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Phuket Weather Guide - Best time to visit

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Phuket Island is called the "Pearl of the Orient" in large part because it has a climate agreeable to human feelings and conducive to natural growth and beauty. Any negative aspect of the climate - such as too much rain during certain months - is more than compensated for by positive aspects, such as stable and pleasant temperatures, gentle ocean breezes and usually sunny skies.

Phuket basically has two major seasons, a "dry" season and a "rainy" or wet season. Two months are frequently considered periods of transition between the two.

Dry Season

Dry season is from December through March. During dry season, Phuket is dominated by the "north-east monsoon" which is a light wind blowing from a northeast direction. It is usually not accompanied by rainfall, which only averages about 50cm a month. Temperatures consistently average between 25 to 33 degrees Celsius (73 to 88 degrees F.) and this is the best time of the year for water and ocean activities such as diving, boating and swimming. This is usually considered "high season" which is when tourism is greatest and prices are highest. During this time, everything is great, except maybe the prices.

Rainy Season

Rainy or wet season is from May through October. During this time, the direction of the winds change from northeasterly to southwesterly. Tt is the "south-west monsoon" season. During this time, rainfall averages about 300cm a month. It is a mistake, however, to think that the rain is constant or continuous, or that the entire island becomes engulfed in some sort of deluge.

Rain occurs in the form of showers, usually heavy, that last for fairly short durations, 20 minutes is a figure often cited as "average" length. They occur in late afternoon, and usually come and end without much warning. They usually involve small parts of the island.

After a shower ends, nice and sunny weather resumes. The showers sometimes cause minor flooding, although the accumulations of water quickly dissappear.

Temperatures are actually alittle more pleasant during rainy season than during the rest of the year, averaging no higher than 30 degrees C (86 F). The rains also help generate nice waterfalls in the interior of the island that hikers enjoy visiting during day outtings.

Times of Transition

These occur during April and November. The monsoons change. During these months, rains average 150cm a month. There is no appreciable change in temperatures.

Precautions

Rainy season need not cause people too much inconvenience. People do need to dress correctly and take reasonable precautions. They need to have proper footware and carry umbrellas.

They need to be aware that travel can be interrupted. Drivers must be particularly cautious because during the heavy rains, visibility and road conditions can become big problems.

It is during times of heavy rain that the majority of accidents on Phuket Island occur.

Swimmers and divers also need be aware that showers – and/or the accompanying climatic conditions - can effect currents and cause water turbulence, making their activities more risky. Those involved in these activities should try to stay informed of weather changes.

Best Time to Visit Phuket

The most popular time to visit is between December and April when most visitors come to escape the Northern winter, with December and January the busiest – prebooking is essential at this time.

It's busy, lively, cooler and more expensive. For the rest of the year you might get discounts of up-to 50 per cent on hotel rooms but there is a risk of some cloudy days or afternoon showers, but mostly it's sunny if a little hot.

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