Koh Samui weather; the monsoon comes in November & December

In Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao only fools dream of good weather at Xmas & New Year

How to find the best hotel deals in Koh Samui? BOOK DIRECT
Hotels give the lowest prices to those who book directly. Cutting out agents saves cash for both guests and hotels – and we take no commission.
See the list on this page of hotels that guarantee, in writing, to discount below the lowest on-line agency rates for private deal, direct bookings. Then contact the hotels via the e-mail box on each hotel page.
This site also offers DISCOUNT ROOM VOUCHERS – the cheapest prices available in Koh Samui. But these are limited in number, and have conditions. Click Top Deals above. Contact Jade for advice anytime: jadebeachfront@gmail.com

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So many tourists don't understand Samui's different season ....

November-January holds an unpleasant surprise for many visitors to the three famous Thai islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Those who do not do their weather checks thoroughly often get a nasty shock. Guidebooks that say Thailand’s high season starts in November are telling four-fifths of the truth – but Koh Samui and neighbours live in that oft-forgotten, fifth zone in the country’s far southeast.
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November does indeed mark the end of Thailand’s major Southwest Monsoon season and the beginning of the cool, dry weather that brings calm oceans (to most of the country) and millions of tourists flocking to its famous beach resorts. The high season has begun across four-fifths of the country – but not in this southeast corner of the country.
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Often, visitors arriving with expectations of high season weather find themselves battered by intense typhoon storms and the violent thunder and lightning they bring. It literally pours water on many a party.
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Every Christmas and New Year the resort hotels on these islands play a serious cat-and-mouse game with the skies, watching them intently while trying to put on grand beach parties to please their celebrating guests. But there’s always a quick, sheltered back-up and staff ready to move a complete banquet at the first sign of black clouds.
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This site offers info pages about all aspects, and all beaches on Koh Samui:

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- Top 10 Beautiful Boutique Beachfront Resorts on Koh Samui

Why Koh Samui, Koh Phangan & Koh Tao lie in a different weather system

As the power of the Indian Ocean’s Southwest Monsoon wanes around the end of October, the Northeast Monsoon immediately muscles down from the Pacific Ocean to fill the power vacuum – striking all three of these famous islands hard. It also affects the rest of Thailand, but in a very different manner. The reason is simple geography – or Vietnam and Cambodia to be precise. The mountains of these easterly neighbours break the full force of the Pacific’s Northeast Monsoon face on, sucking out the rain and taming the wildest winds. These then reach central Thailand as pleasant, dry north-easterly breezes.
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Typhoon storms that sweep around the southern end of Vietnam continue their oceanic rampage, crossing the Gulf of Siam and sucking power from the warm waters before they slam full-force into Malaysia and Southern Thailand – with the three Thai tourist islands catching the storms that swing around the southern extremity of Vietnam.
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For many Christmas visitors getting off the plane in Samui and being greeted by furious electrical storms and mini floods comes as disappointment and shock.
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despite weather, is November-January good for visiting islands near Koh Samui?

For most people the answer is simply no. The majority of beach-lovers want ideal conditions with balmy blue skies and calm, clear water; especially families who need safe conditions for children. Swimming might not be good through November to January – though some do body surf in Samui’s small, storm-driven waves. But there are other people whose interests are away from the beaches who don’t mind this time of year, or even thrive in the interesting, changing weather that the monsoon delivers.
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The most important things to note is that even during the peak of the wet season it doesn’t rain for long. Typical monsoon rains come in heavy squalls, sometimes violent and thundery, that last only an hour or two. Most days through the monsoon months are dry, save these short bursts, and sometimes bright and sunny both before the storms arrive and soon after they pass. Tropical thunderheads can often be seen far out to sea as they sweep in across the ocean towards the islands, giving people ample warning to seek shelter. Those who admire nature’s raw power can find a sheltered beach bar and watch roiling black clouds power in off the ocean, lashing everything with buckets of rain while tossing lightning bolts about with random. It’s one of nature’s greatest dramas, and being a spectator from a cosy, dry abode is one of the benefits of visiting at this time of year.
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Thai hoteliers are trying to rebrand the monsoon season as the ‘Green Season’. It makes some sense, for green is an apt description of the countryside 24 hours a day, while the monsoon often performs only for a few hours daily.
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This writer/photographer loves the monsoon season, and even the romantic ‘monsoon’ description of it. Apart from admiring the dramatic cloud formations and the fearsome ferocity of the storms, there are many attractions and things to do away from the beaches at this time of year. The most obvious effect of the monsoon rains is the colour of the countryside; it turns a lush, vivid green as new growth springs up to cover virtually everything that man leaves alone. The colour of the sky can also turn the most vivid blue during the regular cloudless breaks, while all colours sparkle in the well-scrubbed air and clean, bright conditions. It gives photography enthusiasts some of the year’s most colourful opportunities. And for those who like macro photography – shooting colourful bugs and amazing tropical plant forms – this is the perfect time.
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To see more things to do in Thailand during the monsoon months check the page about advantages of the monsoon season in the Andaman area .

Dangers for tourists from the violence of the Northeast Monsoon

Is the Northeast Monsoon season more dangerous for tourists that the calm high season months? Statistically, probably not. The number of tourists killed in traffic accidents, drug overdoses and unexpected mishaps certainly outweighs the damage that the violent typhoon winds do between November and January. However, being well-informed is good, and here we outline some of the things to watch out for when the Northeast Monsoon arrives on the shores of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
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Bangkok Airways has lost just one plane since it began flying into Samui airport in 1989, and that loss of 38 people onboard, virtually all foreign tourists and crew, was the direct result of a wild, Northeast Monsoon storm. That tragedy occurred when a pilot tried to land just after dark as a violent storm lashed the island in November 1990. A violent gust smashed the plane into a hillside not far from the airport. This writer’s family had been on that plane’s manifest for a couple of days prior, with a decision to change destinations and fly to Phuket made only hours before departure.
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Landing in Samui airport at this time of year can be a white-knuckle experience; the airport runway runs north-south while the monsoon winds sweep right across it from the east. The small planes needed to land on a short runway, mostly ARTs, are easily buffeted by the strong cross-winds, sometimes causing the planes to flutter scarily and swerve severely as they attempt to get their wheels firmly on the ground. At this time of year some Koh Samui residents prefer to fly into nearby Surat Thani on the mainland in a bigger plane, then take the ferry trip across to Samui. Anyone nervous about flying who is taking the Bangkok-Samui route might want to think about flying in the morning. Thunderstorms are generally more active late in the day.
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The Northeast Monsoon has claimed quite a few tourist lives in the ocean too, over the years. Big waves are churned up easily in these shallow waters when violent typhoon winds persist for hours or days. Some of the tourist passenger boats sunk while crossing the relatively short passages between Samui, Surat Thani and Koh Phangan were in poor condition. Happily, the government is slowly forcing boat operators to improve the safety reliability of their craft.
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One positive note on the safety side: the deadly box jellyfish that have stung and killed two tourists on Koh Samui (Oct 1999; 2015) and four on Koh Phang Ngan (two in Aug 2002, one in Aug 2014, one 2015), are believed to come close inshore only during the calm weather, perhaps making the ocean a bit safer at this time of year. See the records of box jellyfish stings and fatalities in Thailand here.
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by John Everingham