This is typically characterized by consistent afternoon showers that may lead to major flooding in certain areas. Some islands and boat services shut down due to stormy weather during this time and you may need to be more flexible with travel plans and excursions. Those traveling to the beaches during these months may want to consider north and gulf coast options, particularly during September and October, as they tend to have less severe weather as the west coast region.
The shoulder season for tourism runs from April to June and is markedly hotter and drier. The beaches during this time of year tend to be less crowded as typically only the ocean breezes provide cooling.
High season for travel is November through March. This is characterized by cooler, drier weather after the monsoon season. The landscape is lush and temperatures are very comfortable during these months. Tourist crowds tend to increase during these times, particularly over the holidays in late December and early January.
Thailand Trip Highlights
In the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is home to distinct cultures and unique opportunities to get to know the local traditions, flavors, and customs, by exploring sites such as:
- Bangkok – The capital of Thailand offers an engaging mix of markets, authentic Thai restaurants, museums, temples, and the Grand Palace, all on the backdrop of its buzzing city streets.
- Grand Palace – The most important landmark in the country, the Palace served as the official home of the King of Siam (now Thailand) for more than a century and is still used for important political events in the country.
- Chiang Mai – Become immersed in the country’s rich lore and legends through the ancient architecture, markets, and ceremonies that you will see performed here.
- Phuket Island – This tropical island combines history with active travel, giving you opportunities to bike, visit local markets, tour Old Phuket, or swim in the gentle waters.
- Phang Nga Bay – Enjoy the gentle breeze of paradise on this idyllic beach as you snorkel, sail, and stroll around this tranquil bay.
- Elephant Nature Park – Get up close and personal with elephants that have been rescued or have retired from work for humans as you get a chance to feed them and even learn how to bathe them if you want.
- Country Markets – Take a little piece of Thailand home with you from these traditional markets, some of which actually float on the lakes and are accessible by boat.
Buddhism in Thailand has also become integrated with folk religion, or practices and superstitions that Thais have added to the original doctrine. For example, it is strongly influenced by traditions regarding ancestral and natural spirits. Thai families often build a small house to hold these spirits. As you travel throughout Thailand, you will see these located directly outside a home’s main entrance. Food and drink offerings are left in the spirit houses on a regular basis to keep them content. It is believed if they are not kept happy, then the household will experience chaos.
Buddhism in Thailand is also influenced by Chinese religions and influence due to the large Thai-Chinese population. Some Chinese have “converted” to Thai-style Theravada Buddhism. However, many still maintain separate temples of the East Asian Mahayana tradition.
Temples, or wats, are a definitive part of any trip to Thailand. The white structures with tall, golden stupas are literally everywhere you go in this country! As you approach the temples, you are sure to smell the fragrance of incense, exchange smiles with a golden-robed monk, and appreciate the detailed architectural design. Choosing a just few temples to visit is a great idea as it can get exhausting if you try to see too many of them during your trip.
Upon entering a temple, there is an immediate sense of calm and reverence that should be respected. Visitors should always dress appropriately – both men and women should not wear tank tops or shorts that do not cover their knees. Shoes should be removed before entering, as well. You should stay out of the way of worshipers, back away from the Buddha rather than turning your back, and never point your feet at a Buddha statue. All visitors should avoid touching objects in the temple, and women should never touch a monk. Even accidentally brushing against a monk’s robe requires him to go through a lengthy “cleansing” ceremony.
Admission is not required, but travelers can definitely choose to help support the monks with a monetary donation if you so choose. Donation boxes are typically outside of the temple door. Consider that visiting a temple is free, but it is truly a unique experience that gives you a glimpse of Thai culture, tradition, and history.