Phuket Climate Overview
Most tourists and travelers coming to Phuket want to know what the weather will be like during their stay. Holiday planning revolves around the seasons, so most tourists come during the "high season" and come with an expectation of hot sunny days. Any sign of rain is treated with shock. "But we came here for the sun!" - please remember that this is a tropical environment. Look at all the green hills....
So, it was in 2006, just after starting this blog, that I started the Phuket Weather Blog, where I try to report every few days on the weather, add lots of photos, a bit of news, a bit of this and that... if you're coming to Phuket, the Phuket Weather Blog is well worth bookmarking! The photos on this page are taken from the weather blog entries over the last few years.
Phuket Climate and Weather Patterns
We don't have 4 seasons here. There's no spring, no autumn (or "fall" as some odd people call it), no freezing winters and the length of the day varies only by an hour throughout the year. The weather is pretty stable most of the time; we don't have hurricanes or cyclones. Since I came here in 1999 there's not been so much as a tropical storm - we don't get violent weather here. We get some sun, some rain, some wind, and the weather follows 2 general seasons.
So, what are the seasons in Phuket? Well, in layman's terms we can call them the "dry season" and "rainy season", but that's rather simplifying things. The proper names for our seasons are as follows:
• Northeast Monsoon season (approx. November - April)
• Southwest Monsoon season (approx. May - October)
It's the Southwest monsoon that brings the "wet" season. The word Monsoon relates to winds (derived from the Arabic word mausim meaning 'seasons', referring to seasonal winds experienced by sailors in the Arabian Sea so says Wikipedia), so during the Southwest monsoon season, the wind blows from the ... South West, yes. That means the winds are blowing across the Indian ocean bringing moisture and making for some big waves from time to time. It's the waves rather than the rain that make this the low season for diving, as we can't guarantee reaching the best dive sites such as the Similan Islands, which are 100km from Phuket. The waves can be quite big at the beaches too. Be careful, people drown every year. Big waves? Don't swim.
But, the rainy season often gets blown out of all proportion. People hear the word MONSOON and get scared, imagining 24 hour rain and floods. This is complete rubbish. Yes, there can be some heavy rain, yes there can be minor flooding, but as I said - Phuket does not often get really bad weather. Most of the wet season is actually sunny. Many days are as hot and calm as the best high season days. In fact, the low season is a great time to visit Phuket (unless you are unlucky). Read more here : Wet Season in Phuket.
The Southwest monsoon starts sometime in May, normally around mid-May. Can start in early May, can be later in May, but it's pretty predictable. The winds change and things get wetter. Often starts with a bang, but then settles down. July and August can be very nice months. September is normally quite wet, and then sometime in October (often after a final flourish of wetness) the winds change again.
The Northeast monsoon season features winds blowing from the North East - blowing across land bringing slightly cooler air (but it's still hot) and much less rain. Since Phuket's beaches are on the west coast, the waters are calm at this time of year, great for beach lovers! The season starts sometime in October, but the weather is most stable from November onwards - early season can still be a bit wet sometimes, every year is slightly different. Don't blame me if it rains. The nights can be cooler from November - February. We are just about in the Northern hemisphere, so this is actually winter. In the early morning, you often get really clear skies and temperatures can plummet as low as 24°C!
As you progress into March and April, things get hotter. These are the hottest months of the year, so the Songkran Festival on April 13th is a welcome relief. The period February - April is also (I think) the best time for scuba diving in Phuket. The winds have normally all but ceased by April, so days can be hot and windless, and anyone who says they don't like aircon is a liar!
The merry month of May arrives and the guessing game begins. When will the "Green Season" start again? The Green Season is a much nicer name than "Wet" season or "Low" season, don't you think? Phuket certainly looks much greener with a bit of rain and everyone starts praying for rain during the hottest months. Sometime in May the circle starts again. Another year passes. Another year over. A new one just begun.
For regular weather reports, weather links, forecasts, webcams, radar, satellite, wind forecasts, photos and much more, please do visit my Phuket Weather Blog!
• Jamie's Phuket Weather Blog
• Karon Beach Webcam
• Surin Beach Webcam
• Phuket Weather Radar
• Phuket Rainfall Averages