Thai weather is best known for its year round heat. In fact, Thai people have a joke about that: There are three seasons in Thailand. Hot, very hot, and very very hot. Of course, this isn’t exactly true, but it does get the point across. For those not from the region, it can be a big change from the temperatures you are used to at home.
To prepare you for the next time you are in Thailand and need to make small talk, we have put together some interesting facts and Thai vocabulary relating to the weather. These will help you understand more about what is going on and help you survive the heat.
The weather in Thailand is tropical, as to be expected by its location in Southeast Asia. As a large country, there is some variation in the weather between each region. While some areas are have different times when it is more ideal to visit, in general, the country follows a similar pattern.
Between March and June is the hot season when temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius are not unheard of. It is in these days when you should wear sunscreen and a hat. Avoid going outside in direct sunlight between from about 11am and 3pm too as this is when it is the hottest.
The monsoon season, also known as the rainy season, lasts from around June time to October. This does vary somewhat year on year. You can expect a lot of rain during this time, usually regular like clock work. There will likely be a lot of flooding in the roads, making it difficult to get around. Bring an umbrella or a rain coat - otherwise you will get soaked.
Then there is the cool season. This begins around the month of November and ends in March. The temperatures are much more pleasant at this time, but likely still hotter than at home. This period is also the ‘high’ season for tourism, both due to the cooler weather and the Christmas holidays. Things like hotel rooms will be harder to come by and be more expensive.
There are a few phrases you can learn that will be useful for talking about the weather or ‘ah gaat’ (อากาศ) in Thailand.
First and foremost is the word you will be using most often. To say hot in Thai, you use ‘ron’ (ร้อน). For very hot, you can say ‘ron mak’ (ร้อนมาก) or even ‘ron mak mak’ (ร้อนมากมาก) to get your point across.
When you walk into a shopping center, seven eleven or a movie theater with their air conditioning on full blast, then you can say that you are ‘nao’ (หนาว). This means cold, so if you plan to visit a mall or the other places with air conditioning, you should probably bring a jacket with you.
When things are pleasant, there is a phrase you can use too. If someone asks if you are hot but you feel fine, for example, then you can reply with ‘yen sabai dee’ (เย็นสบายดี) which means you feel fine/cool (temperature-wise).
Cloud in Thai is ‘mek’ (เมฆ), while cloudy/overcast is ‘kruem faa’ (ครึ้มฟ้า). When a storm comes in, you will first hear and likely feel the thunder. To say thunder in Thai, you use ‘faa rawng’ (ฟ้าร้อง). When the lightning starts to flash, you call it ‘faa phaa’ (ฟ้าผ่า). During the rainy season, it will be quite common. It is also very loud and bright, so don’t get too scared.
Rain in Thai is ‘fon’ (ฝน), and to say that it is raining, you use ‘fon tok’ (ฝนตก). You can think of as ‘rain is falling’. If it not raining, then you can say ‘fon mai tok’ (ฝนไม่ตก), or ‘rain is not falling’.
The word for snow in Thai is ‘he ma’ (หิมะ). You likely won’t ever need to use that to describe the weather in Thailand. I would be surprised if it has ever snowed in the kingdom.
The weather is something that impacts everyone, so it can be great for opening a conversation with someone new. That is, after you say your greetings, of course. With this vocabulary, you can now start to make observations and talk about what is going on outside. As there are only three seasons, you will find that you will likely be repeating yourself a lot when describing the weather in Thailand. Next time you wake up, have a look out of the window and think to yourself what words you would use.
You can also use the Ling Thai app to practise your vocabulary and learn new ways to talk about the weather. Start testing yourself today for your next stay in Thailand.