Thailand has a tropical climate with three seasons. March through May is the summer. June through September is the rainy season (green season, as the locals call it), however Australians considering booking cheap flights to Thailand should keep in mind that the rainy season is similar to the rainy season in other tropical climes. It rains hard for an hour or so and then the sun comes out. The cool season runs from October through February. The average annual temperature is 28 degrees (Celsius), the north will be mostly cooler than the south.
When to fly to Thailand
Seasonality varies according to where you go and what you do once you step off your cheap flights to Thailand. For beaches, visit between mid-November and mid-March. April/May is hottest but afternoon showers will cool things down. Conditions for scuba diving are good for most of the year, but visibility is low during the rainy season.
November to late March is peak season but July and August are busy too.
Try travelling between May and October to save some dollars.
Go in June to experience a less-crowded and less-expensive Thailand.
Getting around Thailand
Trains are frequent, comfortable and punctual. They may be on the slow side, but this affords a great view of the surrounding countryside. Buses, in contrast, are very fast and, importantly, air-conditioned. If time is short, fly. There are several regional airports, and domestic flights are easy to find.
For a city or resort, the best ways of getting around are by taxi, rickshaw, pickup, hired car and driver or, for the ultimate tourist experience, tuk-tuk. In the city taxis are usually metered. Ensure that the meter is switched on at the start of your journey. When it comes to a tuk-tuk or rickshaw journey, negotiate the fare before you start off.
Public transport will get you around Bangkok. While Chiang Mai has a limited bus service, there are lots of songtaos (covered pickups) and tuk-tuks. Hail a songtao at the side of the street; their fares are reasonable. Lots of travellers hire motorcycles and bikes in Chiang Mai. Don't be shy, drive defensively.
Thailand insider information
- Taurutau National Marine Park has some of Thailand's best dive sites. The visibility is amazing, the marine life plentiful and very, very colourful. Put the reef off Sunrise Beach on Koh Lipe and the reef in front of the ranger station on Koh Ravi on your must-dive list.
- Camp on the twin islands Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai in the Ko Lanta archipelago. Ao Sarn Chao is one of Thailand's best beaches. Between the islands there's 20 metres' visibility over a coral reef.
- Shell Fossil Beach in Krabi lacks the soft sands of other islands but has something unique. A 75-million-year accumulation of shell deposits makes the beach look as if it is made of concrete slabs.
- Be respectful in the temples and around statues of Buddha. On no account clamber on top of one. Likewise, don't touch a Thai person on the head or point with your feet. All are no-nos.