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As summer comes to an end, it’s about time you started thinking about where to head to get that much-needed dose of winter sunshine, and there’s one place that should be at the top of your list – Thailand. With cheap accommodation on offer, pad Thai and a beer scarcely costing more than $5 and perfect weather, it’s the best place to go to melt away those winter blues.
Thailand can get seriously hot, with Bangkok no stranger to temperatures upwards of 40 degrees celsius, but you’ll be relieved to hear that winter time back home coincides with Thailand’s cool season. From November through to February, Thailand finds itself in a perfect period just after the monsoon-like rains and just before it’s overcome with the hot season. If you’re wanting to catch a tan on your trip, don’t despair – Thailand will still be hot. Temperatures in most of the country will still be around the 30 celsius but with far less humidity, making for a much more comfortable travelling and sight-seeing experience, and the islands will still be as pristine and inviting as ever. The only exceptions to high temperatures will be in the north of the country – the likes of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the northern highlands will be pretty cool, making for perfect hiking conditions and backdrops of lush green mountains and rice terraces enveloped in mist.
There’s no doubt about it – winter at home, coinciding with holidays such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, can be expensive times for anybody, with the amount of money that gets spent on parties, presents and food. There is an alternative, however – forgo the office party and get on a plane!
If you’re savvy with flight search engines, there are bargains to be had with flights at any time of the year, so heading to Thailand in the winter needn’t cost a fortune. Once you’re here, it gets even cheaper. Providing you’re prepared to go local and eschew Western, “farang” food, you could end up surprising yourself and spending far less on food than you might have expected, leaving plenty left over for tours and trips. Thailand has a rich, diverse food culture that’s so much more than pad Thai just waiting to be enjoyed – who wants another roast dinner so soon after Thanksgiving anyway?
Whilst it may be fun at first, the constant daily battle against snow can grow tiring pretty quickly. Thailand can be an unpredictable, hectic country at the best of times, yet one thing that’s for certain is there won’t be snow – or any other unwanted elements that might scupper your travel plans. As already detailed, winter coincides with Thailand’s cool season and, whilst the odd downpour may occur, you’re unlikely to experience any major torrential rains whilst you’re here, nor the floods and rough seas that come with them. This means it should be plain sailing should you decide to jet off to any paradisaical islands whilst you’re here – something that can’t be guaranteed should you come in Thailand’s rainy season instead.
Winter might coincide with Thailand’s high season, but that doesn’t mean you should be paying over the odds for hotels. Hotels in Thailand can still be great value compared to other winter vay-cay destinations, and by shopping around you can still grab a bargain. Not bothered about a luxury hotel because you want to be out exploring? Thailand has some great hostels and authentic, wooden bungalows that are perfectly comfortable budget options and more often than not are in good locations too. By heading out at the very start and the very end of winter, you can expect to see further discounts as hotels scramble to fill their bookings up.