Does It Ever Get Cold in Thailand?

If you visit Southern Thailand, then the answer to the post question ‘Does It Ever Get Cold in Thailand’ is probably not too much. The exception being, some regions do get cold during Thailand’s winter months. The further you travel northwards, the fresher and colder Thailand’s winter months become. Between November and towards the end of February, cities like Chiang Mai, Udon Thani and Loei can be chilly in the morning and evening.

Cold nights and Hot Afternoons

During my latest Thailand, vacation Wilai and I travelled from Udon Thani to Loei. The three-day break was between Christmas and New Year. The purpose, to visit the annual Phu Rua Flower Festival and to explore Loei city a little further than we had on our previous trips there. The weather was cold in the morning and evenings but hot in the afternoons. Out of the streets, many Thais wore a jacket, scarf, gloves and a woolly hat.

Scarves on sale in Loei, Thailand
Almost everywhere we went in the city, hats, scarves and jackets were on sale. Every food stall seemed to have acquired a ‘winter woollies’ stand next to them. And the local night market near our hotel had everything needed to keep an Eskimo warm.

Loei’s temperatures during our stay in the city ranged between 15°C in the morning to around 30°C by mid-afternoon. Late evening the mercury fell to the low twenties and dipped further through the night.

Almost everywhere we went in the city, hats, scarves and jackets were on sale. Every food stall seemed to have acquired a ‘winter woollies’ stand next to them. And the local night market near our hotel had everything an Eskimo would need to keep warm.

Loei’s temperatures during our stay in the city ranged between 15°C in the morning to around 30°C by mid-afternoon. Late evening the mercury fell to the low twenties and dipped further through the night. 

The photograph above shows two dogs patiently waiting for their owner to return. In the background is a thick, dense fog. The picture was taken at about 8 am. Two hours later, the sun had burnt through the blanket fog. The mist that did remain sat enchantingly atop the mountain surround. 

Typical Daily Winter Temperatures in Loei

The above graphics show the current five-day weather outlook for Loei  (January 2011). Sunday and Monday show temperatures forecast to drop to a minimum of 13°C. That’s quite cold after experiencing sunny afternoons in the mid to high twenties. Proof parts of Thailand do get cold during its winter months.

There is a lot of travel-hungry people who are sidestepping Thailand because they believe its oppressive heat and humidity are an all year round thing. I hope this post helps to correct that misconception.

Does Thailand Ever Get Cold? 

To finish, I’m going to include two short extracts from an article published in The Nation newspaper about 10 days ago. 

The Public Health Ministry confirmed yesterday that at least two people had died in the cold weather – one in Loei and the other in Chiang Rai.

“Victims in this category are people who died because they lacked warm clothes and lived in areas declared as being hit by a cold spell,” Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said. 

In the Northeast, the minimum temperature fluctuated between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius.

Sadly the colder weather can be a killer for some of Thailand’s more elderly, weak, sick and homeless citizens.

So, Does it ever get cold in Thailand? The answer is yes.


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

21 Responses

  1. Peter_M says:

    Martyn, I am in Chiang Mai right now where the mornings are gloriously cool and refreshing. I have only ever travelled up this part of Thailand in November or late February/March, so this cool weather is a new, and welcome, experience for me in Thailand.

  2. Hoo Don says:

    Peter I’ve never been to Chiang Mai although I’m hoping to go there in May, not finalised my plans yet. It’s a city I want to see this year or in 2012 at the latest.

    I’m used to the cooler climates of Udon Thani and Loei this time of year. The afternoons are great but the mornings can be a bit fresh.

  3. Malcolm says:


    opps hit caps oh well

  4. Hoo Don says:

    Malcolm I think you’ve just got the prize for the first comment in capitals and it looks pretty neat.

    I like the warmer weather but the heat and humidity of April is too much for me but the cooler season I can handle especially those afternoons when it’s about 30 degrees C.

  5. Mike says:

    Martyn, where I live which for the technically minded is 11.75 degrees North of the Equator just outside the area known as the Doldrums we do see a change in weather conditions between November and the end of January each year.

    This year 2010/2011 has seen lows of around 20C but daytime highs are 30-32C. The big difference is that because of the NE Monsoon the wind direction is from China and the relative humidity is much lower.

    So yes 330km South of BKK we do usually have a cool season. But cool is blue skies and low humidity rather than really cold.

    Incidentally when I was in Bangkok two weeks ago I really did feel cold as I sat outside in the early morning sipping a hot coffee in the shade my guess would be around 18C.

    Both Duen and Doy were clad in jackets 😉

  6. Martyn says:

    Mike after the heat of the summer I’m sure a drop in temperature to the low twenties does make you feel cold. Add in a breeze and the chill kicks in. I think your winter weather would be ideal for me all year round.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever been up north during winter but believe me a few years back in Wilai’s village on one New Years Eve the wind whipped up and it was bitterly cold. I haven’t experienced that kind of cold in Thailand since.

  7. Talen says:

    Martyn, I know Mukdahan can get cold. My first trip there I was confused as to why the hotel had real heaters in the room…went down to 48 degrees that night.

    I’m heading to Chiang Mai next weekend so I am hoping to enjoy some of those cool mornings with a hot cup of tea.

  8. Martyn says:

    Talen I’ve never been to Mukdahan but like Chiang Mai it’s on my list of places to see. I can’t imagine it’ll get cold enough to skate across the Mekong River but I’ll play safe and visit it in the warmer months.

    Have a great time in Chiang Mai.

  9. I remember doing a mediation retreat in Chiang Mai one January and we were expected to get up at 4 am. The worst thing was trying to wash in the cold water -brrrr When I lived in my wife’s village (not too far from Loei) we would get a few weeks of nice cold weather, but not so much where we are now.

  10. Martyn says:

    Paul I remember you commenting a week or so back (maybe longer) that you knew Loei quite well. You’ll know exactly how cold the province can feel and understand why some Thais can suffer from hypothermia at this time of year.

    Loei is one pretty province and I read somewhere on the net it’s rated as the most beautiful province in Thailand. That mountain scenery does take some beating I must say.

  11. Catherine says:

    Martyn, I spent one freezing Xmas in Chiang Mai. Coming from tropical Borneo I didn’t even own a pair of socks or a sweater. To keep warm I filled the bathtub at the hotel with hot water and soaked my bones. Then the hotel ran out of hot water (I guess everyone was doing the same).

    Many old people died that Christmas, making it a somber holiday.

  12. Martyn says:

    Catherine for my Thailand Christmas trip I took over a real good hoodie, it was cosy to wear to Heathrow with the weather the UK was having but it came in handy in Loei and early mornings in Udon.

    I remember a fairly top hotel in Udon Thani (won’t name it) where I put the bath plug in went off for a smoke and when I returned the bath was full of mud coloured water. Yuk. Nowadays I check the colour first out of habit and memory.

  13. Catherine says:

    Martyn, when I’m headed to the UK I have an ankle length black leather jacket I wear. It combats all UK weather, rain or snow. But I didn’t think to take it with me to Thailand that Christmas.

    So you passed on a lovely mud bath? Hah! A shocker 😀

    It’s nice and cool this morning. I like. This week we’ve been researching where I need to visit before the hot weather sets in and I burrow into my cool condo like a hibernating bear. Road trips out of town are roughly 2-3.5 hours long one way, putting us into the heat of the day (easy when summer heat starts at 8!). I want to do as many of the long trips as I can before April.

  14. Martyn says:

    Catherine your ankle length black coat probably earns you a few restaurant spaces that aren’t there for ordinary customers. Mafia springs to mind. I hope you order the best Italian dishes and the finest wines.

    I got the photo you emailed me and look forward to your post. The picture looks like it was taken right out in the sticks.


  15. Joe Le Merou says:

    Isnt’it a bit unusual to have such low temperatures in Thailand ?
    Even in the cold season ?

  16. Catherine says:

    Martyn, when you posted that comment I was at an Italian restaurant. So funny. And good timing.

    Absolutely. The photo was in the sticks. My girls wanted monk bracelets from the tattoo Wat so I was out and about that day. And did I get bit? You betcha.

  17. Martyn says:

    Catherine sorry about the delay in answering, I meant to reply yesterday but…..the problems I’ve had with my latest post you wouldn’t believe. I was trying to put on the post a simple poll plugin but no matter which one I tried it wouldn’t work. They loaded up but didn’t show on the homepage or when they did show pressing the vote button did nothing. In the end I had to settle for a tacky free version outside of wordpress.

    I hope you enjoyed your meal, that was good foresight by mean. It’s a pity I can’t see the lottery numbers as easily.

    I take it by bit you mean bugs.

  18. Catherine says:

    No prob. I so know the plugins nightmare.

    Yes, bugs. Or I’m guessing a bug – most likely it was a horsefly because it hurt like the Dickens and I was between a rice field and rows of banana trees. I’m now sick with flu symptoms and wondering if it has anything to do with the bite. Nah…

  19. Martyn says:

    Catherine sorry to hear you’re not feeling well, it’s probably a winter cold at worst. You’ll perk up soon guaranteed.

    Where does the expression ‘hurts like the Dickens’ come from. Did Charles suffer from a lot of pain.

    I spent four hours trying to load a poll on my post.

  20. Catherine says:

    I had to google but now I know:

    “Dickens” is a euphemism for “devil” as in “what the dickens”. An expression common centuries before Charles Dickens was born, having been used by Shakespeare in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’.”

    Four hours loading a poll – sounds about right.

  21. Martyn says:

    Catherine thanks for the information, I thought it might be because he kept dropping books on his feet.

    The four hours seem to be worth it, the latest post is really getting some hits from StumbleUpon. I’ve had 90 direct hits on it so far and I can still taste the toothpaste in my mouth. That’s a lot of hits early in the day for The Juice.

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