January is one of the best months to visit Thailand and enjoy the diversity the country has to offer. If you’re looking for a beach holiday, the settled weather makes it an ideal time to head to any of the Thai islands or beach resorts. The cool season weather also makes it a great month to head out into the countryside and mountains and enjoy the natural beauty of Thailand.
The cool season weather patterns mean that mosts areas of Thailand see warm sunshine and plenty of blue skies at this time of the year. Combined with lower humidity and pleasant evening temperatures, this makes January an excellent month for sightseeing. There is the chance of an isolated shower in some areas, but generally speaking you should experience fine weather for most of January. If you’re visiting the north or north-east of Thailand, evening temperatures can get relatively chilly by Thai standards and a lightweight top is a handy item to add to your packing list.
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Where to go in January
With settled weather in most areas of the country throughout January, it’s a good month to travel to any of Thailand’s beach resorts or islands. The only potential blip is on the Gulf Coast during the first half of January where you may see some isolated showers. On the opposite Andaman Coast you can expect good weather and it’s a great month to go island hopping and visit some of the gorgeous Thai islands.
If you’re looking for a more active holiday beyond the beach, the lower humidity in January makes this an excellent month to explore Thailand’s towns and cities. Hire a bicycle and enjoy the atmospheric ruins at either Ayutthaya or Sukhothai. If you’re a golfer, January is a fabulous month to enjoy the world-class courses around Chiang Mai, Hua Hin or Pattaya.
In northern Thailand, flowers are in full bloom during the cool season months and if you’re travelling in Mae Hong Son try to make time to see the sunflower fields at Khun Yuam. Colourful water lilies are also at their resplendent best in the cool season months with spectacular displays in north-east Thailand at the Red Lotus Lake in Udon Thani and at Thale Noi in Phatthalung, southern Thailand.
January events and festivals
Thailand celebrates the New Year on three different occasions. New Year’s Day is a public holiday and so too is Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year Water Festival that takes place in April. And in between those two events, there is also the Chinese New Year. The exact date varies depending on the lunar calendar, but falls in January or February. Although Chinese New Year isn’t a national holiday in Thailand, it is widely celebrated around the country by Thai people with Chinese ancestry. The biggest celebrations take place in Bangkok’s Chinatown, but you can also enjoy parades and special events at a number of other locations including Chiang Mai, Phuket and Trang.
The second Saturday in January is designated as Children’s Day in Thailand with fun activities and music concerts for the youngsters.
The third weekend in January is usually when the colourful Bo Sang Umbrella Festival takes place. This might not be a major festival, but it is an enjoyable local event to experience and easy to get to from Chiang Mai.
Other notable events to look out for in January include the excellent Concert in the Park in Bangkok. The musical entertainment is provided free by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra at Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park. The outdoor concert season starts in December and continues through until February.
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