Unlike most places in the world, Phuket has only two primary seasons: the hot season, which translated into holiday terms is the high season, and the green, rainy season, which is also known as the low season.
Most tourists flock to Thailand – and Phuket in particular – during the hot season, because they are drawn to sunshine and the sea. This lasts from about November to April every year, and certainly it is when you can expect to experience the very “best” weather in the region. This means that it is usually sunny, and not very windy. There are very few storms, and the west-facing beaches (most are on the west coast of Phuket) are particularly sheltered and beautifully calm. (By the way, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t ever rain in the high season!”
What the Green Season Means to Tourists
The so-called “green” season – when the tropical plants of Phuket literally lap up the rain – is the monsoon season in this part of the world. Simply a seasonal wind, the monsoon brings with it rain. But it is a myth that it rains throughout the low season. Sure it rains more than during the high season, but it certainly doesn’t rain all the time.
However, because the prevailing winds come from the south west during the monsoon season (which is the green season), the sea is often too rough for swimming at Phuket’s beaches. This idea can be a make or break for potential visitors. But those in the know will tell you that in reality, the low, green season is a wonderful time to visit Phuket.
Ten Top Reasons to Visit Phuket during the Green Season
- Supply and demand means that because there are fewer tourists in Phuket during the low season, inevitably accommodation rates drop, particularly at the big, expensive resorts.
- Expect internal flights, car rentals and local tours to be lower than usual. If they aren’t then ask for a discount. Alternatively be a bit more discerning when you shop around. You’ll find attitudes are quite different in the high and low seasons.
- The normal tourist packages are at a minimum. You might think this is a disadvantage, but think about it, you’ll have to share this paradise of an island with fewer people. There won’t be so many crowds; you’ll have easier access to the best diving spots; you won’t have to queue to get into the best Thai restaurants. .. and so it goes.
- An increasing number of establishments are launching new green season packages that offer huge discounts, cutting bills by more than half. Exploit the idea.
- Parts of Thailand do get really wet during the green season, as we’ve seen during 2011, when Bangkok had its wettest season in many decades. But southern territories, including Phuket, were not adversely affected. In fact the rain that did fall was more than welcome, and tourists were not affected in any way.
- Most of us thrive on breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. But until you’ve seen a dynamic sunset peeping through monsoon rain clouds, you haven’t lived. So don’t forget your camera.
- Whether you enjoy sailing, or just watching the pros sail, Phuket’s green season has become the season for competitive regattas. These currently attract sailors from all over Asia. Ask about Phuket’s Green Season Regattas when you book your trip.
- Since the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched the Phuket Seafood Fiesta in 2011, the early green season has become a good time to taste Thai and Asian food at its best. Since the island of Phuket is such a popular “beach resort”, the popular south eastern Rawai Beach was the venue for the launch fiesta in August 2011. And it didn’t end there; participating food shops and restaurants in Phuket offered hefty discounts for seafood dishes during the fiesta. So start planning for 2012.
- The green season is the best time to do jungle treks and learn about Phuket wildlife firsthand. It’s cooler for you and the wildlife…
- Whilst this last reason cannot be guaranteed, the locals are generally more friendly and relaxed during the off-season.