The temperatures are hot throughout the country in Thailand, although not as stifling as they are during the hottest months of March and April. Daytime highs average around 90 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit with slightly lower temps on the southwestern coast and northern mountains. Lows average about 75 to 77 degrees, meaning that even in the middle of the night it's still pretty warm.
The rainiest part of the country is up north where cities like Chiang Mai average 21 rainy days throughout the course of the month—the rainiest month of the year there. The beaches along the Kra Isthmus are comparably wet too with the west coast receiving slightly less precipitation overall. Bangkok and the central region is the driest area with roughly 15 rainy days in August.
Rainstorms can get intense with thunder and lightning and the potential to flood roads or, in extreme scenarios, even prompt evacuations. That said, it typically doesn't last long, even on the rainiest days, and it's usually limited to afternoons and evenings. Even with the heavy downpours, there are lots of times where you'd barely know it was the wet season.
Crowds and Costs
Even with the precipitation, August can be one of the best times to visit Thailand if you're someone who doesn't hate the rain. The costs are low and the crowds are almost non-existent, at least in the north and along the coasts. Bangkok still gets lines at the major tourist attractions such as the Grand Palace, but by and large, it's less cramped with shorter wait times overall.
Hotels offer great off-season rates, sometimes cutting room prices by up to 50%, and there are often deals to be found on activities, too. Additionally, when you join tours, you'll have smaller groups, providing more time to ask your guide questions and go at a slower pace.
Where to Go
One of the best tourist spots in Thailand during August is Bangkok. The capital city, which relies heavily on things like museums, temples, food, and nightlife, is less affected by the rainy weather. Most of the fun things to do are done indoors so you won't notice the rain as much. Plus, the air is often less smoggy during the rainy season, making the city more pleasurable overall.
Another great place to head is the southern peninsula, providing you check there isn't flooding or closed roads. The coasts will be wet but the heavy downpours are generally limited to the afternoons. Mornings are often hot and sunny, making them a great time for lounging on the beach with hardly any crowds. The big luxury hotels offer rooms at discounted rates so you can stay in fancy resorts for a fraction of the high-season costs. Plus, there are plenty of indoor activities such as temples, spas, cooking schools.
The northern region can be great too, depending on your personality type and what kinds of vacation you're looking for. There's no question that it's wet up there—wetter than any other time of the year. But this also makes it lush and beautiful with fresh foliage everywhere. Best of all, you'll have it virtually to yourself. If you love nature and don't mind the dampness, it's a great time to grab a good rain jacket and explore without the crowds. Like with the coast, be sure to check local conditions ahead of time.
What to Do
In Bangkok, Wat Pho (the "Temple of the Reclining Buddha") offers a glimpse into local religious traditions and history. The stretched-out Buddha towers 50 feet high and 150 feet long, symbolizing the holy figure's entrance into Nirvana. The Grand Palace, another major tourist site, is where former Thai kings lived for centuries. If you'd rather check out the food scene, try the Thonglor or Sathorn districts where there will be new and chic restaurants and bars.
If you head to the southern coasts, check out Phang Nga Bay near Phuket along the Andaman coast, or take a tour of Phi Phi Island. If you don't have the energy to put your own itinerary together, try this 5-day "A Taste Of Southern Thailand" trip which includes touring the fishing village of Ban Samchong and relaxing on the beaches of Khao Lak.
On the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand, check out Ko Samui and Hua Hin which both offer first-class snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and sea kayaking. If the rain rolls in, treat yourself to a massage at one of the luxurious day spas or try a cooking class somewhere like the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA) or the Koh Samui Smiley Cook.
If you brave the northern region, visit the Elephant Valley Thailand sanctuary in Chiang Rai or trek to the Doi Suthep temple for beautiful views of Chiang Mai. Head over to Pai where you can soak in the Tha Pai Hot Springs or walk though the Ban Santichon Chinese Village.
Events in August
Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday: Similarly to the King's Birthday Celebration in July, the queen also gets a public holiday in Thailand where locals celebrate the queen while also honoring Mother's Day. The holiday, which falls on Aug.12, celebrates Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the former queen consort of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and mother of the current leader, King Vajiralongkorn.
Traveling to Thailand in August? Check out this great itinerary
Ultimate Highlights of Thailand – 10 Days. Designed to offer participants a little bit of everything, this versatile itinerary includes trips to many of the key regions listed above including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui. Highlights include a food and culture tour in Bang Rak, a scenic trip to the Angthong Marine Park, and an adventure at the Patara Elephant Farm.