Koh Samui
November 1, 2023

Koh Samui in November: What to expect

Going by the book, November is the height of rainy season for this part of Thailand. Meaning? Expect heavy rain and rough seas. But don't panic – there's lots of good news, too. Read on!

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Koh Samui in November

Leaving Koh Samui on a perfect November night

Want an introspective, supremely relaxing and perhaps romantic holiday? Can you list three or more bad choices made by characters in Jurassic Park? With a preference for lazy indulgence, and some common sense, Koh Samui in November could suit you very well.

Is November a good time to visit Koh Samui?

Depending on the author’s preference for glasses half empty or full, you may have read that ‘Koh Samui in November is the worst time of year to come’ – OR – that if you pack an umbrella you’ll barely need it. Which is true? Experiences with Samui’s rainy season vary but I understand why words like ‘monsoon’ have your attention. Koh Samui in November is a gamble, but there are a few certainties.

Koh Samui questions? Start here

The Koh Samui Guide
The Koh Samui Guide

The Koh Samui Guide: More Koh Samui questions? A biased but worthy inclusion; I’ve written the Koh Samui travel guide I'd give my very best friends.

Where to stay in November

My pick: Holiday Inn Resort Samui Bophut Beach

Holiday Inn Resort Samui Bophut Beach

Brand new! The newest, prettiest Holiday Inn you’ve ever seen. Sitting in pole position at the paved edge of Fisherman’s Village, you can enjoy the best of Bophut in any weather. Bars, restaurants, shops and spas are all in a minute's walking distance – just bring your umbrella. Ideal for couples who want to enjoy Bophut’s nightlife and romantic ambience, or for families who want extra cool kids’ bunk rooms. (Don’t miss the two-bedroom suites and Holiday Inn's incredible kids' club).

See Rates + Details

Hotel Tip: In November, your accommodation rates will be at their lowest all year – leaving more in your holiday budget for the full spa menu. With lower occupancy rates, you can expect extra attentive service and to make quick friends with your favourite bar’s happy hour staff. Compared to slightly warmer, slightly drier January – hotel rates on Koh Samui in November can be as much as 20-50% lower.

More hotel ideas

Hotel questions? Start here

What to pack for November

1. 100% Linen Shirt

Hands down – linen is the BEST fabric to pack for Thailand. It’s perfect in November’s high humidity and is pretty much the only thing I pack. Choose a long-sleeved version for the extra sun protection when needed (and double-check the label that it's 100% linen, not a blend). A slightly oversized fit (a la Gen Z) will be more comfortable in Thai heat. Throw in a dual-voltage travel steamer and you’re ready to roll.

2. Incognito Mosquito Repellent

No mosquito bites and no scary chemicals? Here's every reason you'll love the world's best – totally natural – mosquito repellent. It’s game-changing – get excited.

3. Waterproof Phone Case

A Bophut Beach residency means lots of water and maybe even reading in your private pool. As mentioned, you're bound to experience some torrential tropical storms during November as well. Err with caution and bring some extra protection for your phone.

4. Portable Phone Charger

Power cut back-up plan: As a handy just-in-case for your phone, iPad or Kindle, it's a good idea to keep an external battery topped up. Especially if your rainy-day plan depends on downloaded Netflix.

What to wear on Koh Samui in November?

As for your clothing, see what to wear in rainy season (with crucial shoe recommendations, too). You won’t need socks, jumpers/sweaters, scarves, gloves, tights or winter coats. If anyone gave me the chance to wear shorts for even half a day in November – I’d jump at it, rain or no rain.

Packing questions? Start here

In addition to your Thailand packing list, definitely consider packing (A) extra water-proofing bits and (B) entertainment options that don't require power (should you experience an extended power cut). Though they’re getting rarer, power cuts can happen during big storms. They might last a few minutes but, depending where you’re staying, can last a few hours. (Large/high-end resorts will have generators).

Weather in November

Realistic rain expectations: a wet November day

November averages

  • Temperature: 26.5°C / 80°F
  • Sunshine (hours/day): 6
  • Rainy days: 15 days (430 mm / 17 inches)
  • Sea temperature: 27°C / 81°F

What’s the weather like on Koh Samui in November?

Going by the book, November is the height of rainy season for this part of Thailand. Meaning? Expect heavy rain and rough seas. But don't panic – there's lots of good news, too. Read on!

Is it a bad idea to visit Koh Samui in November?

Not necessarily, it depends what you want to do. November on Koh Samui is a great choice if you like to feel intrepid while staying very much stationary. For a relaxing, do-very-little, pampered resort holiday – speaking for myself – I’d definitely take the chance on a November trip. Should the predicted rain not appear – that’s your gain. Should you get a week of half rainy days, half sunshine, again – you win. But as far honest expectations, there’s a reason that hotel and villa rental rates are lower through this period.

Is it sunny on Koh Samui in November?

Will there be any sun? Can we tan in November? Yes, it might rain, but will it? Your guess is as good as mine. Rainy season typically lasts through November in its entirety. It can rain non-stop for seven days. Yet consider where you live, and the last time it was unseasonably hot when it should have been cold. Weather is a weird beast and will always surprise us, no matter the law of averages. You might get days of perfect sun.

A perfectly sunny November day at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui

How much does it rain on Koh Samui in November?

On average, November's total rainfall is 430 mm. That’s almost a foot and a half of rain. As for how/when it chooses to dispense itself, the pattern varies year-to-year. It definitely can rain all day, for a number of days in a row, but that's worst-case. More stats? November is mostly cloudy, with 86% median cloud cover.

Is it rainy season in November?

Oh yes. Throughout November, "the most common forms of precipitation are light rain, thunderstorms, and moderate rain". Basically, all the kinds of rain, plus or minus wet rain. Lashing wet palm leaves add a fitting soundtrack.

November events calendar

November 2023 events

Your November FAQs

What are the best things to do on Koh Samui in November?

In many parts of the world, storm-watching is an attraction in its own right. On Koh Samui, forgo the heavy Gore-Tex weather gear and substitute a nice rum drink. Come expecting a holiday of yoga, reading, lounging, massages, long breakfasts ... long baths? ... and jigsaw puzzles. Doesn’t sound like the ‘worst time ever’ to me.

Weather-proof things to do:

The Koh Samui Guide: How to actually enjoy a Koh Samui rainy day? (Yes, really!) Rather than having your holiday ruined by an afternoon or a few days of rain, try this little trick: Assume it will rain for at least part of your trip. That way, you’ll already have rainy-day activities that you’re looking forward to (and there are many‚ find a full chapter of ideas in The Koh Samui Guide).

Packing tip: Make sure you pack some rainy day entertainment that doesn't need to be plugged in. Waterproof Kindles (and waterproof Uno) suit lazy days propping up the hotel bar. A Kindle is particularly ideal given the chance of power cuts, as its battery lasts forever – and it’s great to read in the dark. A waterproof Kindle is made-to-measure for Samui in November. Keep it relatively well charged and loaded with good books and, if the power goes out, you have weeks of uninterrupted reading until you need a re-charge. Need some reading inspiration? See my favourite novels set in Thailand.

What are the beaches like on Koh Samui in November?

If storms call off a beach day, there’s still lots to love. From a resort side, Samui is very well equipped for rain – huge umbrellas are provided, there are lots of wide overhanging roofs and thick plastic windbreaks roll down when the weather rolls in. Enjoy all the luscious corners of your resort or villa, including tropical outdoor living rooms and weather-proofed salas.

As for occasional power cuts, Samui’s service industry is adept at keeping its customers happy. So while it might take longer to get a coconut shake (from an electric blender), it never stops the pad Thai or fried-bacon-and-egg parade (gas-powered appliances).

This is a fairly typical November day at the beach

Which beach is best in November?

For its resorts’ beautiful, tropical gardens (that look like utter magic in a storm) and short walking distance to Fisherman's Village (under a provided golf umbrella), I favour Bophut during rainy weather.

Koh Samui parties in November?

SEEN Beach Club at Avani Chaweng Samui

Is November or December better on Koh Samui?

November will probably have wetter weather and cloudier days. December will probably have higher hotel rates. From there, the better/best equation is in your hands.

What to expect on Koh Samui in November?

A quiet island. You’ll likely have the island to yourself in November, as other travellers wait for better sunshine odds or school holidays. You’ll have no trouble with restaurant or spa reservations. (Northern hemisphere) kids are in school – giving many resorts an atmosphere much more suited to couples and groups of adult friends.

Is Koh Samui busy in November?

It most definitely is not and that’s why I – committed introvert – absolutely love it. Most of the time you can get a spa appointment or a restaurant reservation (if needed at all) with no notice. You might not be sitting in glorious sunshine by the pool, but you’ll feel as though you’ve got the entire island to yourself.

Is Koh Samui or Phuket better in November?

  • Temperature (avg): 26.5°C on Koh Samui vs 27°C in Phuket
  • Sunshine (hours): 6 on Koh Samui vs 7 in Phuket
  • Rainy days (avg): 15 days (430 mm) on Koh Samui vs 16 days (200 mm) in Phuket
  • Sea temperature: 27°C on Koh Samui vs 29°C in Phuket

What are hotel rates like for Koh Samui in November? How do they compare between November and December?



Between the four hotels, rates range from 31% to 106% comparing November against December. Don’t forget there’s a reason for these discounts – but – if you want to score a superb hotel deal and enjoy nothing but spa days and room service – November is your time to shine. Rates via Booking.com for a random night in November 2023.

A cloudy but relaxing November day at The Jungle Club – bring books!

Can I swim in the sea on Koh Samui in November?

Probably not a good idea. With rougher seas, lots of flotsam and jetsam washes up. Swimming isn’t advisable. A few years ago, a tourist who’d deemed himself ‘a very strong swimmer’ had to be rescued on jet-skis by two Thai hotel staff.

Is November a good time for a wedding or honeymoon on Koh Samui?

Unless you’re a family of frogs, I'm all but certain you want to have your Koh Samui wedding at another time of year.

What can’t you do on Samui in November?

I find Samui’s November thunderstorm’s to pack a Jurassic Park touch of tropical: best enjoyed under a roof, with ice cream, leaving jungle excursions off the itinerary.

Speaking of Dennis Nedry, many interior dirt tracks wash away in heavy rain. I wouldn’t contemplate any jungle activities during or after storms. Even if you’ve better luck than doomed Dennis, it remains a terrible idea. (Plus I read once that snakes can fall out of trees when they’re wet? Unconfirmed, but still worst nightmare).

Island infrastructure continues to improve and new drains have helped a lot with roads prone to flooding. However, certain things will be trickier or even treacherous after heavy rainfall.

Angthong Marine Park will probably be closed and many water-sports or boat trips are probably off the list. Want to tackle waterfalls, try SCUBA diving and get a tan? Hold tight for a month or two, and book your trip for late December, or wait until January or February.

Finally, avoid visiting Big Buddha when it’s wet due to steep tiled steps.

Better plan? See the many rainy day ideas (for kids and adults alike) in The Koh Samui Guide.

Koh Samui in November

The Koh Samui Guide: I never planned on this travel guide becoming ‘my baby’, but I’ve expanded and updated it with obsessive love, care and attention for 8 editions and counting.

“Thank you for the update of the Guide. We are REALLY looking forward to our holiday in Koh Samui in November and this guide will be a great help.” – Neil

Weather details via Weather Spark, which promises that “snow is exceptionally unlikely to fall at this location in November”.