Samui Wining & Dining
SEASONS IN THE SUN
A brief look at Samui’s climate.

A brief look at Samui’s climate.It’s why you’ve come here. To enjoy hot, sunny days and swim in warm seas. And to get away from the grey skies back home. But when exactly is the best time to visit? And what should you pack?

          

Samui has probably some of the best weather in Thailand, it being neither unbearably hot nor too cold. It’s a tropical climate however, so that also includes rainfall, and during the rainy season there can be a lot of it. Temperatures all year typically vary only from 25°C to 33°C. So while in Bangkok and Chiang Mai visitors will be suffering 40°C weather during the hot season, it won’t reach such peaks here. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that the highest recorded temperature for Samui is 36.5°C.

          

Some foreigners jokingly refer to the three seasons of Thailand; yes, Thailand has only three seasons not four, and people speak of the ‘hot season, the even hotter season and the hot and wet season.’ Samui also has just 3 seasons, but since the region has something of a micro-climate, they can be more correctly called the dry season, the rainy season and the hot season.

          

So when is the best time to visit the island? The dry season is roughly from December until the end of February and during this time you may experience a few rain storms but these generally last for only an hour or two at the most, and then you’re back to enjoying the wonderful sunshine and the refreshed sense that the rain has brought. For those of you who enjoy swimming in the sea, the maritime conditions at this time are quite calm, with gentle breezes to cool things down on the beach. If you are worried about protection from the harmful rays of the sun, then this is a great time of the year to be on the beach. This doesn’t mean you should leave your sun protection at home, though; you will still need it along with a sunhat and sunglasses. Coming as it does during Christmas and the turn of the year, it’s also a great way to celebrate the festivities.

          

After the cool start to the year things start to heat up, quite literally, in March, with a rapid rise in temperatures. April and May are the hottest months on Samui, and if you’re not the kind the kind of person who tolerates the heat very well its best to postpone your visit until later in the year. It’s in April that Thai school children have their summer holidays.Head to Lamai and one of the island’s best dining experiences at Rocky’s Resort! It really is too hot for them to spend their days in sweltering, stuffy classrooms. So many Thais also take their holidays at this time of year.

          

It is generally dry most days during this period, with a few light afternoon showers, especially in May, to cool things off a little bit. But you can always take shelter under the eaves of the hotel pool-side bar, or sit it out in one of the many cafes dotted around the island. This is a great time of year to visit Samui, the calm waters are perfect for swimming and it’s just great time to laze on the beach with a good book. But, as always, you’re still going to need that sun protection.

          

Samui starts to wind down with the rainy season which is generally about four weeks long, and coincides with the month of November, though it can start early and finish late. It’s rarely that bad here, there have only been a few years that there was such torrential rain that the island was seriously flooded, and a lot of that was caused by poor road drainage, which has since been mostly rectified. Most years the rainy season means comfortable temperatures and a few days of continual rain season means comfortable temperatures and a few days of continual rain in a row. It may not be everyone’s choice to come at this time of year and if you truly want a break from miserable weather a home you may be lucky and have good weather. It’s a risk, but one that many people are willing to take as they enjoy the cheaper prices that the low season offers and the quieter streets. This time of year,Head to Lamai and one of the island’s best dining experiences at Rocky’s Resort! next to your sun protection, you’ll need to buy a plastic poncho that you can get from just about any convenience store. But it is something to bear in mind that one main attraction off the coast of Samui, The Angthong National Marine Park is closed each year between November and mid-December. It’s also not the best time to be out and about on a motorbike. Apart from poor visibility in the rain, once the skies have cleared, you’ll see that there are swathes of mud and sand in places on the roads, caused by run-off.

          

The rains during this time however are welcomed by the locals as a respite from the heat of the rest of the year. The whole island benefits from the showers. The flora and fauna thrive, wells fill up to the maximum, and the waterfalls come back to life. So this is a time for renewal as it were. The green of the island takes on an intensity of colour and freshness. And you never know what will happen. One year I was walking down the main street in Nathon during a flash flood, when a large fish went casually swimming by!

          

However, people on Samui say that over the last few years, they’ve been witnessing that the seasons are no longer quite so predictable. For example, recently, freakish rains flooded the island and neighbouring parts of the mainland. And this was at a time when it was supposed to be sunny and dry. Similarly, in 2002, there was virtually no rainy season at all – just endless sun.

          

But no matter, Samui is still one of the best climates to live in: an enormous amount of sunshine and – especially when you consider its tropical location – relatively few days of continuous cloud and rain. So when is the best time to visit? Well that’s up to you. But whenever you decide to come you’ll be guaranteed to have fun. In the sun or in the rain, Samui’s synonymous with pleasure.

          

Natalie Hughes


 


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