It’s often said that Thailand has two seasons – hot and dry, and hot and rainy. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that, but yeah… we can see how it might seem that way sometimes. When many people hear ‘the rainy season’ it sometimes puts a bad picture in their head – who wants to vacation when it’s rainy? But we’re here to tell you that not only is the rainy season a great time to visit Thailand, but in many ways it’s the best time to visit Thailand!
First of all, during the rainy season (roughly August-October) it usually only rains for a few hours at a time, most often in the afternoon. Bring an umbrella with you when heading out in the morning and build a bit of flexibility into your schedule and you’ll be fine. Second, the extra rain means that there’s never a better time to see Thailand in all its lush glory. During our first rainy season touring Thailand’s amazing countryside, we were unprepared for just how many shades of green there actually were in nature. But one of the best reasons to visit Thailand during the rainy season is because of the amazing white water rafting that’s available, especially in the northern part of the country. While the sport is often overshadowed by the gleaming beaches in the south and elephant/trekking/hill tribe village tours in the north, it’s well worth your while to think about making rafting a part of your trip.
Thailand’s mountainous north provides the perfect environment for battling rapids, which is especially true in the rainy months. All that water needs to go somewhere, and that somewhere is the Gulf of Thailand. Most rivers in this area eventually drain into the Chao Phraya River, which passes through Bangkok before emptying into the sea, but before it gets that far, it provides the perfect opportunity for some amazing water-borne adventures.
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Most rafting north of Bangkok takes place in the vicinity of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, Umphang, or Prachinburi, depending on the type and duration of the trip, be it a quick one-day outing or a multi-day rafting/camping adventure combined with other activities. There are a lot of companies offering the service, so make sure you do some research first to find out which one has a good reputation and – most importantly – doesn’t cut corners when it comes to safety. Helmets and flotation vests must be worn at all times.
And with all of this going on, it’s no surprise that Thailand actually has a white water rafting festival! The Kaeng Hin Phoeng festival takes place in Khao Yai National Park, just a few hours northeast of Bangkok. From July to October, you can rent boats and safety gear, and head onto the Sai Yai River in groups to battle rapids that are fun but not too challenging. There are also races, food, music, dancing, and numerous other festive celebrations at various times during the festival.
One final bonus about white water rafting in Thailand – the water’s pretty warm! No need for thermal wetsuits, which lets you enjoy yourself in the water rather than trying to ignore how cold it is. So no matter what you read, the rainy season is still a fine time to see Thailand. The food is still delicious, the people are still friendly, and the adventure is still very real. And the added bonus of a white water rafting adventure just makes it all the more appealing!
Whether you’re interested in some adventurous white water challenges, a casual fun family day on a river or just spectating, we can plan a safe and comfortable experience for you around the rivers of Thailand. Contact us here.