Thailand weather in May

Wondering about the weather in Thailand in May? Read on for a run-down of everything you need to know. Here we cover everything from average air and sea temperatures, to what to expect in terms of costs and crowds, and what to wear. In addition, we share inspirational itinerary suggestions that’ll help you make the most of your trip.

Is May a good time to visit Thailand?

May can be a challenging time to visit Thailand. While the weather remains relatively pleasant in the north of Thailand, with warm temperatures and occasional rain, the rest of the country can already hear the echoes of the coming monsoon season. 

The southern and central parts of Thailand can be very hot and humid, with temperatures peaking at times, so if you're not a fan of extreme heat, it's worth considering visiting Thailand at a different time.

Despite the challenging weather in Thailand in May, this month can offer more budget travel options due to fewer tourists.

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Farmers farming on rice terraces in Thailand © thirawatana phaisalratana/Shutterstock

Farmers farming on rice terraces in Thailand ©Shutterstock

Air & sea temperatures in Thailand in May

The weather in Thailand in May is characterised by fluctuating air and sea temperatures throughout the country:

May air temperatures in Thailand

  • Northern Thailand: Daytime temperatures of 30°C to 35°C (86°F-95°F) are expected, making it warm and ideal for outdoor activities.
  • Central Thailand: Temperatures typically range from 30°C to 36°C (86-97°F), providing warm and sometimes hot weather.
  • Southern Thailand: In this region, daytime temperatures range from 31°C to 34°C (88°F to 93°F), creating a tropical and warm climate.

May sea temperatures in Thailand

  • Andaman Sea: Sea temperatures range from about 29°C to 31°C (84°F to 88°F).
  • Gulf of Thailand: Sea temperature is around 29-30°C (84-86°F).

Ready to embark on a Thailand adventure? Explore our Thailand itineraries for a travel inspiration boost.

Can it rain in Thailand in May?

May marks the beginning of the rainy or monsoon season in parts of Thailand. Although the weather in Thailand in May is still pleasant and sunny in many areas, you should be prepared for possible rain and thunderstorms, especially in the central and southern areas.

The intensity and frequency of rainfall can vary depending on the area, but usually, showers occur in the afternoon or evening. The northern and northeastern parts of Thailand tend to receive significantly less rainfall at this time than the central and southern areas.

Travellers should be prepared for the possibility of rain and bring waterproof gear, especially if they plan to explore areas where wet weather is more common. Despite the rains, May can be a great time to visit Thailand as there are fewer tourists and the lush scenery is particularly beautiful.

The world’s most fascinating streets: Khao San road in Bangkok, Thailand.

Khao San road in Bangkok, Thailand @ Shutterstock

What about the crowd & cost?

May in Thailand sees a decrease in tourists compared to the peak season, making it a less crowded time to visit. Due to the onset of the rainy or monsoon season in some regions, many tourists prefer to avoid travelling during this period. This results in fewer tourists at popular tourist sites, beaches and accommodation.

In terms of costs, accommodation, sightseeing and transport prices may be more reasonable in May compared to the high season, allowing you to save money on your trip. 

However, be aware that some popular tourist destinations, especially in the northern and northeastern regions, may see an increase in local and domestic tourism during the Thai holiday period. Therefore, while the overall cost of travel may be lower, it is advisable to book accommodation and activities in advance, especially if you plan to travel during local holidays.

What to wear in Thailand in May?

May in Thailand marks the beginning of the wet season, but the weather in Thailand in May is still warm and humid so it is important to dress appropriately. Choose lightweight, breathable clothing such as cotton or linen shirts, dresses and shorts, and don't forget swimwear if you're going to the beach or pool. 

A compact mackintosh or poncho is advisable in case of rare rains. Protect yourself from the sun with sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen with a high SPF. If you plan to visit religious sites, carry a cape to cover your shoulders and knees. 

Due to the increased activity of mosquitoes, especially in the evenings, you should use insect repellent. In general, remember to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen and choose your clothing according to your activity and location in Thailand.

The Great Holy Relics Pagoda Nabhapolbhumisiri, Chiang Mai, Thailand © Shutterstock

The Great Holy Relics Pagoda Nabhapolbhumisiri, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Unforgettable and fully customisable Thailand itineraries

Our tailor-made trip service allows you to fully enjoy the weather in Thailand in May without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local Thailand travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

  • Krabi Beach Escape (5 days): Stretching along Thailand’s spectacular Andaman Coastline, bordered by striking limestone karsts and providing visitors with a relaxing getaway in Krabi. Soft-sand beaches and inviting turquoise waters await, as well as rainforest excursions and boat trips to iconic Ko Phi Phi.
  • Best of Thailand with Phuket (10 days): Discover Thailand's busy capital Bangkok with its unique markets and temples before heading north to Chiang Mai - the cultural centre of Thailand offers authentic family experiences as well as elephants up close.
  • Thailand exploration with nature and beach (8 days): Dreaming of a trip that allows you to spend time in the jungle and on the beach? You can do both on this 8-day Thailand exploration trip! From Bangkok head down south by overnight train, to explore the jungle in Khao Sok and the stunning beaches in Krabi.
  • Or discover more Thailand itineraries.
Long tail boat on tropical beach with limestone rock, Krabi, Thailand © Shutterstock

Krabi, Thailand @ Shutterstock

What to do in Thailand in May

While going on a trip, one must consider the weather in Thailand in May and the nuances that this month brings. You may also be interested in our list of the best things to do in Thailand at any time of year.

Visakha Bucha Festival

Immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere of Thailand during Visakha Bucha, a Buddhist festival celebrated with great enthusiasm. Witness serene candlelight processions at temples that create a magical and spiritual atmosphere. This festival provides an insight into Thailand's deep religious traditions and cultural richness, making it a unique and educational experience.

Kayak in Khao Sok National Park

Embark on a serene kayaking adventure on the enchanting Chow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park. Paddle among towering limestone karsts and dense rainforests, savouring the tranquillity and natural beauty of this pristine body of water. 

Elephant encounters

Take part in elephant ethical and conservation activities in Chiang Mai and Phuket. Interact with these gentle giants in responsible sanctuaries and on guided tours. Feed, bathe and learn about Asian elephants while contributing to their well-being. Learn about Thailand's rich history and appreciate wildlife conservation in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Witness the Khon Thai Masked Dance

Immerse yourself in Thailand's cultural heritage with a Khon dance performance. This traditional art form combines elaborate masks, ornate costumes and graceful choreography depicting ancient epics and fairy tales. You'll see skilful performers bring these stories to life, providing a glimpse into Thailand's rich cultural traditions.
 

Elephants in Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

Elephants in Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

Planning your May trip to Thailand

For more inspiration, discover some of the best things to do in Thailand.

Daunted by the prospect of planning? No problem! Browse our customisable Thailand itineraries, and talk to our local Thailand travel experts.

Visit Thailand in other months

Olga Sitnitsa

written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 29.12.2023

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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