainfall is not usually prolonged or excessive.

Between October to November and through to April the northeastern monsoon fetches much drier winds which come from the opposite direction - overland from Indo-China.
October through until February sees the most comfortable conditions for western travellers with daytime temperatures around 30 Celsius (86F) and generally much lower humiditiy. Whilst this might be OK in the northern regions and upper central provinces of Thailand. For those of you planning to enjoy the beautiful beaches on the islands that flank the southern and eastern regions - Phuket and Ko Samui etc – you should note that this northeasterly monsoon will probably bring some further rain in off the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea region.
Fortunately Thailand usually experiences fewer extremes of weather conditions than some of its Southeast Asian neighbours.

The devastating flooding that affects much of Indo-China is much less frequent here. Generally temperatures and humidities, whist giving very uncomfortable conditions for westerners at times, are perhaps somewhat less stressful than we would find in Cambodia or Laos.

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