We are traveling to Thailand June 17-July 7, 2015 for three weeks and would like some advice about where to go. We don't have a choice about the time of the year we're traveling. I keep reading that this is rainy/monsoon/low season but I'm not sure what that means exactly. We know we'll be experiencing daily downpours, but would like to avoid all-day rainstorms, unsafe beaches and making reservations for "inaccessible areas." We'd like to do some snorkeling and boat trips. Where should we go for the best likelihood for decent weather for beach time and adventure? Are there places we should definitely avoid?
Your right about the weather during the period you indicated. Based on your interests, the south is where you should look. Places like Phuket, Ko Samui and Ko Samuet offer beaches and ample opportunities for snorkeling, boating and the such.
Generally it rains more in the south than the north. That being said it will likely be Hot, Humid & Wet. Good luck.
Statistically speaking, the Andaman side (Phuket, Krabi, etc) is wetter than the Gulf side (Ko Samui, etc) in June and July. If you want a lower likelihood of rain, the Gulf side is a better choice. On the other hand, hotels are considerably cheaper on the Andaman side for this reason. Many of the times when it rains, it is very intense but goes away quickly. But during the wet season, it is also possible that it rains all day long.
But weather is very changeable and can differ year to year. You have to factor in things like el nino. But keep in mind much of the southern half of the country is sub-tropical and, it can be wet when ever you go. June and July still are the wettest though.
One of my favorite islands is Koh Chang with many beaches, forests and mountains. I have been there in July and although we had some rainy days we also had days with no rain at all. If you look at the statistics on the attache link it shows you each month and how many rainy days in each.
There are a lot of last minute airplane options in Thailand. You can usually fly to Bangkok, tour the city then, check weather, check hotels and grab a flight to the best destination. Just make your hotel reservation before you fly.
Weather is difficult to judge. I went to Koh Chang as a last minute trip from a trade show in Bangkok during October last year. The island was wonderful and the weather was OK, as far as rain and sun. Wind was the problem. The west wind is strong in the fall, almost a steady 25 Knots. This made bigger than normal waves resulting in cloudy water and difficult boat travel out to the diving spots. See the video of our dive boat in 2 meter seas and 25 knot winds. It was not pleasant. I found the same problem in Phuket the year before.
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We've always traveled to Thailand in June (middle to end) and it's been hit or miss with weather.
I will tell you this, it is very similar to our weather here in South Florida and even the timing coincides with that of our own.
Even if it does rain it will seldom be an all day affair but more likely a 1-2 hour burst followed by heat and even brilliant sunshine.
We've gone snorkeling in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, etc. and it was lovely but the beaches were very rough due to surf action.
Prices are certainly cheaper this time of year on hotels, tours, etc.
I am sure you will highly enjoy your trip and won't be disappointed.
Koh Samet is reputed to be the Sunniest place in Thailand. You can get there in about 3-4 hrs from BKK by bus to Rayong & Tuk-Tuk the Ban Phe Ferry. I've been there 2X. Very laid back, nice beaches. Close to BKK. Not very expensive.