As a good tropical country, Thailand is quite hot all year round and the seasons are poorly defined, but there is undoubtedly a summer season where the heat takes over. Besides taking care of yourself and using lots of sunscreen, in Bangkok there are many things to see and do in the summer months, taking advantage of the proximity to the river and the sea.
If you like coastal areas and very hot, accompanied by a city where you can do all kinds of activities designed for tourists, then Bangkok will be the ideal place. Don't be fooled and enjoy this beautiful capital during the hottest months of the year.
1. Attend the Moon Festival
Also known as the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, it is held every year on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which usually coincides in September. This beautiful festival is yet another manifestation of the power of the Chinese community in Bangkok and you can enjoy it in so many ways.
The first is clearly through food. The Moon Festival is a gastronomic explosion, but this time of all kinds of Thai Chinese products and dishes, plus different teas and drinks, so it may be one of the best food tours in town at this time. Throughout the city, but especially in Chinatown, you will see locals thought and dedicated to the celebration of this day.
But it is not the only thing. The purpose of this festival is to thank the new harvests and before that, many of the food is provided as an offering. In Thailand, this has spread to non-Chinese people and even today it is interpreted as a holiday of thanks to family and being alive, equivalent to Thanksgiving in the United States. So many celebrate with a mooncake or moon cake, very traditional on the date. Are you going to order one?
2. Commemorate Asahna Bucha Day
One of the most ceremonial days for Buddhists in Bangkok is Asahna Bucha Day. This day commemorates the Buddha's first sermon and is usually celebrated in late July or early August. Although it will be very hot, many people will be engaged in commemoration, prayer and also feasting. For tourists, the day of Asahna Bucha has a lot of importance from the gastronomic point of view.
In general, no meat of any kind is eaten on this day, so the dishes that are prepared are completely vegetarian. If you are not used to vegetarian food, then this is an opportunity for you to start tasting these spectacular flavors, with the flavor of Thai gastronomy.
Many of the events are focused on the monks who are initiated in their life of dedication in Buddhist temples. You can get close to the best temples in Bangkok, where many times the monks are making stops or offering different rituals to the cult. Like the other Buddhist summer events, they are usually quite open to tourists, so you will be able to take lots of photos.
3. Participate in Buddha's birthday
Buddha is not a god, but he is a divine manifestation of an entire philosophy. Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country and one of the celebrations there is an allegory of Buddha's birthday: the day of Visakha Bucha, or simply Vesak. The event is commemorated on the first full moon of the sixth lunar month.
If you're in Bangkok around this time, aside from the heat, there's no way you'll miss the Visakha Bucha celebrations. Although many excursions depart from the city to the sacred temple of Doi Suthep, in the north of the country, inside Bangkok Buddhist temples also celebrate this date. On this day the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha is celebrated and you can see all kinds of rituals among the locals who will be happy to explain them to you.
In the late afternoon, you can go to the surroundings of the Royal Palace, where the Thai monarch will chant a prayer together with the monks of the palace temple. This is one of the most sublime moments for all therevada Buddhism and there are no major limitations for tourists to participate, so are you up for the experience?
4. Enjoy the Chinese Festival of Ghosts
The Chinese community in Bangkok is very active when it comes to celebrating big events. Between August 16 and September 30, depending on the date assigned by the Chinese calendar, the Chinese Ghost Festival will be held. The implementation of this festival goes beyond China and Thailand and is celebrated in many Chinese communities around the world.
As part of this festival in Bangkok, you will see all kinds of events ranging from the very spiritual to the directly festive. For all these reasons, it is one of the best things to do in Bangkok in September and, if you are interested in mixing cultures, it will be ideal.
The purpose of this festival is to welcome ghosts visiting Earth at the gates on a full moon day; during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. Many people gather at these gates with flowers and gifts for the ghosts, so it is a very touching thing to see.
If you want to participate in this event, just go to Chinatown or consult the cultural programming guide of the different public entities of the city. Don't confuse this festival with the Thai ghost festival that is usually held in the north of the country and has more Buddhist characteristics, although syncretic.
5. Take a candle on the day of Khao Phansa
If I tell you the beginning of Buddhist Lent, you may not think it's a very significant thing for your vacation in Bangkok. But when you are on a summer day in this city and you see different elements commemorating Khao Phansa Day, you will surely be fascinated. It is a very visual commemoration and is one of the best things you can do in the evenings in Bangkok, in which you can respectfully participate.
Buddhists are encouraged not to drink alcohol or any other vices, as well as not to consume meat. The day commemorates the beginning of the monks' retreat for the next three months and be warned that certain official institutions will be difficult to be open, as it is a public holiday throughout Thailand. You will be able to participate by watching the monks in the temples or in the processions.
Candles are the main distinctive element of this day and it is common even in bustling Bangkok to see candlelight processions in offering to the divinity. There are very many tourists who join in these processions, from a distance and with the proper understanding, making it a truly attractive visual spectacle and ready for all who wish to participate.
6. Eat in the street
If you have not tried Thai food, the time to do it is in the streets of Bangkok in the middle of summer. And is that the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, is also one of the gastronomic capitals of all Southeast Asia, so I invite you to eat without further ado in the streets of this city.
One of the best things you can do in Chinatown is to approach the Yaowarat Street and discover a world of flavors. Here you will often have to negotiate the different food stalls in order to walk, so it will be very important that you walk carefully and see what kind of food you prefer. The amazing thing is that this will be active all day at all hours, so you will not have to wait for a specific time.
Additionally, I recommend you to eat a delicious crab omelet or other local seafood, as well as noodles with meat or sautéed vegetables that you can also taste in different districts of the city, with the greatest variety in both quality and prices. Do you dare to go tasting in the streets of Bangkok, as a gastronomic tour?
7. Have fun on Mother's Day
The monarchy in Thailand is very important and, although the king has limited powers, he is intertwined with much of the country's spirituality because of the role he plays in Therevada Buddhism. That is why Mother's and Father's Day in Thailand is, in truth, the birthday of the queen and king. Mother's Day is celebrated on August 12, being the Queen's birthday and is one of the best things you can go to in August in Bangkok.
From morning to night, the city of Bangkok will be full of different parades as well as musical events of magnitude that will allow you to spend the day in grand style, with renowned artists all over the country. You will also be able to enjoy great food festivals, so it is a good time to take a gastronomic tour around the city and try the most traditional dishes.
On Mother's Day, there is also a lot of activity in schools, because they go with their children. That is why many of the events in the afternoons are also designed to be part of the best activities with children in the city. Also, do not forget that in the temples, especially in the Royal Temple, there are different more solemn commemorations.
8. Prepare a trip to the beach
In Bangkok it is very hot, there is a huge river and the sea is on one side, but you may have noticed that there are no major beach resorts. That does not mean that you cannot go to the beach, because in this heat, it would be a complete shame to miss the majesty of the sea.
There are beaches very close to the city and I invite you to spend at least half a day to visit one, because it is one of the best excursions from Bangkok that you can do.
Among the best options is Pattaya beach. This is a beautiful beach of fine sand and completely white that is located an hour and a half from the center of Bangkok, so you can easily come and go the same day. In Pattaya you can find many hotels and restaurants, but the most beautiful beach is on an island called Koh Laan, which you can reach by boat.
The beaches on the island of Koh Laan are more exclusive, the water is turquoise and the influx of tourists is much less than in Pattaya itself. However, if you have a smaller budget, I assure you that in Pattaya you can have a great time, in contact with the locals and with a good sea bath to continue your vacation in the city.
9. Go to a floating market
Did you think that a street crowded with people eating on their feet and with lots of cars and motorcycles was the most authentic thing you could experience? Well, don't hurry, because you can have a similar experience, but on the water, in a floating market. In Bangkok there are different floating markets on water canals that in the hot months are very busy, so you can take a day tour of the floating markets of the city.
Among them all, you will surely see many plans to visit the Damnoen Saduak floating market. But keep in mind that, although it is the most touristy and the most dedicated to trade, it is quite far from the tourist part of Bangkok, so you will have to spend several hours one way and then several hours back which on a hot summer day can be very distressing.
Therefore, I recommend you to go to other floating markets closer to the neuralgic part of the city, such as Taling Chan or Amphawa. Regardless of which market you go to, in Bangkok you will have the opportunity to give yourself a respite from the heat while you hop on a boat, chat with the merchants and do some of the best shopping.
10. Have a great time at the Very Summer Festival
Did you thought there were no big summer music festivals in Bangkok? That's because you haven't yet met the Very festival which is usually held at the end of July. This event brings together all the great pop, rock, indie and fusion artists from all over Thailand and brings together thousands of people to vibrate to the rhythm of the best music.
But this is not an exclusively Thai event, as the line-up usually includes artists and bands from countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Korea and the United States. This festival usually lasts two days and you can buy tickets for one or both days. The earlier you buy them, the cheaper they will be.
Keep in mind that this is essentially a big festival, so there will be a lot of people, you should wear comfortable shoes and be very aware that you will have to stand for a good part of the day. Once you know this, get ready to enjoy one of the most important pop, rock and indie events in all of Southeast Asia.
How is Bangkok's tourist flow in summer and what are the prices like?
Bangkok is crowded all year round and the summer months are some of the peak months. Although there are no seasons in Bangkok, many tourists from North Asia, Europe and North America take advantage of their summer vacations to visit this wonderful city. In fact, July is the month where there are more tourists and, as there are too many events designed for them, it is one of the best times to go.
Keep in mind that Bangkok is a hyper-populated city with more than 15 million inhabitants, so whether the tourists are few or many, the city will always be crowded. However, you should include in your calculations that prices may be slightly higher in the high season, especially in lodging. In many occasions hotels are full, because Bangkok is one of the most visited cities by tourists in the world.
In Thailand the currency is the baht and the exchange rate always favors those who bring euros or dollars, so it is usually interpreted as a cheap country for tourism. This for tourists is mainly seen in the meals, because you can sit in good restaurants, of level, for only about 10 euros.
How is the weather in Bangkok in summer?
In Bangkok it is hot all year round, but particularly in summer, in the months of July, August and September it is even hotter. Minimum temperatures hover around 25°C, while maximum temperatures can reach 36°C, which in a humid city like Bangkok is far too hot. If you are used to a summer above 30°C, then this will not be a problem.
To cope with these temperatures, what I always recommend is to carry plenty of sunscreen with you and apply it as often as necessary. Also, even if it is too hot, keep in mind that you cannot enter sacred Buddhist temples with clothes that are too tight, too short or that show shoulders, so I suggest wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover the body and protect you from the sun.