When Is The Best Time To Visit Phuket?
When planning a trip to Thailand one of the first things you are going to want to know is what the weather will be like and when is the best time to visit Phuket.
Phuket has a tropical climate which means it has warm temperatures along with plenty of sunshine, and we dive all year round.
However there are 2 distinct weather patterns. From early November until late April the northeast monsoon prevails bringing a light easterly breeze to Southern Thailand. The sea is flat calm and there are blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Phuket gets an average 26 sunny days a month at this time of year! This period is known as tourist high season.
From May to the end of October the southwest monsoon prevails which brings more rain and frequent winds to Phuket. Mostly the showers are light with long periods of sunshine too although there can be days of solid rain – this is generally more likely in September. This period is known as the low season in Phuket but the island still averages 20 sunny days per month in this season.
The months of November through to April provide great dive site conditions, with calm seas and excellent visibility. The busiest months are December and January, which are known as peak season. You can expect to pay more for your accommodation and the dive boats are often full. If you’re coming at this time of year its a good idea to book your Phuket diving day trip or liveaboard cruise well in advance. February to April is a fantastic time to visit Phuket as there are fewer tourists and sea and dive site conditions are perfect.
Dive With Whale Sharks On Your Phuket Diving Trip
In high season we highly recommend for certified divers the Phi Phi Island dive sites and Shark Point, Anemone Reef, King Cruiser wreck and Koh Doc Mai as they are all teeming with fish life and you have the chance to dive with turtles and the beautiful, docile leopard shark.
High season weather is also perfect for the Thailand liveaboards which run to the Similan Islands, Hin Daeng and Burma from mid-October until mid-May. This is the best time of year to see whale sharks – last year 20113-2014 was an excellent season with whale shark encounters on almost every liveaboard trip and sightings off Phi Phi Islands and Shark Point. This season promises to be just as good with several encounters already in these areas. Manta rays are also frequent visitors to the Similan Islands – particularly at Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. March to May is a good time to spot them at Racha Noi off Phuket when there is a higher concentration of plankton.
Also known as Green Season, from May to October sea conditions are more variable and there is a greater chance of rain. Visibility can be reduced at all the Phuket dive sites except Racha Noi and Yai. The seas can be choppy and the boat ride from Phuket to the dive sites can be bumpy but this is usually not a problem for more experienced divers. Now and then we get the odd storm when it is not safe to take the dive boat out but this only occurs a handful of times during this 6 month period. If you’re planning to visit at this time of year then the chances are you will still get to go diving and we can advise you on predicted weather conditions.
In low season we tend to dive the sites on the east coast of the islands which are protected from the west-prevailing wind. This is the best time of year to dive Racha Noi and Racha Yai as these islands have excellent visibility of up to 30 metres and are located in beautiful sheltered bays. These are great sites for both complete beginners and experienced divers alike with the chance to dive with barracudas, batfish and ornate ghostpipefish.
Strong surge means beach diving is not possible at this time of year but the waves on the west coast beaches make it a great time for surfing and kite-boarding and more and more people are attracted to Phuket for these activities.
The temperature rarely drops below 26°C and the coolest month is January with an average temperature of 28°C. The hottest weather in Phuket occurs between April and May when the temperatures average in the early 30°C’s with the odd rainfall providing a drop in temperature.
Generally the water temperature ranges throughout the year from 28 to 30°C. In March and April thermoclines can sweep in dropping the temperature down a few degrees but this also brings in the bigger creatures. In 2010 the water went up to 31°C which resulted in the bleaching of some corals but the Phuket dive sites are now recovering from that.
This varies during the year but can often exceed 30m in high season. The presence of plankton in the water can reduce visibility but also attracts larger marine life such as mantas and whale sharks. In low season good visibility at Racha Noi and Yai is almost guaranteed.
So whatever time of year you visit Phuket in the ‘Land of Smiles’ you can expect warm temperatures along with warm hospitality too!
For additional information or to book a dive trip send us an email or fill in our contact form.