Just looking at pictures of Thailand is enough to make you want to hop on a plane. The Asian nation boasts dramatic coastlines, pristine waters and seaside towns that cater to Western tourists. All of these features have made Thailand a popular vacation destination with a big added bonus: It is generally low cost to travel to Thailand.
Although budget Thailand travel is feasible any time of the year, traveling during the low season when there are fewer tourists around can help you save even more money, especially on flights and lodging. Since those are often the biggest expenses in Southeast Asia travel, visiting Thailand during off-peak times can save you loads of money or allow you to stretch your vacation budget in order to stay for longer than you could during peak travel times.
Thailand's Low Season
Most vacation destinations have times of year that are busier than others. During those times there is more demand for flights and accommodations, so the price goes up. On the other hand, during the quietest travel times companies are looking to fill seats on planes and beds in hotels, so they often offer bargain pricing.
Thailand is a tropical nation, where it's generally warm year round. However, there is a dry season and a rainy season. The rainy season can bring wind, floods and downpours. Since most people come to Thailand to soak up the sun, the rainy season has the fewest tourists and is the cheapest time of year to travel to Thailand.
Cheapest Months to Travel
In Thailand, the rainy season lasts from May until October. During this time, it's common to have heavy rains for hours each afternoon, which often leads to flooding. With all that moisture comes intense humidity – around 90 percent, which some travelers find unbearable. Because many people choose to stay away during the rainy season, it's easy to plan budget Thailand travel during this time.
However, it's important to note that within Thailand, different destinations have different low seasons. Because of this, it may be possible to find low cost Thailand travel during your preferred time by switching your destination. For example, the resort island of Ko Samui experiences its lowest (and cheapest) season in October, November and December, while another popular resort island, Phuket, is cheapest during the late summer months.
Balancing Your Budget and Experience
While saving money on travel is great, you also want to enjoy your trip. Traveling during the worst weather can mean lots of rain, humidity and rough seas, which might prevent you from doing the activities that brought you to Thailand in the first place. In order to balance savings and experience, some travelers opt to visit Thailand during the so-called "shoulder season." This is the beginning of the low season when the weather is less dramatic, and prices are still lower than their peak. February through June, September and October offer moderate pricing and decent weather.
Kelly Burch is a freelance journalist living in New Hampshire. Her writing on educational issues has appeared on Bright, The Washington Post, We Are Teachers and School Leaders Now.