While Phuket maintains itself to be an all year round vacation resort destination for many, visitors might choose to visit the island paradise during different periods of the year depending on their holidaying needs and wants. Hence, we’ve compiled a guide based on Phuket’s seasonal patterns and trends, for tourists to plan their schedules and activities in advance and to maximise their holiday among Phuket’s many wonders! Read on to find out the best time to visit Phuket.
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December – February: Touristy paradise, Phuket's peak holiday season!
Undoubtedly the most popular period for tourists, the cool Northeast Monsoon season stretching from December to March offers visitors plenty of sunshine, with calm breezes, at a very comfortable 24 to 32 degrees Celsius. The humidity is also relatively low during this phase as the landscape of Phuket transforms into its picturesque postcard photos; typically with tourists enjoying a tan, under palm trees, on white sandy beaches while tranquil blue waters glisten on balmy afternoons.
Besides spending an entire day lazing on the beach to get that sun-kissed tan, tourists can also engage in various water sports activities, ranging from diving or snorkelling to windsurfing amongst many more! Furthermore, with clear skies and awesome weather, Phuket attracts tons of nature lovers who can enjoy the island’s lush green forests by trekking through safaris on the backs of elephants or climb to the top of one of the city’s viewpoints to embrace the magnificent sun setting over the Andaman Sea.
However, as previously mentioned, because there are swarms of holidaymakers making their way to Phuket for vacations during this period, there are also several downsides to this season. As the economy of Phuket relies heavily on tourism, the touristy season represents the island’s best chance of generating income, thus, hotels, restaurants and bars will take full advantage of this opportunity to hike their prices. In addition, the prices of air tickets into Phuket International Airport will also rise. However, as it is the holiday season, this is not a surprise as the prices normally rise for flights to other destinations as well. One main concern many tourists would have is the problem of overcrowded tourist attractions, as Phuket is a rather small island. Thus, while the popular stretch of Patong Beach might be a tad congested, there’s no denying that the mixture of tourists and locals adds to the liveliness and festivities of streets such as Bangla Road. Conversely, visitors who crave a little more privacy might consider checking into a hotel or resort with private beaches to avoid the crowds. However, tourists should be warned that since this is the peak period, prices will also come at a premium.
March – May: Festivals galore, soak in Phuket's local festivities!
With temperatures soaring from 28 degrees Celsius to a high of 36 degrees Celsius, the period between April and May characterizes the hottest time frame of the entire year on Phuket Island. Though famous for its summer sun, there will be welcomed occasional showers in the region, as the heat during this period might be uncomfortably hot and sticky for many tourists. These months coincides with holidays for the local children as many flock out of the island to escape the heat while others hit the streets and shopping centres to take back their city. The Jungceylon Mall, Phuket’s premier leisure destination, is filled with both international and domestic brands for locals and tourists alike to shop to their hearts’ content. As the island’s largest sheltered mall, Jungceylon also offers various indoor activities, such as bowling, the latest movies and karaoke, for visitors to escape the sweltering heat.
Nonetheless, casting the searing temperatures aside, April, in particular, is celebrated for its various colourful festivals. The Thai New Year, locally known as Songkran Festival, which celebrates the beginning of each solar calendar, occurs typically in this month. Traditionally, this occasion marked the time of the year when the rice harvest was in. However, as customs and practices begun to evolve over time, Songkran is renowned for its unique activities nowadays; the splashing of water on everyone and anyone on the streets. It’s unclear where the tradition began, but tourists should note that they will not be spared! It’s all in the name of fun as everyone outdoors, including policemen, WILL GET SPLASHED at some point. Thus, we would recommend that tourists join in the fun and mix with the locals and embrace Thai culture. However, it is also advisable to keep your valuables in waterproof pouches and not that expensive branded dress because chances are… everything will be drenched.
Another festival tourists can enjoy in April would be the flamboyant Phuket Gay Pride and Festival traditionally held on Patong Beach. Dressed in fancy, colourful and ostentatious costumes, the performers are sure to wow audiences, gay or straight, young or old, local or foreign, with their visually stunning and artistically choreographed displays.
June - August: Perfect haven in Phuket for peace and serenity!
Succeeding the hottest periods from March to May, the months of June to August are much cooler with temperatures dipping to a mild range between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius, with occasional heavy downpours but not to dampen the mood of a holiday during this time frame. These months are characterised by a relative drop in the number of tourists as the pace of life returns to a slow and steady one. A particular benefit of the off season would be the slashing of prices from air tickets to hotels and restaurants as many businesses provide promotions and discounts during this period to attract visitors and customers.
Despite the lack of happenings and events, tourists can still take advantage of the attractive prices to engage in several relaxing activities. Private luxurious yacht tours can be booked at various hotels and agencies at a fraction of its peak-season price as visitors can enjoy the attractions of Phuket’s nearby islands, such as Phang Nga Bay, one of the most scenic sights in the world. For other tourists craving an adrenaline rush, outdoor activities such as sea-canoeing and snorkelling to enjoy Phuket’s natural underwater reefs, or water skiing and surfing to take advantage of the waves, can still be arranged, weather permitting. Visitors who prefer a slower pace of life can spend the day fishing out in the open seas as the catch is relatively good during this time of the year, or take the golf clubs for an afternoon swing at some of the fairest greens on the island.
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September – November: Don't get washed out, embark on a cultural journey in Phuket!
The wettest season in Phuket are the months stretching from September to November as torrential rain will hit the tropical island, though it is rare for it to pour for consecutive days at a time. With that being said, tourists are still guaranteed that the skies won’t be gloomy all day long with windows of sunshine in between showers for visitors to still enjoy a decent day out at the beaches. Similar to the period preceding this season, prices are marked down as the throngs of tourists have yet to return to Phuket.
As the weather can be unpredictable, it is advisable to organise some wet weather plans in case of rainy emergencies. Jungceylon, as previously mentioned, can be a good alternative to spend your afternoon should the beach plans fail, while Central Festival, another shopping mall, also offers a viable substitute for more shopping! The Phuket Aquarium and Trick Eye Museum allow visitors the conventional “touristy experience”. However, for those looking to embrace Phuket’s rich culture and heritage, the Old Phuket Town and its several museums, such as Thalang Museum and Tin Mining Museum, are worth a visit to enjoy the island’s interesting past.
To cap things off for this segment, the Loi Krathong Festival is celebrated yearly during the month of November on the evening of the 12th lunar month. We guarantee that tourists, witnessing this festival for the first time, will be mesmerised as the island transforms into a place of mystic and magical wonders, straight out of a set from Hollywood. Visitors can partake in this festival by buying a “Krathong”, a miniature makeshift floating basket decorated with flowers and candles, and setting it out to sea in the evening in the presence of a full moon. Legend states that if your “Krathong” floats further out to sea, you will be blessed with good fortune for the upcoming year, whereas, if it comes back to shore, it’ll be the opposite. Nevertheless, even those who don’t believe in this superstition can enjoy the enchanting sights of hundreds of “Krathongs” lighting up the horizons of the sea accompanied by thousands of brightly lit lanterns floating up above your head as far as the eyes can see, truly a sight to behold.
Always a good time to visit Phuket!
We sincerely hope that tourists will find this guide useful when planning their schedules, activities and holidays to the amazing island of Phuket! We are positive that no matter which period tourists choose to visit, travelers will have a truly memorable and enjoyable experience!
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