Koh Samui in December: What to expect
Here's exactly what to expect on Koh Samui this December, plus what to pack at this time of year, weather details, things to do and more.
Koh Samui in December
Excited for December on Koh Samui? Ready to eat? And eat and eat? Here's exactly what to expect on Koh Samui this December, plus what to pack at this time of year, weather details, things to do and more.
Is December a good time to visit Koh Samui?
A resounding yes. Flights to Koh Samui in December typically fill up towards Christmas and New Year. This suggests a very merry month on the island; the holiday period is usually peak season. December is by no means the hottest point of the year, nor the sunniest, but the tropics have a fairly liberal rain policy year-round. With the right preparation, outlined below, you can have the trip of a lifetime in any weather.
Koh Samui questions? Start here
The Koh Samui Guide: Now – Let's plan the good stuff! From celebrations to island adventures, use The Koh Samui Guide to plan your entire trip.
Where to stay in December
My pick: Kimpton Kitalay Samui
Celebrate Kimpton Kitalay's second Christmas and New Year. (It won't be a hardship). A superb spot on Choeng Mon Beach for both couples and families; there are a few two-bedroom pool villas for groups of four. An ideal spot if you like low-key fun, beautiful design and superb food. (Its beachfront restaurant, FishHouse, is excellent – more so when celebrating). I have it on good authority that Kimpton's New Year's Eve party goes late.
Hotel Tip: Compelling reasons to be decisive – For a quick-start on finding somewhere to stay last-minute, see my recommendations for where to stay on Koh Samui. The December holiday period is peak-peak-peak season on Koh Samui. Villas tend to book out months in advance, and some resorts require a seven-night minimum stay. As such, if you're booking last minute and find availability somewhere you think looks nice – book it. It won't be there when you return after "thinking about it". Towards Christmas, many resorts only have availability in their most expensive room categories. But a 628 m²/6700ft² private pool villa doesn't sound like the worst news, right?
More hotel ideas
- Mid-range: Chaweng Garden Beach Resort
- Couples: Centara Reserve Samui
- Families: Melati Beach Resort & Spa
Hotel questions? Start here
What to pack for December
Excited to take part in some Christmas dinners, New Years parties and other events? Whether or not you choose to wear head-to-toe linen like me, this is the travel steamer I swear by. We've been in a committed relationship for years: it works in the U.S./Canada and Thailand – no adapter needed, it's dual-voltage magic. Pull crumpled clothes out of your suitcase and steam them back to life in minutes.
If you're going to forget anything in your pre-departure frenzy, let it be a small blonde child named Kevin and not your mosquito repellent. Given Koh Samui's high humidity in December (as rainy season wanes) – mosquitoes get very greedy for their Christmas dinner. The repellent above is top amongst my tried-and-tested favourites for completely avoiding mosquito bites in Thailand. It's DEET-free and totally natural. Rest of world, fear not, see some wonderful alternatives and more tips to avoid mosquitoes in Thailand.
You'll want to pack quality mosquito repellent for Samui at every time of year, but particularly so when rain is likelier in the forecast. December’s reasonable possibility of showers? Reach for the Incognito. Regular blog readers know my fanatical devotion to this brand's entire product line but the loofah soap (with a citronella, mosquito-repelling bar of soap inside) particularly appeals when you're switching into summer gear.
If you’re lucky, your long list of things to do this month (between Christmas shopping, sending cards, dressing your dog in reindeer antlers) will include packing for Koh Samui. From celebratory meals to afternoon adventures and fantastic shopping, The Koh Samui Guide will help you to plan your entire trip.
Packing questions? Start here
It’s a hectic time of year, but packing is the final step before nothing but gluttony and lazy days. For a massive head-start, see:
Tip: Pack a rainy day contingency plan. Given the likelihood of seeing some rain in December, I really recommend bringing some fun stuff to bust out on rainy days. Especially if you're coming with kids (or men-children). Whether games, books – even colouring books – it's great to bring back-up for anyone in your group who gets bored easily. And then whinges about it. More games for them = more uninterrupted cocktail time for you.
Weather in December
- Temperature: 26.5°C / 80°F
- Sunshine (hours/day): 7
- Rainy days: 9 days (150 mm / 6 inches)
- Sea temperature: 27°C / 81°F
What’s the weather like on Koh Samui in December?
The good news: Rainy season should be over. (Should be). In late December we officially say goodbye to Koh Samui's rainy season and celebrate the re-opening of Angthong Marine Park (typically December 23rd).
How much does it rain on Koh Samui in December?
Does it rain on Koh Samui in December? Yes. But I’ll sugar-coat it. You’re far likelier to see heavy, consistent rain in early December than towards the Christmas/New Year period. In fact, the chance of rain in a day falls by half from Dec 1 to Dec 31.
Is it rainy season in December?
It might be? Shouldn't be but might? What if you were so relaxed and well fed you didn't care? You can't go wrong with a spa day on Samui, nor a lazy day on an outdoor sofa with great coffee and a new book. I assure you there's tons to do in any weather.
December events calendar
December 2023 events
Your December FAQs
What are the best things to do on Koh Samui in December?
Christmas on Koh Samui
If you’re coming to Koh Samui for Christmas, rest assured: just about every restaurant on the island will have a Christmas dinner of some description (at every price point). If you have your heart set on a table with a particular view, do book as early as possible. While Christmas is very much an adopted holiday in Thailand, the decorations are nothing short of delightful.
New Year's Eve
Plan to celebrate New Year on Koh Samui? Expect to repeat much the same as above (an enjoyable process), hopefully with yet more champagne and a lot of fireworks.
Things to do
- Book a private minibus for an island tour
- Enjoy a sunset stand-up paddleboard tour
- Set sail on a brunch cruise to Koh Phangan
The Koh Samui Guide
Koh Samui will easily provide the beach holiday you’re dreaming of and, with a little preparation and a sense of adventure, you can enjoy any rainy day soggy sideshows in equal measure. Find more ‘glass half full’ honesty and insight in The Koh Samui Guide. In it, you’ll get more activity ideas and logistical tips for every kind of weather (plus find out what not to do when it rains).
What are the beaches like on Koh Samui in December?
Views vs beachfront accommodation: Prioritise good views over beach access. December is the tail-end of Koh Samui's rainy season and perfect blue-sky weather isn't guaranteed. The ocean can be rough and, on many beaches, the tide comes up quite high at this time of year. As such, you might favour properties with ocean views (or private pools) over beachfront accommodation. This way you get to enjoy the island in any weather, without paying premium prices for a beach you might not be able to use every day.
Koh Samui parties in December?
- Lipa Noi: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Koh Samui
- Budget: Lub d Koh Samui Chaweng Beach
- Koh Phangan: Full Moon Party
Is December or January better on Koh Samui?
Did you know? January is one of the cooler months of the year on Koh Samui, with lows dipping to a ‘frigid’ 24.1°C (75°F).
Is Koh Samui busy in December?
While early and mid December are quiet (owing to rainy season), Christmas and New Year are Samui’s peak period. If you've already read The Koh Samui Guide and have some particular activities on your must-do list: book them now. Spas, restaurants and popular classes book out through the Christmas/New Year period. There's no First World Problem like calling for a massage and being told: "you can come in three days' time".
Is Koh Samui or Phuket better in December?
- Temperature (avg): 26.5°C on Koh Samui vs 27°C in Phuket
- Sunshine (hours): 7 on Koh Samui vs 8 in Phuket
- Rainy days (avg): 9 days (150 mm) on Koh Samui vs 10 days (60 mm) in Phuket
- Sea temperature: 27°C on Koh Samui vs 28°C in Phuket
What are hotel rates like for Koh Samui in December? How do they compare between December and January?
- My pick: Kimpton Kitalay Samui – £468 (US$578)
- Mid-range: Chaweng Garden Beach Resort – £108 (US$133)
- Couples: Centara Reserve Samui – £394 (US$487)
- Families: Melati Beach Resort & Spa – £263 (US$325)
- My pick: Kimpton Kitalay Samui – £294 (US$363)
- Mid-range: Chaweng Garden Beach Resort – £294 (US$363)
- Couples: Centara Reserve Samui – £117 (US$144)
- Families: Melati Beach Resort & Spa – £171 (US$211)
Between the four hotels, December rates range from 121% to 159% higher than January. Expect to pay a premium during the holiday period and book early or expect to find little inventory. Rates via Booking.com for a random night in December 2023.
Can I swim in the sea on Koh Samui in December?
Plan on pool swimming as big waves are common at this time of year.
When are sunrise and sunset on Koh Samui in December? What time does it get dark?
Enjoy the last sunrise of the year at 6:35am on the 31st, with sunset at 6:10pm.
What can’t you do on Samui in December?
Quite likely, you can’t find a last-minute ticket on Bangkok Airways as they almost always sell out over the holiday period. As with accommodations, plan to make your bookings in advance – this isn’t the best time of year to wing it.
Tip: If Christmas is fast approaching and you haven't yet made your bookings, you'll want to do so sooner than later. Flights, hotels, rental cars and other logistical necessities sell out over the Christmas/New Year period as it's Koh Samui's peak travel season:
Koh Samui in December
The Koh Samui Guide: For really helpful detail, please see The Koh Samui Guide. It has an entire chapter full of rainy day activities (also useful when you're trying to hide from the sun).
“I just bought your guidebook for the first time few days ago and I love it. So many great tips for our trip for Christmas this year (it will be our first time on Ko Samui). I already booked a boat tour from your recommendations. Thank you, congrats on the new edition and have a great day!” – Zosia
Weather details via Weather Spark, which promises that “snow is exceptionally unlikely to fall at this location in December”.