I have never been to Thailand and i'm thinking of going there in about 12 months time or so and I was wondering what is the best time of year to travel in Thailand?
The best time to travel depends on what you intend to do. December to March are the coolest times and more or less very little rain. The islands on the east coast normally get less rain than the ones off of the west coast. Bangkok is humid all year round . Avoid March/April as it can be extremely hot and uncomfortable. April-September should be rainy. Chiang Mai and the north will be refreshingly cool in the mountains from December to February. So in my opinion the best time to go is definitely December to February but of course everyone else will be going then for the same reasons as you so it would be crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds consider late October and November but cross your fingers and hope that there is not too much rain.
I heard February is one the best months to visit Thailand as it's dry and sunny season. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is celebrated during the first weekend of February.
.... and do some reading about the Thai New Year celebrations habits.
I have been to Thailand in different months, December was the best month through January, the weather is pretty good. Travelling around Thailand at this time of year the weather is perfect everywhere
I have been in May twice, and once in each of September, November and March. I might have been lucky, but I never had any problems with the weather. There were occasional showers of driving rain, but in common with other tropical countries, these passed fairly quickly. It's worth noting that around May there were significant discounts at the hotels I visited, perhaps due to low season.
Tourists visit Thailand every day of the year including when it is rainy or hot when it is low season. When it is rainy or hot hotel rooms are cheaper and often you can get a room with a walk-in.
You do get more tourists during the late November - early February time period when the weather is milder. This is high season for hotel room prices too. Close to Christmas and New Years holidays will have the most hotel bookings and at higher prices.
".. i'm thinking of going there in about 12 months time.."
A year from now will be December, a busy time of the year. There are some tourists who prefer visits during low season. When you show up depends on you! Remember tourists show up all the time. You can go shopping, hit up nightlife, check out restaurants, go on local tours any time of the year. Some beach areas are better during high season for diving and beach activities.
Thailand might be bigger than you think. From Bangkok you might have to fly to distant beach areas if your time is limited. Even during the rainy season there is usually enough sunshine for a good sunburn. Read the bottom of the weather link below for specific locations.
This forum has a Travel Guide section for "Things to Do in Thailand." You can also buy a travel guide for Thailand and read it for guidance.
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My advice if you do visit try stay at least a couple weeks if you can. Bangkok, Northern Thailand (usually Chiang Mai area) and a beach visit gives you a little taste of everything. Bangkok is a big city but cheaper than some of the better beach areas. Bangok has 2 international airports, Suvarnabhumi is the larger and newer airport. Some local flights to Thai cities leave from Don Muang Airport.
You decide what you want to do and plan your holiday around that activity.
* You do have a lot of time for planning things out!
If you are interested to see and experience Thai festivities, the top ones are Songkran (Thai New Year) on April 13-15 and Loy Krathong (usually in November).
We visit regularly, and have found December to March being best weather, cooler and not much rain.