Going Our Way: Rain or sun, Thailand is a happy anniversary choice

By K.C. Summers
Sunday, December 27, 2009

Who: Shane and Alison Danielson, 30 and 25, respectively, of Washington

Where: Thailand

Why: One-year wedding anniversary/delayed honeymoon trip

When: August, for 10 days

Budget: $5,000

"We'd like to visit a fabulous beach, take cooking lessons, do a scenic hike, tour a Buddhist temple and take a trip to Ko Phi Phi (the photos are amazing). We'd love to stay in a romantic little bungalow near the water during the relaxing part of our trip. We need the most help with transportation from one locale to the next."

The good news: Thailand is a terrific choice for a delayed honeymoon, with an exotic mix of temples, jungles, night life, shopping and beaches to keep your senses humming. The even better news: It's cheap. The biggest expenditure will be airfare, but once you arrive, you can live like Thai royalty on a peasant's budget.

The bad news: Your August timing, while not a deal killer, isn't optimal. It's in the middle of Thailand's rainy season, which runs roughly from July through October. If beach time is important to you, you might want to think about rescheduling your trip for high season, November to March, when skies are clearer.

But if you want to stick to August for sentimental reasons, don't despair. We can make this work.

A quickie Thai weather primer: Generally speaking, November through March is cool and dry, April through June is hot and humid, and July through October is rainy. But a lot depends on where in the country you are. The beaches on the west coast (Phuket, Phi Phi), for example, get the most rain, while the southern Gulf islands (Samui, Tao, Phangan) are drier. But many islands have their own microclimates, defying easy categorization. To be safe, be prepared for a dose of showers with your sunshine. (As one guidebook points out, it's a warm rain.)

To get a handle on Southeast Asia's weather patterns, check out the interactive weather map of Thailand, which offers info on regional rainfall, temperature charts and monsoons, on the Travelfish Web site, http://www.travelfish.org (which, by the way, is one of the most knowledgeable independent sites I've found on travel to Asia). On the topic of Thai beaches in August, there are reassuring posts from readers who've been there, done that. From one August visitor to Phi Phi and Phuket: "In 15 days got 2 days virtually cloudless, about 2 where it rained more often than not (but these still had some sunny breaks and were not write-offs), and the rest were the normal mixture of one or a few showers, sun/scattered cloud. I had a great holiday."

So if you have your heart set on Ko Phi Phi in August and you have a bit of the gambler in you, go for it.

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