Video #38 | May 31, 2018
In this video I’m going to discuss Bangkok weather and the best time to visit Bangkok. Note. What I’m going to say obviously applies to Thailand weather in general, and the best time to visit Thailand.
Click on the following link to check out more on Important Advice For New Visitors.
Welcome to the thirty-eighth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to discuss Bangkok weather and the best time to visit Bangkok. Note. What I’m going to say obviously applies to Thailand weather in general, and the best time to visit Thailand.
Let’s get started!
Bangkok has a tropical climate with high humidity and [often] stifling hot temperatures. The city’s weather is heavily influenced by the South Asian monsoon system.
To give you an idea of how hot it is in Bangkok, my first memory of Thailand [May, 1999] is leaving the air-conditioning of Don Mueang Airport to find a place to have a cigarette. While I was enjoying my cigarette after 12 hours on a plane, it was so hot that I was seriously considering walking straight back into the airport and catching the next plane back home. I had never experienced tropical heat before, and it’s really no joke!
The year is divided into three seasons; hot season from March to June, rainy season from July to October and cool season from November to February. The weather is generally pretty predictable during the three seasons but it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for rain.
Many Thai have joked to me that Thailand has three seasons; hot, very hot, and hot and wet. They’re pretty much bang on…
Did I mention that it’s hot?
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is the World’s hottest city. The annual mean air temperature is around 28°C. Obviously the highs are not nearly as hot as somewhere like Death Valley in California which has recorded 57°C, but the mean temperature is higher than Death Valley because it never gets anything approaching cold in the evenings like it does in all deserts. Death Valley has recorded −9°C which will never happen in Bangkok. Four years ago there was a lot of press on Bangkok’s coldest morning in 30 years. It was 15.6°C. Not really cold by British, American and Canadian standards!
Generally, air temperatures in Bangkok are somewhere around the mid-twenties during winter, and the thirties in summer. Rainfall varies greatly during the year, with between 180mm to 220mm of rain during the summer and the beginning of autumn, and only 10mm of rain during the winter months.
One major problem that Bangkok faces is that it lies only 6ft above sea level. During prolonged periods of rain, the city can experience severe flooding when the rivers and canals overflow.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the 3 seasons…
#1. The best time to visit Bangkok; cool season!
The most popular time for tourists to visit Bangkok is between November and February, also known as cool season. The temperatures are still pretty hot, but somewhat less stifling than the rest of the year. The northeast monsoon blows cool, dry air across the city which makes the climate feel much more comfortable than the other two seasons. Average temperatures are around 26°C to 28°C. Highs are around 33°C. That said, temperatures do drop to their lows in the evening which are usually around 21°C. December is generally the coolest month, and I personally think that it’s the best month to visit Bangkok.
There are occasional showers which provide relief from the heat, however cool season is generally the driest of the three seasons. Note. December, January and February are the driest months of the year, with just 10mm of rainfall and 2 wet days per month. In these months you should see pretty much only clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine with an average of 8 or 9 hours of sunshine every day.
If you want to explore the city by foot, and not feel like you’re getting cooked by the Bangkok weather, cool season is definitely the time to do it!
#2. Hot Season. You’re going to need air-con 24/7!
Bangkok experiences hot season between March and June. This is when temperatures peak. Average temperatures regularly hit 31°C in April, the hottest month of the year while high temperatures can reach a sweltering 35°C. Temperatures never drop below 25°C at this time of year. This makes sleeping at night without air-con quite out of the question for me!
The hot season is generally dry but Bangkok does experience some wet weather, in particular storms, towards the end of the season. From just 50mm in March, May sees 180mm of rainfall and 17 wet days on average. These bouts of rainfall do bring some relief from the high heat, so they’re not unwelcome. That said, after a heavy rainstorm the humidity spikes so it can make you feel like you’re in a sauna.
If you’re visiting Bangkok in hot season it’s advisable to pack light clothing and make sure that where you stay has air conditioning. Because of the excruciating temperatures during April’s Bangkok weather, the city has an annual 3 day water fight which takes place between 13-15 April for Thai New Year. Known locally as Songkran. If you want to stay cool by getting drenched in water, this is the time to visit Bangkok!
#3. Rainy Season. Epic, sometimes apocalyptic, rainstorms!
Bangkok’s rainy season begins with the arrival of the southwest monsoon, arriving in July and lasting until October. Temperatures fall slightly, to an average of between 29°C and 30°C and highs of 33°C.
September is the month when the most rain takes place, with 220mm and 22 wet days on average. The rain showers can be anywhere from very light rain to torrential showers. Despite rainy season occurring during summer, there’s still plenty of sunshine to enjoy (between 5 and 6 hours a day). The rain normally falls in the afternoon in Bangkok, but you have to be prepared for days when the city is washed with rain for the entire day!
Rainy season for the tourist industry is known as low season. It’s the least popular time for tourists to visit. However, this means that many hotels offer discounts on accommodation so you can get a great deal at this time of year! If you’re looking for a beach holiday, rainy season probably isn’t an ideal time to visit. However, if you’re visiting Bangkok there’re plenty of indoor attractions where you can have fun and shelter from the rain.
What follows are a few things to be mindful of during rainy season in Bangkok.
- Bangkok traffic is terrible at the best of times, but it gets exponentially worse as soon as the first trickle of rain starts. Good luck finding a taxi!
- It floods very easily in many parts of Bangkok. Bangkokians rolling up their trousers, taking their shoes off and wading through the floodwater is a not-uncommon sight.
- The rain can bring out wildlife that you’ll probably not want to see including mosquitoes, snakes and rats. Be vigilant!
The following footage will give you an idea of what Bangkok weather is like during rainy season, and how heavy the rain can be in Bangkok. Note. I shot the video from outside my front door during a brief rain shower yesterday.
Anyway…that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.
For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.
To check out details on arranging a bespoke Bangkok tour with experienced tour guides, and luxury private transport, please click on the link in this video’s description section.
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Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.