Rainy season is my favorite time of year in Thailand. Without a doubt. I love the fresh air that washes the smell of diesel away. The sound of the droplets hitting the metal roofs. The downpours that come charging out of nowhere, and then disappear as quickly as they came.
During the months of July through October, mainland Thailand is privy to rainy season, also known as monsoon season.
Considered to be low season – although this is when the bulk of Americans travel thanks to our antiquated leave system and schools being out of session — prices tend to dip a little, making it the perfect time to head to this gorgeous part of the world.
Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s humid. No, it doesn’t get chilly at night. Unless you are wearing soaking wet clothes. And, even then, it is more of sticky wet than chilly wet.
Expect the days to be mostly overcast, although the sun does show its bright little face every now and then. And, expect bursts of rain showers that don’t last long enough to ruin your plans … just make them damp.
What to pack for rainy season in Thailand?
Rainy Season Essentials
Seriously. You’d be surprised how quickly you go from upright to on your ass. Slick surfaces like tiling in front of shops to even the white of the cross walks, make for easy falls. I’m adverse to Crocs. These light-weight rubber shoes not only can look good (for real!), but also have excellent tread so you won’t bite it when the raindrops fall. Rainy season in Thailand has the ability to go from fun and frolicking to painful in a split second!
Sure, you can wear close-toed shoes, but there’s nothing grosser than wading through ankle-deep water in shoes and socks. So, skip the sneakers and flips and opt for shoes that are water-friendly and can stay put on your feet. And keep your ass from meeting the sidewalk.
A rain coat
Water-resistant rain coats are another essential when in spending hanging out during rainy season in Thailand. The longer, the better — especially if you are renting a motorbike.
There’s also the option of a poncho. Purchased for cheap at a 7-11 (and there are no shortage of those in Thailand), these can keep you protected in a pinch.
Forget about simply keeping you dry when the rains move in, but they also keep your legs protected (mostly) from the splash of cars, buses, tuk tuks and motorbikes that drive past.
These keep you cool, and keep your legs protected from getting super wet when said splash from cars, et. al gets you. Forget jeans. Forget cotton. You want something breathable, something to keep your legs from getting splashed, the mosquitoes from feasting, and something that is quick-dry. Get a pair (or more) of linen pants. Easy to roll, they only take a little bit of space in your suitcase and are worth every penny during rainy season in Thailand.
A moisture-wicking shirt
Let’s face it. You are going to get wet. It’s best to bring a moisture-wicking shirt not only to keep you from being soaked and uncomfortable, but also from sitting in something soaking.
Forget summer whites. Opt for dark clothing so you’re not doing a show-all in this conservative culture. Also, please skip the barely there T-shirts and shorts. Unless you are on a beach, it is never appropriate to wear a bathing suit as clothing in public.
OK, if you don’t pack one, get one on the ground. If you’re staying at a hotel in Thailand (or any hotel in Thailand, really) chances are they have an umbrella you can borrow.
Waterproof bags or Ziploc bags
You never know when rain will strike, so it’s important to keep some waterproof bags with you to protect all of that technology you are carting around.
Even though it’s rainy, you’re still exposed to UV rays. Protect your skin.
If you’re planning on renting a bicycle or motorbike, be sure to bring something to keep that rain from hitting your eyeballs. If you’ve got a helmet, upgrade it to one with a visor so you can actually see when you are driving in the rain. Also — be advised — drivers can be a little more bananas on the islands than in some of the other areas. Because they are islands, often times foreigners with no motor bike experience rent them and get into crashes. You’ve been warned.
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