Say goodbye to those pesky seasons of spring, summer, winter and fall. Who has time for four whole seasons, anyway? The cost to your wardrobe alone deems them inconvenient.
The age-old “What should I pack?” dilemma no longer applies because, praise Mother Nature, Koh Phi Phi welcomes just two seasons – the wet and the dry.
Spanning December to April, the Dry Season unsurprisingly coincides with the tourist high season and parades as many as 26 sunny days each month, averaging 28°C (82°F).
February to April provide ideal vacationing conditions. Fewer tourists flock to the region than during the festive months of December and January (peak season) and as such, visitors can expect calmer waters, ideal temperatures, and less crowded attractions. There’s nothing worse than snapping a selfie with a whale shark only to find 100 other submerged foreigners ruining your “Look how at one with nature I am” shot. If possible, avoid December and January, as accommodation can be difficult to nab unless you book in advance.
Rock climbers, rejoice! The Dry Season offers up parched limestone rock formations on a platter of paradise.
April ranks as Koh Phi Phi’s balmiest month, with temperatures peaking at 36ºC (95ºF). Brief and intense storms cells create refreshing reprieves, but the resulting humidity can be stifling. Long walks and strenuous training regimes are not recommended.
Less precipitation and lighter winds (if any at all) do wonders for underwater visibility, a fact divers and snorkelers should take full advantage of.
Tanning Tip 1: Clear skies are synonymous with sunbathing. Remember, there’s no such thing as a healthy tan. Slip, slop slap at all times and reapply UV protection as often as possible. Nothing spoils a peaceful holiday quicker than third degree burns on your butt or painfully peeling pectorals.
The longer and soggier Wet Season encompasses the months of May through November. Temperatures can reach 33ºC (90ºF) but generally average more temperate conditions.
The wettest of the wet rains down in September and early October. For those vacationing within the Wet Season, don’t despair. Not only will you enjoy cheaper accommodation and activities, you’ll be spared the tourist torrent (a more unwelcome state than a torrential downpour). Plus, the heavy showers extend a rustic jungle beauty all their own, and believe it or not, the sun still shines for extended lengths of time. In particular, the months of June, July and August bestow ample sunshine and around 20 clear-sky days each.
The annual pilgrimage of the southwest monsoon is like that annoying cousin who shows up invited, but unwanted, every Christmas. You know she’ll be there, yet her presence is irksome nonetheless. After a few hours, however, you soften to realise she’s not so bad in small doses – and hey, you only have to see her once a year.
Bearing down on southern Thailand’s southwest coast, the monsoon keeps things damp from late May to October. Much like that irritating cousin, it’s not as hopeless as it seems. Granted, rain and winds can make water sports a tad rougher, but two thirds of every month still produce sunny days, often characterised by invigorating afternoon showers.
Other day’s you’ll forget what sunshine feels like and be convinced the rain will never cease.
September and October tout hot, sticky days, full of humidity and frizziness, but the frequent rainfall has a wonderful cooling effect. Curly haired holidaymakers are advised to keep their tresses tied back, or stay away lest your scare the local wildlife with your crazy jungle-fro.
Tanning Tip 2: Don’t be fooled by an overcast sky. Your inability to see the see the sun doesn’t mean the sun can’t see you. In fact, UV levels remain as high, if not higher, on cloudy days.
Koh Phi Phi Weather Stats:
Average temperature: 28°C (82°F)
Highest rainfall: September – average 373mm
Hottest month: April – average 29°C (84°F)
Mildest month: January – average 27°C (81°F)
Wet Season: May-November
Dry Season: December-April
Wet Season rainfall average: 230mm per month
Dry Season rainfall average: 57mm per month
Highest average sunshine hours: April (9 hours)