Weather in Thailand in May

Is May a good time to visit Thailand?

Almost overnight the wet monsoon season sets in throughout Thailand at the start of May, welcomed by the locals as giving some relief from the searing heat of April, but annoying for holiday-makers! Don’t despair though, for the rainy season in Thailand does not mean stretches of grey, drizzly days – rather the clouds amass suddenly, usually in the afternoon or during the night, bringing a deluge of warm rain of relatively short duration, which then clears away just as quickly.

The rain has little effect on the prevailing heat, and it doesn’t necessarily rain every day – frequency and duration depends largely on the region you are in, and is not too intense during May, which is the start of the season.

When it is not raining the sun is bright and hot, and there are advantages to visiting Thailand in the wet season: tourist resorts are less crowded and cheaper; the countryside becomes lush; and river travel and rafting is more fun.

Visiting Thailand in May is a bit of a lottery as regards the amount of sunshine to be had, but if you don’t mind the odd soaking  of rain you will still come home with a tan.

Climate in Thailand in May

The average temperature in Thailand in May is 29°C (84.2°F) – in other words hot! The heat is exacerbated by the humidity level which is around 80% as the wet monsoon season begins, bringing with it an increased chance of frequent rain storms. The average rainfall for Thailand during May is 166mm, but this general figure is a guide only, because the amount of rain varies according to the region you visit.

Bangkok is steamy in May, daytime humidity hovering around 90% and the temperature maximising at an average 34°C (93.2°C). An average of 198mm of rain falls in May in Bangkok, with around nine wet days in the month. On the southern coast, by contrast, Phuket experiences its wettest month of the year in May, with 297mm falling across an average of 19 rainy days.

What’s on in Thailand in May

Thailand enjoys some right Royal events during May. For several days in early May a variety of cultural events take place in Bangkok to commemorate the Coronation Day of the King (Rama IX), who has reigned since 1950, culminating in a 21-gun salute fired across the city. Then the King himself attends the spectacular Royal Ploughing Ceremony, held to start the rice-growing season, when sacred oxen and the Royal Plough circles ceremoniously around Bangkok’s Sanam Luang Park.
 

What to pack

Pack light for very hot weather when you visit Thailand in May  – cool cotton clothing is best to beat the heat – and your swimsuit of course. A waterproof poncho will be useful for the rain storms, and mud-friendly footwear if you plan to go walking now that the rainy season has set in. It is also advisable to have a waterproof bag or packet in which to store your important documents and money, just in case you get caught in a deluge.