Best Time to Visit Phuket by month, weather, activities, and culture
By: John T, March 30, 2022
As locals, we have spent well over 20 years learning and understand this sweet beach paradise called Phuket. Many travelers around the world who have spent their time here know that this tropical island still experiences some seasonal differences throughout the year. To make your Phuket holiday vacation planning as smooth as possible, here are some tips categorized by topic for you.
- Best time to visit Phuket to avoid Rain and get the best Temperature
- Best time to visit Phuket for sunbathing and beach activities + local tips
- Best time to visit Phuket for scuba diving, free diving, and snorkeling + local tips
- Best time to visit Phuket for surfing
- Best time to visit Phuket for Songkran Water Festival - Thailand's largest water party
- Best time to visit Phuket for Vegetarian Festival - experiental local gastronomy & culture
Best months to visit Phuket - by weather, rain, and temperature
The following table has been summarized for our readers. In general, you can be comforted in knowing that Phuket's temperature remains constant through out the year - a true tropical destination. As is also true to nature of a tropical island, Phuket experiences its seasonality of sun and rain. During the months of higher rainfall, sunny days are readily available but unpredictable.
The best time to visit Phuket for Beach and Sunbathing activities
If you are looking for clear blue skys, little rain, and calm oceans, then December, January, February, and March are the best 4 months of the year for you. During this time, rainfall is it ats minimum allowing locals and tourists alike to lounge out for whole days with their friends and families. Those visiting during this time are advised for high volumes of tourist who often flock the public beaches.
Local Tip: If you are looking for alternatives to crowded hectic beaches like Patong Beach, we recommend checking out Karon Beach instead - the world famous beach in Phuket perfect for activities, relaxation, and sunbathing.
Those looking for more privacy, we recommend a private beach resort.
The best time for Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Freediving, and liveaboard in Phuket
When it comes to diving to watch marine animals and corals, there is no better time than to visit Phuket than during November to April.
During this November to April, the weather is warm and the oceans easy to swim. The best diving sites around Phuket for this time of the year are the Similan, Surin, and Phi Phi islands as the wind now comes from the east, hitting Malaysia first before Phuket. More pleasant waves encourage more tours to organize trips to these islands. In addition, cold water (never colder than 25 degrees Celsius) usually swell up during these months, and this attracts manta rays and whale sharks to visit Phuket.
During May to October, the most common diving sites around Phuket are Racha Noi, Racha Yai, and Phi Phi islands.
Local tip: For those looking for onshore Phuket diving sites without the hassle of travelling to surrounding islands, the best place would be at Nakalay Beach. This private beach is a rare destination that contains the last unspoiled hidden coral reefs of Phuket.
The best time to Surf in Phuket Thailand
The best time to surf in Phuket is from May to October. Considered as the wettest time of year, don't be surprise to see some rainy days! in Phuket. The positives for rain is that you can easily catch good waves during these months AND you’ll enjoy less crowded beaches and discounted hotel rates.
If you do happen to visit Phuket during the calmer months of November through April, then fear not! You can still surf at inland surf places, for example Surf House in Kata and Patong, a facility that shoots continuous streams of waves for you to practice and enjoy surfing.
Other good alternatives to Surfing are Standup Paddle-Boarding (SUP), Sea Kayaking and Wakeboarding. Learn more about the compiled list of Top Phuket 20 adventure, island hopping, scuba diving, snorkel, and sport activities here!
The best time to visit Phuket for Songkran Water Festival
Did you know that every year during the middle of April, Thailand transforms into the biggest water street party - bringing the entire country to a halt for a week long holiday? That's right, this period is called the Songkran Water Festival, and you should be prepared for happy water splashing and festivities.
Songkran day is April 13th of every year, but the water festival occurs 3 to 4 days before and/or after that date depending on year. We recommending checking the government public holiday announcement for confirmed dates.
What is Songkran Water Festival?
Present Day: Imagine a water fight on a nice summer’s day, with buckets and guns full of water and a crossfire which will almost guarantee that anyone walking within 10 metres of it will get at least a little damp. Well, take that mental image and amplify it by several orders of magnitude and you have an idea of what a modern Songkran looks like. It’s not so much a water fight as a water war!
While the modern version may have lost a lot of its traditional charm, it makes up for that by being one hell of a water party! It is a lot of carefree fun, with tourists and locals alike getting in on the action, dousing complete strangers and wishing each other a happy new year.
Historical Importance & Meaning: Unlike December 31st, Songkran is the official day and traditional festival to celebrate Thailand's New Year. The word, Songkran, means to move / step forward. The celebration is meant to embrace love, compassion, goodwill, and thankfulness. How water came to play the part can be originated from the olden days when locals would collect water to pour over and cleanse Buddha statues. Thais would also bless village and family elders by trickling floral-fragrant waters over their elder's shoulders. Water is believed to be spiritually purifying as it cleanses the recipient of all bad luck and grievances from the previous year and blesses these recipients with good fortune and happiness for the new year ahead.
As Songkran is a public holiday lasting 4 to 6 days, most locals use the time to return to their hometowns for family reunion. To the western world, Songkran could be considered the blend of Thanksgiving and New Years celebration.
DO's during Songkran Water Festival for tourists
- In non-water party areas - we advise all tourists to ask permission before throwing water at someone because he/she may not wish to get wet.
- Throw water at each other in a friendly manner by using clean or scented water, and avoid the face
- Exchange Happy New Year greetings during water play
- Visit Folk performances and traditional games that celebrate the Songkran tradition.
- Common merit making activity - by releasing captive birds/fish to their natural habitat
- Common merit making activity - by donating food to monks at temples
DON'Ts during Songkran Water Festival for tourists
- Do not use dirty water, ice, and mixture of dangerous items such as paint, dye when throwing water as this may cause injuries to other people's eyes or other parts of their body.
- Do not throw water at people on motorcycles, bicycles, or cars as this may cause serious road accidents
- Do not modify PVC pump tubes as waterguns as the high water pressure can cause serious injuries to others.
- Do not perform lewd and inappropriate acts such as throwing water or applying powder paste on others' face and body, Physical contacts and touching are unacceptable.
- Do not over consume alcohol and especially do not drink and drive. Many fatal road accidents happen every year during this time of the year.
Local Tip on choosing where to stay in Phuket during Songkran: If you find Songkran to be a little overwhelming, we recommend staying at a different beach from Patong Beach, where most of the water party happens. The best way to enjoy this festival is to be slightly removed from the main action. Whether you want to participate or not, we recommend Karon Beach as the overall choice. Karon beach's town area, where mild Songkran is likely to happen, is only at the two ends of the long-stretch of sand, so you can easily choose your participation by walking in or out. In addition, Karon Beach is adjacent to Patong Beach so an easy 5-10 minute drive will get you to the main action.
The best time to visit Phuket for Vegetarian Festival
The Vegetarian Festival is a unique festival that is oddly more extreme in Phuket than any other parts of Thailand. To the ordinary tourist, Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a week long festival near the end of September and the beginning of October mostly recognizeable by its:
- Colorful parades & fireworks
- Complete island Thai-food transformation to vegetarian food
- Extreme display of worship from devotees
In short, the origins of Phuket Vegetarian has evolved from the Chinese 9th lunar month tradition of abstinence from meat and various stimulants to obtain good health and peace of mind. Starting in 1800, devoted local participants would go in local parade self-inflicting body torture to shift evil spirits onto themselves and bring luck to the local community. We do not recommend joining the parade for the faint of heart, however, we recommend all tourists to partake in the local food transformation of into Vegetarian dishes.
The main stage for the festival with hundreds of vegetarian food stalls are at Jui Tui Shrine Temple in Phuket Town, but tourists can visit any Chinese Temples around Phuket for a smaller scale celebration.
The types of Vegetarian food you will find that follows the tradition's guidelines:
Hundreds of years of celebrations have created many vegetarian dish interpretations that taste highly similar to normal dishes. Beans, tofu, and vegetables are expertly used to make classic Thai and other dishes, like sushi, burgers, etc.
- No meat, and no harming of animals.
- No milk, butter, and oils from animals.
- No too extreme flavored e.g. not too spicy, sweet, sour, and salty.
- No vegetables with strong smells such as garlic, onion, and tobacco leaves
- No alcohol and all kinds of liquor
Correspondingly, these are some of the local Thai vegetarian dishes to look out for (Source from Phuket101):
- Mee Pad Jay (หมี่ผัดเจ) - flat rice / round egg noodles with kale
- Por Pia Tod Jay (ปอเปี๊ยะทอดเจ) - Deep fried spring rolls
- Yum Jay (ยำเจ) - Vegetarian spicy salad
- Yen Ta Fo (เย็นตาโฟเ) - pink-coloured noodle soup served in seasoned & fermented red bean curd broth
- Khao Mok Kai (ข้าวหมกไก่เจ) - A tofu dish that looks like chicken rice
- Khanom Jeen Jay (ขนมจีนเจ) - thin cold rice noodles served with curry sauce and with tofu and mushrooms.
- Jee Jo (จีโจ้) - a famous Phuket snack
- Tao Hu Song Kruang (เต้าหู้ทรงเครื่อ) - steamed tofu sauteed in thick Chinese sauce with baby corns and carrots
- Look Chin Sarai Tod (ลูกชิ้นสาหร่ายทอด) - Deep fried crispy seaweed balls with sweet sauce
Behaviors that Thais follow during the festival (in case you want to particpate with the culture):
- Wear white clothes during the entire festival period
- Do not consume meat, any products from animals, foods with strong smell, and alcohol
- Keep your body clean
- Do not lie, cheat or steal
- No sexual activity during the festival
- Keep and wash cooking utensils separately from those used in the event
- Mourners and woman in menstruation and pregnancy should not attend the festival
AboutTHAVORN PALM BEACH RESORT
Karon Beach, Phuket Thailand
Thavorn Palm Beach Resort is an award-winning Phuket beachfront resort. This unique destination provides tasteful upscale accommodation, direct beachfront access to Karon Beach, Giant Water Slides, 7 unique dining restaurants & cafes, onsite beachfront mini petting zoo, and a 12-acre botanical rainforest garden.