Weather for riding

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by tonykiwi, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    HI again, more questions for you,

    What is the general concensus for the best time of year for taking a motor cycle touring holiday in Northern Thailand. I also want to get down or across to Issan for some of the time.

    I am not afraid of a bit of rain but 4 weeks of rain would piss me off. I also assume that part of the year would be uncomfortably hot too?

    Lastly, are there periods of time to avoid regarding too many tourists (sounds a strange question from a tourist I guess).

    General viewpoints and advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you

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  3. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Three main seasons in Thailand, but as everywhere the mountain areas will have more extremes of weather. I give you my experience, rather than text book stuff, and the start and finish of these seasons does seem to move about a couple of weeks or so each year. Below applies to North and North Eastern parts. The South is different again.
    Now - rainy season, from sometime in late July or August through Sept, finishing late September or early October.. Rain can come at any time of day, and can be very heavy with Thunderstorms, but also spells where no rain for several days. Often have dry days with cloud building up and rain early evening or nighttime. Daytime temps can be quite hot, 30C to 35C and does not cool too much at night, so sticky nights.
    Riding in this season means avoiding the rain, but has the benefit of clear air, beautiful green scenery, and often dramatic skyscapes. Can be safety issues, with lightening, floods and sometimes mudslides in the mountains.
    Next comes the winter season, starts sometime in October, or even early November, the rain gradually drops in frequency and intensity, the nighttime temperatures start to drop, although days do not seem much cooler. December and January are generally dry and can be quite cool at night and early morning, especially in the mountain areas. Definately some warmer clothing needed for riding then. Frost has been seen on the mountains, and becomes a must see thing for the Thais, ice never becomes a problem on the roads.
    By February the green appearance has become dusty colour and the waterfalls are not too spectacular. During February things start to warm up a bit, maybe an odd shower, and this process continues through March, by late March and April it is getting really hot and the summer has started, the showers increase, but are usually a welcome relief. The summer is probably April till July and back to the rainy season again. The North does see problems in March and April with the burning of hillsides and consequent smoke and air pollution, this destroys the views and can even be a health hazard in Chiang Mai and district at times.

    So for a once off motorcycle tour of the North, November, December and January are probably favourite months for avoiding the rain, having cooler nights and normally reasonable riding conditions on the road.
    Also the time many tourists come, but this may make the cities busy, but not usally a problem on the roads out of the cities.

    I ride all the year round, even the rainy season, because the scenery is so vivid and dramatic, this time of year, but would not plan a long tour until a little cooler and less rain.

    PICO-PICO Ol'Timer

    John, your observations are helpful because I am getting itchy down here on Phuket. We didnt have too much rain so it is tempting to come the wrong conclusion a to start now to go up North again.
    I fail to understand the rain pattern at all. thunderstorms can be so incredibly local ,at times you are drowning and 500meter way everything is dry. Even in flat Isaan a few km distance can make a big difference in rain fall. One village has poor a harvest and the next plentiful.
  5. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Hi Pico,
    Of course Isaan is regarded partly as a poor area because it has less rain and so poorer crops, although irrigation has improved a lot in recent years.
    My missus told me a week ago that the rainy season had finished!!!!!!, what we have this week is rain almost every day, which I am told is the result of a passing depression which created havoc further North.
    I agree that it is very localised and on a long ride i find this a benefit, because particularly on higher ground you can have a good view of whats coming, or what you are going toward, many times I have ridden through a big black cloudy bit to find good weather ahead, if its too heavy, shelter for a little while until the worst passes. Today I was out for 150 Km towards Udon way and saw some heavy black stuff dropping rain in the distance, also came across quite a bit of recently wet road, but lucky and did not get wet. A lot of the rain is falling after 4pm these days.

    I am not a weather forcaster, but I would have expected that after the effects of this depression have passed, maybe a week, that things get a little bit drier and the heavy daytime falls get less and less..............
    But this is Thailand.......... and of course the LHC is spinning protons at ever increasing speeds and who knows what that might do to our weather?????
  6. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    I would say October through February. But remember rain here (Issan) can mean 15 Mins to wait it out. Ot it can mean hours.

    This is the best site I have found for these area ( Udon). Gives it to you by the hours, But i is weather we are talking about and it missed today :lol: ... UDON+THANI

    Covers other areas as well.
  7. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer


    Coming from NZ you will find it rains a lot less here, even during the monsoon season. Bring your plastic gear and enjoy the ride.

  8. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    Really it's just a bit of dirty water that can be solved with a shower.

    It's only dangerous at first but once the oil is washed off slow down a bit and you will be fine. A I said most tiems 15 Mins, and it's doen.

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