Thailand Weather in May: Too Hot & Rainy? Best Places to Go and Travel Tips

There’s no denying that Thailand in May can be scorching hot and quite wet, but don’t let that deter you from exploring this beautiful country. With temperatures soaring up to 35°C (95°F) and an average of 16 rainy days, it’s important to pack accordingly.

But fear not, there are still some amazing places to visit, like the bustling city of Bangkok with its historical attractions, the cooler mountainous region of Chiang Mai, the refreshing waterfalls of Chiang Rai, the beach town of Hua Hin, and the lush island of Koh Samui.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hot and rainy: May in Thailand is one of the hottest months with temperatures reaching up to 35°C. Rainfall is also prevalent with an average of 16 rainy days during the month.
  • Best places to visit: Despite the weather, there are still great destinations to explore in May. Consider visiting Bangkok for historical attractions, Chiang Mai for trekking and elephant sanctuaries, or Hua Hin for a beach getaway with less rainfall.
  • Travel tips: Remember to pack light and cool clothing, as well as umbrellas and waterproof jackets for the occasional downpour. If visiting temples, dress respectfully with long-sleeved clothes and trousers or skirts. Take advantage of lower hotel rates and tour discounts during this less crowded time of year.

Thailand Weather in May

Average Temperature and Rainfall

The average temperature range in Thailand during May is 29–35°C (84–95°F), while the rainfall amounts to 84 mm (10 inches) with 25 rainy days and 5 sunny days. It can get quite hot and humid, with occasional heavy rainfall.

Regional Weather Patterns

The weather patterns in Thailand vary across regions in May. In Bangkok and Central Thailand, the hot season transitions to the wet season, with short, intense bursts of rain. Northern Thailand experiences cooler temperatures and lower humidity, making it a great time to visit. As for Southern Thailand, the Gulf of Thailand sees less rainfall compared to the Andaman Coast, where the effects of the southwest monsoon start to be felt.

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Plus, with the increased rainfall toward the end of May, the landscapes in Chiang Rai become lush and vibrant, offering a picturesque backdrop for travellers.

Best Places to Visit in Thailand in May

Bangkok

There’s no denying that Bangkok is a must-visit city in Thailand, despite the heat in May. Explore historical attractions like the Grand Palace and Bangkok National Museum, immersing yourself in Thai history and art. Don’t forget to visit the Jim Thompson House Museum, a gem in the heart of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai

To truly experience the beauty of Thailand in May, head to charming Chiang Mai in the north. Enjoy trekking in lush greenery, visiting elephant sanctuaries, taking cooking classes, and indulging in relaxing spa treatments. The cooler temperatures and lower humidity make Chiang Mai a perfect destination during this hot month.

Chiang Rai

Another fantastic option in May is Chiang Rai, where you can escape the heat by cooling off at the Huai Kaew and Huai Mae Sai waterfalls. Discover the stunning valleys and mountain ranges that get greener as rainfall increases toward the end of the month. Enjoy traditional iced tea and Lanna meals in air-conditioned cafes and restaurants.

Hua Hin

For a beach escape with minimal rainfall, head to Hua Hin in May. This mainland beach resort town offers a range of beaches and resorts, ideal for a relaxing vacation without the crowds. Enjoy the warm temperatures and take advantage of the clear skies for a perfect beach getaway.

Koh Samui

To experience the Gulf Coast without the full monsoon effect, visit Koh Samui in May. Enjoy the island’s beauty before weather conditions deteriorate. Although snorkelling and diving may be limited, you can still explore the stunning coastline and relax on the beaches under the warm sun.

Phuket

For a mix of beach bliss and vibrant nightlife in May, head to Phuket. Despite the occasional downpours, you can still enjoy the beaches in the early morning or late afternoon. Take advantage of lower hotel rates and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to explore this famous island destination.

Crowding and Costs in May

Low Season Advantages

Keep in mind that May is considered a low season in Thailand due to the extreme heat and humidity, resulting in fewer crowds at popular tourist destinations. This means you can explore attractions without the hustle and bustle of peak season, enjoy more personalized experiences, and take advantage of lower hotel and attraction rates.

Discounted Tours and Attractions

Any traveller looking to save money on their Thailand trip should consider visiting in May. During this low season, you can find discounted tours and attractions which can help stretch your budget further.

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Hotel and attraction rates are quite low in May, making it an ideal time to explore Thailand without breaking the bank.

Packing Essentials for May

Light and Cool Clothing

Despite the hot and humid weather in Thailand during May, light and cool clothing is important for staying comfortable while exploring. To beat the heat, pack items such as shorts, skirts, T-shirts, light trousers, and caps. These will help you stay cool while wandering through the bustling streets of Bangkok or enjoying the scenic beauty of Chiang Mai.

Rain Gear and Footwear

For the unpredictable showers that may occur in Thailand during May, it’s important to pack rain gear and appropriate footwear. Umbrellas, light raincoats, and waterproof footwear can come in handy during sudden downpours, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable while continuing your adventures.

Packing a sturdy pair of rubber boots or sandals can also be useful, especially if you plan on exploring areas where the ground may be wet or muddy. Having the right rain gear and footwear will allow you to make the most of your trip, rain or shine.

Temple Etiquette

An important aspect of visiting temples in Thailand is respecting local customs and traditions. When visiting temples, remember to dress modestly out of respect. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or trousers to cover up appropriately and show reverence for the sacred sites you are exploring.

Additionally, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering temple buildings, so packing a pair of easily removable footwear can make this process more convenient. By adhering to temple etiquette, you not only show respect to the local culture but also enrich your travel experience.

Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

Many first-time visitors to Thailand in May should be prepared for the hot and rainy weather. Remember to pack umbrellas and waterproof jackets to stay dry during the frequent downpours. It’s also imperative to wear light and cool clothing to stay comfortable in high temperatures.

Umbrellas and Waterproof Jackets

JacketsRemember to pack umbrellas and waterproof jackets to stay dry during the frequent downpours in Thailand in May.

Staying Hydrated and Sun-Protected

One important tip for travelling in Thailand in May is to stay hydrated and sun-protected. The hot temperatures can quickly dehydrate you, so make sure to carry a refillable water bottle and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Additionally, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a hat to protect yourself from the intense sun.

Respecting Local Culture

First-time travelers to Thailand should be mindful of local customs and traditions. It is important to dress modestly when visiting temples and other religious sites. Remember to remove your shoes before entering sacred places and avoid public displays of affection. Showing respect for the local culture will earn you a positive reception from the Thai people.

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Regional Highlights and Activities

Northern Thailand’s Trekking and Elephant Sanctuaries

For a cooler escape from the heat and humidity of May, head to Northern Thailand, where Chiang Mai offers excellent trekking opportunities amidst lush greenery and villages. Don’t miss visiting the elephant sanctuaries for an unforgettable experience with these majestic animals.

Southern Thailand’s Beaches and Waterfalls

Any traveller looking for sun, sand, and sea should explore Southern Thailand in May. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Hua Hin and Phuket, where you can relax under the sun or take a refreshing dip in the clear waters. Don’t forget to visit the stunning waterfalls in Chiang Rai to cool down and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

Regional rainfall during May is much lower on the Gulf of Thailand than on the Andaman Coast. The Andaman Coast, where Phuket and Krabi are situated, starts to see the effects of the southwest monsoon, which begins in late May, but it isn’t in full swing until June.

Central Thailand’s Historical Attractions

Attractions in Central Thailand such as the Grand Palace and Bangkok National Museum are a must-visit for history and art enthusiasts. Explore the rich cultural heritage of Thailand while taking in the beautiful architecture and historical significance of these landmarks.

Note: May is one of the hottest months in Thailand with temperatures reaching up to 35°C (95°F) on average daily. Be prepared for high humidity and occasional heavy rainfall, especially in Central and Southern Thailand.

Conclusion

The Thailand weather in May may be hot and rainy, but it shouldn’t deter you from exploring this beautiful country. From the bustling city of Bangkok to the serene beaches of Hua Hin and Koh Samui, there are plenty of places to visit and activities to enjoy.

With lower crowds and discounted rates, May is a great time to save money while experiencing the wonders of Thailand. Just remember to pack light and cool clothing, as well as rain gear, and you’ll be all set for an unforgettable adventure in the Land of Smiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is May a good time to visit Thailand in terms of weather?

In May, Thailand experiences extreme heat and humidity, with temperatures reaching up to 35°C (95°F) on average. Additionally, there are around 16 rainy days, so it can get quite wet. However, if you don’t mind the heat and occasional rain showers, May can be a good time to visit due to lower hotel and attraction rates.

What are some recommended places to visit in Thailand in May?

Despite the weather, there are still some great places to visit in Thailand in May. Bangkok, with its historical attractions like the Grand Palace and National Museum, is a must-see. Chiang Mai offers trekking opportunities and elephant sanctuaries, while Chiang Rai boasts beautiful waterfalls and cafes to escape the heat.

What should I pack for a trip to Thailand in May?

For a trip to Thailand in May, it’s advisable to pack light and cool clothing such as shorts, T-shirts, and light trousers due to the heat. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella and waterproof jacket for the occasional rain showers. If you plan to visit temples, remember to pack long-sleeved clothes and long skirts or trousers out of respect.

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