Northern Thailand has a cool and dry climate in January. A chilly breeze can be felt for better parts of each day. The average range of temperatures in Thailand in January is from 20° to 23°, making it a great time to visit the national parks and sanctuaries and also indulge in some hikes and treks. The evenings and nights can get quite chilly in the northern and northeastern parts of Thailand. In the central and southern parts of Thailand, temperatures can hover in the upper 20s to early 30s due to being closer to the equator and lower altitude. These regions are likely to experience some light showers during the day.
Regional Weather and Temperature in Thailand in January
Dry and Pleasant: January is part of the cool and dry season, especially in northern and central Thailand. You can enjoy abundant sunshine and pleasant temperatures.
Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai): Daytime temperatures are around 20-30°C (68-86°F), with cooler evenings.
Central Thailand (Bangkok, Ayutthaya): Daytime temperatures range from 26-32°C (79-89°F). It's less humid than in the summer months.
Southern Thailand (Phuket, Krabi): Enjoy warm, sunny weather with daytime temperatures of 24-32°C (75-89°F). The beaches are inviting.
Best Places to Visit in Thailand in January
1. Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is like a playground that seasonal travelers flock to, situated in a verdant valley on the banks of the Ping River. The historical city of Chiang Mai is a diverse place with a distinct charm of its own where visitors can have a pretty good time in any season. Its bustling night bazaar, peaceful riverside, ancient walls, and the modern Nimman road offer you a great experience. You can enjoy visiting the ancient temples in the city alongside enjoying modern amenities such as fantastic spas, unique museums, beautiful gardens, and many more.
2. Koh Tao
Koh Tao, which translates to 'Turtle Island', is regarded by many as the best scuba diving destination in Thailand. Its perfect white sand beaches, surrounded by crystal-clear waters of the Gulf can make you fall in love with the place. It also has vibrant coral reefs with exciting flora and fauna, including a lot of amazing sea turtles. A good mix of luxury and comfort can be found at both the restaurants and nightlife establishments nearby.
3. Ko Lipe
A small L-shaped island in southern Thailand, Ko Lipe is home to three of the most amazing beaches - Sunset beach, Sunrise beach, and Pattaya Beach, where you can have the best experience of snorkeling and scuba diving. Here, the accommodation ranges from a lot of options to choose from, like bamboo and thatch bungalows and luxurious resorts. The turquoise waters, coconut tree-fringed coasts, tropical forests, and coral reefs are some of the highlights of this island besides its natural splendor. Activities like Sea Kayaking and sailing are also available, and on land, you can trek all around and discover the rich vegetation and fauna.
4. Koh Phangan
Thailand's fifth biggest island, Koh Phangan, does not have an airport, so it depends on ferries for connectivity from the mainland. In fact, transportation is mostly through 'song teaows' which are like converted pickup trucks, rental jeeps, motorcycles, and private taxis. As it is predominantly made up of granite, Koh Phangan is an unspoiled beauty with lush tropical interior jungles, white sand beaches, and numerous diving sites. Parts of Phangan that are extremely hilly, like Ban Tai and Haad Rin, don't have the best road conditions, so you should take caution, especially when you are traveling at night and in adverse weather conditions. The full moon party, black moon party, and other beach parties bring out the vibrant personality of this island, especially on New Year's Eve! You can also find some of the best food joints and luxurious restaurants across the island.
Events in Thailand in January
1. New Year in Thailand
There are a lot of new year parties happening in Thailand in almost all of its provinces every year. But the best parties are in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya. Across the country, every town or city tries to up the other in hosting the grandest of New Year celebrations. The New Year celebrations include moon parties, beach parties, street parties, and New Year celebrations in night bazaars all around the country.
2. Chinese New Year in Thailand
Due to the large Chinese population living in Thailand, the Chinese New Year is a grand celebration every year in the country. It is also called the spring festival, which is celebrated for almost a week with grandeur and fun. Chinatown in Bangkok gets crowded with people dressed up in traditional red clothing for the whole week, with the streets being adorned with lanterns and temples decorated. Dragon parades, firecrackers, and acrobatic dance shows breathe life into the streets of the Thai capital. A large variety of Chinese and local delicacies are sold as part of the celebrations. The colorful and energetic parade is joined in by all the locals and is closed by her Highness, the Thai Princess. Apart from Bangkok, the Chinese New Year festival is also celebrated in other parts of the country, with the celebrations in Phuket and Chiang Mai being quite popular. This festival is also the time when families come together to spend time and wish each other good luck.
3. Bo Sang Umbrella & Sankampaeng Handicraft Festival
The Bo Sang Umbrella and Sankampaeng Handicrafts Festival is a 3-day celebration that takes place every year on the third weekend in the month of January to honor the efforts of local artisans. As the name of the festival suggests, it is a celebration of the famous handmade umbrellas made from Saa or mulberry bark paper. The local craftspeople make stunning handicraft designs and leave them out on display for the entirety of the festival. Bo Sang is home to skilled craftsmen who make products ranging from fantastic fans to colorful lanterns and parasols.
Tips for Visiting Thailand in January
- Stay Hydrated: The cool and dry weather can be deceiving, so remember to stay hydrated, especially if you're engaged in outdoor activities.
- Respect Local Customs: When visiting temples or interacting with locals, dress modestly and be respectful of local customs and traditions.
- Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Book Activities in Advance: Popular tours and activities can get fully booked in January, so it's a good idea to book in advance.
Overall, January is an excellent time to visit Thailand, with its pleasant weather, vibrant culture, and a wide range of activities to enjoy. Whether you're seeking a cultural experience, an adventure in the great outdoors, or simply a relaxing beach vacation, Thailand has something for every type of traveler in January.