In the central plains and northern regions of Thailand, March is a moderately hot month with temperatures ranging from 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In the mountains around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, evening temperatures drop to about 66 degrees—often a refreshing change from the days which are hot and humid. There's virtually no rain anywhere and, with the exception of the southern peninsula, the entire country averages about two rainy days all month.
In the south, it's a tad bit wetter, but still by no means rainy. The monsoons haven't yet arrived and, especially on the east coast along the Gulf of Thailand, it's mostly dry. On the western side, Phuket and neighboring beaches get about six rainy days in March. All in all, it's mild precipitation with air temperatures hovering at a comfortable 75 to 91 degrees.
Crowds and Costs
Although the big cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai are always crowded, March is a month when the peak of the high season begins tapering off. There are still lines at the major tourist attractions and it's wise to book trips ahead of time but it's not as cramped as it is earlier in the year. The beaches especially begin thinning out and it's a great time to enjoy the coast with slightly smaller crowds.
Some hotels will still be charging high-season rates but some begin offering deals. Generally speaking, it's a time where prices are mixed and much of what you pay depends on where you go and what you do. It's nevertheless prudent to plan ahead and make reservations in advance where possible, especially for things that book up like tours and transportation.
Where to Go
March is a fantastic time to be in Bangkok. It's still busy but the crowds taper off slightly and it's not yet unbearably hot. It's a good time of year to wander through the city, explore the temples, or check out some of the hip bars and restaurants.
Down south, the beaches are great in March as well. They get a small amount of rain but it's usually negligible, especially during the fist half of the month. You'll find beautiful blue water with warm temperatures and pristine white beaches with fewer tourists. The resorts aren't quite as crowded but they still have all of their amenities open—plus, some begin offering discounted rates. Places like Ko Samui have the best weather but Phuket and other western towns can be pleasant, too.
Northern Thailand is a mixed bag this time of year. The weather is dry but daytime temperatures begin getting hot. Highs in Chiang Mai hit about 95 degrees with comparable temperatures around Pai and Mae Hong So. The farther north you go, the hotter it gets, so Chiang Rai can be uncomfortable at times.
Moreover, the "smoke season" begins in the north. During this time, farmers burn the sugar fields ahead of cutting them so the atmosphere gets extremely hazy. This is a time when pollution is high and wearing a mask is recommended. All that said, the conditions keep the crowds smaller so, given that it's still dry, this can actually be a draw.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Bangkok is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with world-class dining options. Check out the trendy restaurants in Thonglor and Sathorn, or try the famous street food in Chinatown. Take a sunset cruise on the Chao Phraya River or a bike tour along the waterfront. During the day, you can check out the tourist sites such as the Grand Palace in the Rattanakosin royal district, or the famous Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
At the southern beaches along the Kra Isthmus, take a swim in the turquoise waters or spend the afternoon sunbathing on the white sand beaches. It's a great place to spoil yourself with a luxurious massage or pamper yourself with an herbal spa treatment. Around Phuket, explore Phang Nga Bay or Phi Phi Island. Or, if you'd rather not hassle with the logistics, try this 5-day "A Taste Of Southern Thailand" tour.
If you decide to head up north, Chiang Mai boasts a famous Night Bazaar where you can shop for hand-crafted souvenirs or have a bowl of Khao Soi at one of the many food carts. Nimmanhaemin Road offers trendy restaurants and shopping opportunities while the Doi Suthep temple outside town provides a scenic escape with stunning views. About three hours northeast, the Elephant Valley Thailand sanctuary sits outside of Chiang Rai. There, you can watch rescued elephants roam freely, swim, and bathe. Sometimes, the organizers even let tourists feed them bananas or stalks of bamboo.
Events in March
Kite-Flying Festivals: March 1 officially kicks off kite-flying season in Thailand. The wind is strong this time of the year and there are festivals held throughout the country including in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other towns.
Bun Pha Wet Festival: In the northeastern province of Roi Et, locals hold a three-day festival in March called Bun Pha Wet which honors the return of Vetsandon, the previous incarnation of Buddha. There's a large parade with rice offerings, dancing, cultural performances, and lots of Khao Poon soup.
Turtle-Releasing Festival: Every March, folks in Phang Nga gather at Thai Muang Beach to watch the release of turtle hatchlings back into the sea. The young turtles, which are raised by the Fisheries Department, are part of a conservation program. In addition to the turtle release, there's a parade and numerous activities meant to raise awareness about the endangered creatures.
Traveling to Thailand in March? Check out this great itinerary
Thailand Authentic Grand Tour – 12 Days. This unique 12-day tour blends major tourist attractions with some lesser-known gems. Highlights including a midnight food tour by tuk-tuk through Bangkok, a floating market in Kanchanaburi, and a kayaking trip through Phang Nga Bay.