Whether you’ve planned it to perfection or you’re just lucky, May is a gorgeous time to visit Koh Samui – and there’s lots to look forward to besides sunshine (like the news that arrival tests are no longer required as of May 1). As for the climate, May is still Koh Samui’s “hot” season. Given Samui’s location just a few degrees above the equator, that’s saying something. How to ensure you don’t melt? Read on for packing tips and hotel recommendations that will help you in the heat.
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Koh Samui in May
Is May a good time to visit Koh Samui?
May on Samui gets an average of 215 hours of sun. That’s almost 7 hours a day – sound good? I think so. As well, May is pretty quiet compared to mid-to-late June and July/August when families arrive for holidays with school-aged children. Pre-pandemic, Koh Samui’s tourist numbers would fluctuate year over year – often when another country’s exchange rate changes to make a destination like Thailand more expensive.
In 2022? Highly unlikely you’ll find the island too busy and, should things return to normal thereafter … May was never a particularly busy month compared to July/August and the Christmas/New Year period. Two pieces of certain science: (1) Children in the UK, Australia, the States and Canada (and much of the rest of the world) are in school in May. (2) You can always find peace and quiet somewhere on Koh Samui, no matter the month.
Where to stay in May
My pick: SALA Samui Chaweng
I think this resort stands out as a superb spot for couples and why not enjoy it best when you’ve practically got the island to yourself? Choose between rooms or pool villas on the ocean side or the garden side of the resort. (The latter offers a little more shade). If planning to spend all day, every day, at the beachfront pool – double up on sunscreen, and don’t forget cover-ups. It’s absolutely beautiful but gets v-e-r-y strong sun (reflecting off white buildings) from sunrise all day.See Rates + Details
More hotel ideas
Tip: For an introduction to Koh Samui’s beaches and great hotel suggestions, see Where to Stay on Koh Samui.
What to pack for May
1. Sun protection
Given the long days and promise of gorgeous sunshine in May, make sure you bring cover-ups for the sun and quality sunscreen that will last when you’re in and around water. I particularly recommend a water-resistant, reef-friendly sunscreen with a high SPF. A giant sun hat (this one is rollable/foldable/packable) is crucial if you burn easily (or, y’know, don’t want wrinkles). Finally, a UPF rash guard or swim top is ideal to wear when snorkelling or kayaking.
2. 2022 Thailand Guide
Just released last week! Fodor’s 2022 Thailand travel guide is ideal for planning a wider Thailand itinerary (it covers Cambodia and Laos briefly too). I like Fodor’s for its great range of itinerary suggestions and general interest/culture content. Within, find details on Thai history and a great FAQ on how to eat street food (“What are all the condiments for?”).
3. Adventure easily
May is a great time of year to try a huge variety of adventures and excursions on Samui. So, in addition to the things on my recommended Thailand packing list, it’s worthwhile to bring a day-trip bag that you can keep stocked with essentials (recap: sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen). This backpack folds down to the size of a water bottle so it’s easy to have on hand when you need it.
4. Instant fix
Remember how we discussed that May is in Koh Samui’s hot season? Keep these in your bag and I promise you’ll be grateful to find them when you reach Peak Melt, miles away from a shower.
Tip: Take a quick look at Thailand’s location in relation to the equator – the Thai sunshine can do serious damage to your skin in minutes flat. Don’t miss my sun safety tips (all recommended sunscreen is cruelty-free and I’ve tested it myself in Thai heat and humidity).
May events calendar
- 01 Labour Day (Expect banks & many shops to be closed)
- 08 Mother’s Day (U.S., Canada, etc.)
- 08 Samui Bike Week
- 16 Visakha Bucha Day (Buddhist holy day)
Thai Mother’s Day isn’t until August, but if you’re celebrating, find some suggestions for finding flowers and breakfast in bed for your favourite mama bear.
Weather in May
- Temperature: 30°C / 86°F
- Sunshine (hours/day): 6
- Rainy days: 9 days (160mm / 6 inches)
- Sea temperature: 28°C / 82°F
What’s the weather like on Koh Samui in May?
Expect temperatures anywhere between 28-35 degrees Celsius (that’s 82-95 Fahrenheit) – perhaps with the occasional shower. Don’t panic about the possibility of rain. Samui’s tropical storms are amazing – and they don’t last long at this time of year. The Koh Samui Guide is fully stocked with rainy day ideas, including a full checklist of activities to keep you perfectly entertained in any weather. (Note that Phuket gets twice as many rainy days in May – 18, on average).
Is May or June better on Koh Samui?
Refer to everyone’s favourite Thai-glish phrase: “Same same”. Your daylight hours will be 11 minutes longer in early June versus early May. As for the weather? Can you tell the difference between 1°C? On average, rainfall is very slightly heavier in May but over the same amount of time (so, if it rains, it’s just more emphatic in May than in June). Both are great times to visit Koh Samui.
- Temperature (avg): 30°C in May vs 29°C in June
- Sunshine (hours): 6 in May vs 6 in June
- Rainy days (avg): 9 days (160mm) in May vs 9 days (100mm) in June
- Sea temperature: 28°C in May vs 28°C in June
What’s the chance of rain on Koh Samui in May?
Minimal. Worst case – it rains a little bit across an average of 9 days in 31. Storms are usually pretty quick in May – rarely does the “rain/thunder” icon on your weather forecast mean that it rains all day, as in somewhere like the UK. Koh Samui weather does have seasonal variation, but May is (typically) still the hot, dry season.
Is May a good time to get married on Koh Samui?
Yes. Although you’ll need to make sure your guests are prepared for the considerable heat.
Is Koh Samui or Phuket better in May?
- Temperature (avg): 30°C on Koh Samui vs 29°C in Phuket
- Sunshine (hours): 6 on Koh Samui vs 8 in Phuket
- Rainy days (avg): 9 days (160mm) on Koh Samui vs 18 days (200mm) in Phuket
- Sea temperature: 28°C on Koh Samui vs 30°C in Phuket
Behind the scenes
The major news this month (MAJOR) is the upcoming change to Thailand’s covid travel policies. Arrival tests will no longer be required as of May 1 and, very likely, the Thailand Pass requirement will finish on June 1. See details at the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Hello and thank you to new customers this month in Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States. My most exciting moment was my first ever customer in South Dakota … meaning The Koh Samui Guide – finally – has customers in all fifty U.S. states.
Worth a read
- Just released – Fodor’s Thailand 2022
- Updated – Thailand’s Best Street Food
- Thailand lifts RT-PCR testing requirement for international arrivals from 1 May 2022
- Thai mango sticky rice sales surge after sweet treat’s Coachella cameo
Koh Samui in May
What’s next? To make sure you enjoy it all in full, you’ll need The Koh Samui Guide. You might wind up more excited, but definitely better prepared. Enjoy!
- Packing tip: My favourite travel steamer
- My favourites: Mosquito repellents
- Family travel: Where to stay on Koh Samui with kids
Links below include affiliates. As an Amazon Associate, I receive a small commission on resulting purchases at no cost to the customer.