I'm planning a visit to Thailand but wonder if it's a good idea to come in July, which I understand is the rainy season.

Thailand April 03, 2013 00:00

By Vipasai Niyamabha
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During my two-week trip, I plan to go to the beach and islands for some snorkelling and also spend a short time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Angkor Wat. Your advice would be appreciated! Tammy


The rainy season in Thailand runs from May through October. It rains in most of the country except the lower part of the Gulf of Thailand including Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao. These islands would therefore be ideal for a beach holiday in July and all offer a range of dive sites as well as clear water that’s great for snorkelling. 
In fact, there is little trouble with the rain in July as it doesn’t rain all day, every day at this time of year. You may experience heavy showers from time to time but the rain generally stops in an hour and the sun comes out again. If you are really unlucky, you may encounter a few rainy days during your two-week stay. Usually, it rains hard for an hour in the afternoon while the rest of the day is blisteringly hot and sunny. This kind of weather applies to Bangkok, Chiang Mai as well as Angkor Wat. 
It's better to use an umbrella instead of a raincoat in town, as in a hot and humid climate, any type of coat will make you uncomfortably sweaty.
At Angkor, you may well face heavy rain most days, as July is the peak of the rainy season. As those temples are open to the elements and there’s little shelter, take a plastic raincoat in your daypack when visiting those ancient sites in the afternoon. You need to keep your hands free as the dirt tracks tend to be slippery. Also bring a pair of flip-flops that you can change into if it floods and dress in knee-length shorts. If you face stormy weather while in Angkor, hire a car for sightseeing instead of a moto.
These are, of course, generalisations and with the climate becoming more and more unpredictable, no one can guarantee the weather. There might be thunderstorms, but they are not very fierce and wouldn't last too long
The good thing about travelling in July is that there are fewer tourists and hotel prices are lower, meaning you will enjoy good accommodation at reasonable prices all over the country. This low-season deal could be a plus if you are inconvenienced by the rain. Have fun!
I will be bringing my wife and two kids aged four and seven to Thailand at the end of May and our plan is to spend time in the national parks in central Thailand. I’m thinking about a trip from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, and then onwards to Khao Yai National Park with a visit to Ayutthaya before returning to Bangkok. What you do think of this route? I’m open to any other suggestions you may have. Thank you, Ricardo
If you are in Kanchanaburi, you will need to travel more than 400 kilometres to reach Khao Yai so my advice would be to go for a national park in the west. Khao Yai National Park is a wonderful place and a Unesco World Heritage Site but with small children, the journey might not be fun. You don't mention how long you plan to spend in Thailand so I’ll limit myself to offering more information on Kanchanaburi, which offers endless choices for nature lovers like you. 
Kanchanaburi is not a small town, but a large province in the western part of Thailand. It has nine national parks and more than 10 waterfalls, plus elephant camps, reservoirs and lakes, scenic rivers and many historical sites.
The main destinations are the Bridge over the River Kwai, the World War II cemetery, Tiger Temple, Hellfire Pass, Erawan National Park, Sai Yok waterfall and Khao Laem National Park. It's also interesting to travel to remote districts of Kanchanaburi like Thong Pha Phum and Sangkha Buri, which are home to the Mon people.
The popular beach destinations of Cha-am and Hua Hin are only 200 kilometres away, and local tour operators can offer you a transfer service if you don't want to use public transport. You can then return to Bangkok, and make a day trip to Ayutthaya from there. Have a great holiday.