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Thailand has a rather uniform climate across its tropical geography. Weather varies by regions, but temperature, rainfall, and humidity don't vary all that much in the scheme of things, right?


Climate & Geography Of Thailand


"When people are asked to think of tropical countries, it's Caribbean beachcomber locales like Jamaica or Bermuda which pop into their heads first.  Few give Thailand the tropical and humidity cred it deserves."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic


Back in the West, when you're bored, you talk about the weather.  "Looks like a bit of rain," you'll say to a distant acquaintance -- it can't be a friend.  A friend you'd have something more interesting to talk about than the weather.  He responds, "Yeah, but the sun should come out later in the afternoon."   "Hope so," you say in turn.  Depending upon the weather variations that time of year, the conversation can last for up to ten exchanges.  Thais studying English conversation learn about these meaningless weather conversations early on in their lesson plans. 

In Thailand, talking about the weather is boring.  You won't get more than two sentences mileage out of a conversation unless a travesty like a monsoon or tsunami has recently hit.  Then, you can talk about those topics for weeks. Most of the time, Thailand's weather doesn't vary all that much.

Thailand is in the tropics.  Heat and humidity are the name of the game down here.  Contrary to popular North American ignoramus beliefs, you don't have to be on the Caymans, Cuba, or a South Pacific island to bask in the tropics.  From Thailand's southern tip to the equator is only 350 miles (560 km).  You know you're in the tropics from the choice of tropical fruits available, many of which you wouldn't have seen if you haven't been to this part of the world before.  Mangosteens, rambutans, longans, lychees, passion fruits, starfruits, durians, mangoes, are available in abundance.  Thailand is the world's largest producer of pineapple. 

As a general rule, Thailand has three seasons, best thought of as three variations of summer.  From November to February, with a transitionary period in March, there is the cool season, more like a coolish summer.   April and May are the hot season.  Think of an immensely hot and humid summer.   From June to October is the rainy season, comparable to a rainy, humid summer you'd have back home.   It is rare, however, for rains in Thailand to last long.   In Hua Hin, it rarely rains for more than 20 minutes at a time, elsewhere for more than a couple of hours. 

tropical fruits 

You know you're in the tropics when you're surrounded by these strange-looking things

Climate does vary by location, but not by as much as comparing, say, Miami to New York City.   Below are a comparison of average temperatures, rainfall, and humidity for three places in Thailand:  Chiang Mai (north), Bangkok (central), and Phuket (south):

January Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 26.5 9 72
Chiang Mai 21.3 6.9 73
Phuket 27.6 30 76
February Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 28 30 75
Chiang Mai 23.5 4.6 65
Phuket 28.3 21 75
March Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 29.5 29 74
Chiang Mai 26.5 13 58
Phuket 28.9 49 77
April Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 30.5 65 75
Chiang Mai 29.5 50 61
Phuket 29.1 122 82
May Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 30 220 79
Chiang Mai 28.7 158 72
Phuket 28.3 319 84
June Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 29 149 80
Chiang Mai 28 132 78
Phuket 28 269 82
July Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 29 155 80
Chiang Mai 27.6 161 80
Phuket 27.7 291 82
August Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 29 197 81
Chiang Mai 27.7 236 83
Phuket 27.8 273 83
September Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 28.5 344 83
Chiang Mai 27.1 228 83
Phuket 27.3 400 85
October Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 28 242 83
Chiang Mai 26.5 122 82
Phuket 27.4 310 85
November Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 27.5 48 80
Chiang Mai 23.9 53 79
Phuket 27.4 176 83
December Temp (C) Rainfall (mm) Humidity (%)
Bangkok 26 10 74
Chiang Mai 21.6 20 77
Phuket 27.5 59 78

 
For most of the year, temperatures in all regions are almost uniform.  Humidity doesn't vary much either, though the north is the least humid region.  The big difference is rainfall.  Thailand's southern regions, which are bounded on both sides by seas, can receive double to triple the rainfall for a given month.  English forecasts for Thailand's weather can be found here.

Geography

Thailand has 75 provinces plus Bangkok, which is considered the seventy-sixth and province supreme.  Geographically, the country is divided into 6 different regions:  the North, the Northeast (Isaan), Central, East, West, and South.   The nation is located right in the middle of Southeast Asia and possesses a fertile floodplain that makes it an ideal place to grow rice, so good that it passed up the United States as the world's leading rice exporter in 1980, though it is now in danger of being passed up by Vietnam.  About a quarter of the country is arable land, a very high percentage.  These quality soils, however, are not spread equally throughout.  It's Central Thailand that's considered the rice bowl of Asia.  Isaan, where a third of the Thai population lives, has soils that could be described with obscenities.  In richer countries, like Singapore, with just 1.47% arable land, high tech specialization occurred to enable Singapore to make the moolah it required to import food.   Such high tech specialization hasn't taken off in Isaan.

Doi InthanonWestern and Northern Thailand can be mountainous, but not mountainous in the way you think of the Rocky Mountains or Alps.   The highest mountain in the country is Doi Inthanon near Chiang Mai, measuring in at 2,565 meters (8,464 feet).   That's high enough for a ski slope if tropical Thailand only got snow.   Mountains dot the border between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma).  That's probably a good thing.  If the land border between the two countries consisted of flat roads, nearly all of Myanmar would have illegally emigrated to Thailand by now.




 

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Voltaire Brown's Don't Travel Europe

  Thailand has a climate of champions. Its geography and weather vary across regions. Doug's Republic shows temperature, rainfall, humidity across Thailand's North, Northeast, West, South, and Central.