Long stretches of sandy beaches, fantastic sunsets, a thriving nightlife and dirt cheap accommodation and flight prices are only some of the things that have made Thailand one of the most in-demand holiday destinations from India.
As with every tourist destination, there is a peak season to visit Thailand when the weather is pleasant and the crowds come pouring in. This time, usually in the winter months, is also associated with relatively higher prices of accommodation and flights. On the other hand, the month of May is associated with the rainy weather, which often means long and relentless showers all over the country.
Naturally, the tourist activity sees a decline and so do the prices of accommodation and flights, making May one of the most economical months to visit Thailand. But with pouring rain across the country, is it a good idea to visit Thailand in May? Let’s find out.
Thailand’s Weather In May
As mentioned earlier, Thailand experiences some serious monsoon showers during the month of May. During the early days, you can even expect to see some level of urban flooding in cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Even after all this, the temperature is usually warm and with high humidity, can prove to be uncomfortable to some. In such cases, the rain may provide some much needed respite from the unrelenting heat of Thailand.
It usually rains during late afternoons and evenings, with a few exceptions. Thanks to this, the dry mornings are superb for tourist activities and exploration. Moreover, while there is no place in Thailand that is completely shielded by the monsoon showers, there are a few spots that remain relatively dry. Some of these are the Koh Samui and the Koh PhaNgan islands.
Why You Must Visit Thailand In May
As mentioned earlier, the tourist crowds start thinning as the monsoon showers become more intense during May. Thanks to this, most cities are relatively empty and travelers can easily find accommodation in otherwise sold out (or unrealistically expensive) properties.
Moreover, with fewer tourists, the cost of local transport is reduced dramatically. In fact, most hotels in Thailand have a separate rate list or pricing structure for the month of May and the room tariffs are usually slashed by nearly 50%.
Finally, unlike other cities in Thailand, your experience in Bangkok, which is one of the most popular tourist cities in the country, will remain more or less the same, regardless of whether you visit in May or December. This is because most experiences of tourist interest in Bangkok are indoors, and remain unaffected by the monsoon showers.
Festivals To Look Out For Thailand In May
If all that isn’t reason enough for visiting Thailand in May, here’s a list of local festivals that you can only enjoy if you schedule your visit for the month of May:
1. Elephant Buffet and Jumbo Queen Contest
Hosted by the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo in the Sam Phran District, the festival dedicated the first day of May to celebrate the beloved elephants of the country. On this day, over 2 tons of elephant’s favorite food is presented to the elephants of the zoo and a contest is held to determine the most enigmatic female elephant in the zoo.
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2. Samui Bike Week
Thousands of bikers flock to the Samui Bike Week every year. Scheduled for May 10th 2020, Samui Bike Week is expected to see the biggest yet parade of bikes in the country. The parade is also accompanied by contests, bike exhibitions, and live concerts.
3. Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day
A 700 year old festival, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day is held on the 14th May at the Sanam Luang ceremonial site in Bangkok. As the name suggests, the festival is celebrated to pray for a successful planting season and a fruitful harvest season for the nation.
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4. Samui Regatta
The Samui Regatta, which usually takes place in the last days of May, attracts some of the best yachts from all over the world. The regatta is also known for its extravagant parties, which complement the rest of the vacation activities that Koh Samui is famous for.
5. Ordination Parade On Elephant’s Back Festival
The ordination parade on elephant’s back, as the name suggests, is a parade of novice monks being accepted as monks. More than 100 elephants start the parade from Wat Chaeng Tawang (Surin District) and parade to Don Buat, also known as the Talu Palace. Before and after the parade, there are a number of age old rituals that you can witness.
5 Best Places To Visit In Thailand In May
While the county is struggling with rainfall in most areas, there are certain places in Thailand that remain relatively unaffected by the rainy season, and are able to host and entertain visitors. Some of these are:
While Bangkok does receive heavy downpours, the tourist activity in the city remains unaffected, unless things are extremely bad. This is because most of the tourist attractions in Bangkok are indoors. Moreover, with sunny mornings and noons, tourists get plenty of time to go around the open-air attractions of the city.
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2. Koh Samui
The Gulf Of Thailand coast gets considerably less rainfall than the rest of the country. This makes the beaches and islands like Koh Samui, ideal for a beach break.
As mentioned earlier, Koh Samui is also home to a couple of festivals, along with some of the most brilliant nightlife spots in the country, making it an excellent option to visit within Thailand in May.
3. Ko Pha Ngan
The island of Ko Pha Ngan is the party island of Thailand, especially during May, when the rest of the country is experiencing crippling rainfall.
The island is famous for hosting the month Full Moon Party which attracts roughly 30,000 partygoers every month. The island is dotted with sand bars and beach resorts and is extremely popular among backpackers visiting the country.
4. Koh Tao
Home to luxury hotels, lively nightlife, picturesque beaches, and scenic beach villas, the island of Koh Tao is the perfect beach escapade. The smallest island in Thailand, the tropical dream that is Koh Tao is the perfect blend of busy crowds of Koh Samui and the laid back vibe of Ko Pha Ngan.
5. Hua Hin
If you don’t want to venture away from mainland Thailand, Hua Hin is best for a beach break, away from thunderous showers of rain. While the seaside resort was once a fishing village, it became a hot holiday destination for Thailand’s rich and famous after the Royal Family constructed their summer palaces here. The Hua Hin beach is lined with luxury resorts and also offers a range of watersports that visitors can enjoy.
Top 5 Things To Do In Thailand In May
Just like the options for places to visit in Thailand, there is also plenty to do in Thailand during the month of May. Here’s a list of our top five picks:
1. Enjoy Watersports In Koh Samui
While there will be at least some amount of rain in Koh Samui, if you plan it right, you can get plenty of sun, and a good chance to enjoy some watersports like snorkelling, scuba diving, and sea kayaking. If you don’t fancy any of these, you can simply spend your days in Koh Samui soaking up the hot Thai sun during the morning and afternoon, when there are fewer chances of rain.
2. Take A Cruise Through The Mu Koh Angthong National Park
As mentioned earlier, the Gulf Of Thailand experiences considerably less rainfall than the rest of the country, and is perfect for exploration. To that end, a cruise through the Angthong National Park is a popular activity, offering sublime views of small islands scattered across turquoise waters. With fewer crowds, the experience can turn out to be truly delightful.
3. Learn About Thai History In One Of Its Museums
Thailand is dotted with several museums spread across different cities, all celebrating its culturally rich heritage. Popular options include Bangkok National Museum and the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Chiang Rai and Hill Tribe Museum in Chiang Mai.
4. Visit The Wat Pho Temple
Temples are another great way to familiarise yourself with the history of Thailand and the way of life of the Thai people. With fewer crowds looking for the same interesting information, your experience at popular temples like the Wat Pho and The Grand Palace will surely be delightful. Not to forget, the indoor experiences will help you make the most of your time in Thailand without having to brave the rains.
5. Enjoy The Nightlife In Bangkok
Bangkok is famous for its nightlife and it does not stop because of a little rain. Lined with street food vendors, bars, nightclubs, neighbourhoods like Sathorn and Thonglor are great to get a feel of the Thai nightlife.
While the mainstream attractions may sometimes be off limits, there is still plenty to see and do in Thailand. In fact, with proper planning, and scheduling outdoor activities for morning and afternoon, you can enjoy everything Thailand is famous for, without worrying too much about the rain.
Ready to plan your trip to Thailand in May ? We’ve answered the most common questions pertaining to the destination to help you get started.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Thailand In May
When is the peak tourism season in Thailand?
Thailand experiences awesome tropical weather during the months of December, January, February, and March. This is when the maximum number of tourists visit the country.
How do I reach Koh Samui?
The quickest and most convenient way to reach Koh Samui from mainland Thailand is on a flight. There are many flights connecting Koh Samui with major Thai cities such as Bangkok. If you are looking for something more pocket-friendly, taking a ferry from Surat Thani or Don Sak is a good idea. However, there is a considerable waiting time involved in travelling by ferry.
Where do I go for an ethical elephant tour?
There are many options that offer ethical elephant tours in THailand. Some of our favorites are the Phang Nga Elephant Park in Phang Nga, the Elephant Haven in Kanchanaburi, and the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.
How do I get around in Bangkok?
While bike and scooter rentals are usually the best way to get around in Bangkok, they don’t offer any protection from the pouring rains of May. For this reason, it is best to depend on the city’s public transport systems like The BTS (Skytrain), the MRT (Subway), and the River Taxi.
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