As parts of the Western world head into winter and the cold weather sets in, there's one thing on everyone's minds, “Will it snow this year”?
Unsurprisingly, except for a few chilly mornings in the mountainous North, there is no sign of snow in Thailand, yet!
Okay, it is unlikely to happen, but according to Thailand's national weather archives, it did snow, once!
The only ever official (I use that word loosely) snow recorded in Thailand was in Chiang Rai on 7th January 1955 (see the picture below).
According to the notice on this picture, the snow came after rainfall at 6pm.
The event was well documented at the time, and the story has been passed down through generations.
Snow in Thailand: The Truth About 1955
The story goes that after the rain came snow-like-hail, which produced a white blanket of snow on the ground.
You have to admit, the ground does look white and fluffy in that picture.
This “snow” remained for about 14 hours and then melted away.
This story is fiercely contested by snow geeks who say the “snow” was formed by hail and therefore doesn't constitute a proper snowfall.
However, residents beg to differ and boast proudly of their claim to snow fame.
Snow or not, this is as close as you're going to get to it in Thailand, because this is the one and only time “snow” has ever fallen in the Kingdom.
Lowest Temperature Ever Recorded in Thailand
Those who live in the North will know that it does get pretty chilly December thru February. The northern regions, with higher elevations, are more likely to experience rare events such as frost and snow.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Chiang Rai (where it snowed) was 2°C, about 35°F, which is low enough to snow. Heavy dew is quite common up North, and frost on leaves and vegetation in the very high grounds is sometimes reported late in the year.
This isn't the record for he lowest temperature in Thailand, though. That title belongs to Sakhon Nakhon, in the Isaan region).
Situated near the Phu Phan mountain range, Sakhon Nakhon reached a record low temperature of -1.4 degrees Celsius (29°F) in 1974. Locals, however, cite the record as an even lower temperature of -2.5 degrees Celsius (27°F) on December 24, 1999.
Side note: Apparently, Doi Inthanon National Park, near Chiang Mai, has also experienced freezing temperatures on occasions, but these were never authenticated.
Lowest Temperature Ever Recorded in Bangkok
Let's compare that to Bangkok.
The Big Mango hit its coldest record in 30 years on January 23rd 2014, when the temperature fell to 15.6°C, which is basically a warm day in Scotland, but quite a shock for the residents who are used to a 30°C year-round average.
However, the lowest ever recorded temperature in Bangkok was 9.9°C (49.8 °F) in January 1955, which coincidentally was the same year snow fell in Chiang Rai.
Does Thailand Have a Winter?
Thailand doesn't have a winter, per se, but the cool season typically occurs from November to February.
During this time, temperatures are relatively cooler, especially in the northern and central regions of the country. Daytime temperatures can range from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), and nighttime temperatures may drop to around 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit).
Thailand generally experiences a tropical climate with three main seasons: hot, rainy, and cool. That being said, for cooler weather head up North to Chiang Rai, or Northeast to Sakhon Nakon for some respite from the Southern heat.
In the months of December and January, typical daytime temperatures in northern Thailand hover around the low 80s°F (27-28°C), while nighttime lows settle in the mid-60s°F (17°C).