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BY Belinda Wilson

So here comes September when the rainy season really kicks into gear. In fact the rainy season in Thailand can be a tough time if you’re not prepared for it. It’s the low tourist season for a reason as many travelers don’t want to get wet, have to alter their plans due to inclement weather or find themselves held up in bars and restaurants due to downpours. However expats in Thailand can often feel that the inconvenience of frequent rain showers can reap rewards. This season strips humidity from the air after rainfall making the air fresher and the heat more bearable. Rainy season also makes the beaches less crowded, hotels less expensive and can give rise to more bargain offers around town. In fact the
rainy season can actually be quite OK if you are comfortably prepared for it. Here’s how:


Have a good Umbrella

It’s really easy to find things for cheap in Thailand, but an umbrella during rainy season is not one thing you should skimp on. The last thing you want is your third 300 baht umbrella to break again, right in the middle of a downpour.Spend more to get more uses and less accidents and it’ll pay for itself. We recommend something small with emphasis is on the word “compact” as pavements in Thailand tend to be quite narrow and you may have to drop, dip and duck with your brolly to avoid taking someone’s eye out. Also you want something that’s easy to carry around on a daily basis as you really never know when the skies will suddenly open up.


Wear the right Shoes

Since your feet are the first parts of your body to get wet during rainy season, it’s important to invest in the right shoes. Of course you’ll want something waterproof, but there’s more to it than that. Flip flops are absolutely the worst shoes you can wear during rainy season as they can easily slip off your feet and have no traction making you slip and fall. These are the shoes that you’re most likely to lose while walking through a puddle, so get shoes that can be strapped on or secured somehow to avoid losing them. However shoes that catch water, like boots, boat shoes or slippers will make you feel like you’re still standing in a puddle even though the rain ended an hour ago. If you must wear shoes like this, bring an extra pair of socks as nothing is worse than spending a day with wet feet. Yuck!


Have suitable clothing

Leather is the worst thing you can possibly wear during rainy season, so avoid this at all costs. Not only will it shrink on you while you’re wearing it, it’ll also make you hot, sticky, and will lose its shape and of course avoid suede which will stain easily in the rain.

Certain fabrics are highly absorbent, stick to the skin when wet, and dry slowly or just stay wet and with so many fabric blends available these days it’s not always easy to know what clothes will be best for the wet weather. So one way to test them is to wash your clothes and let them air dry outside, check back on them in a half hour and see what’s damp and what’s almost dry.

Remember that uneven surfaces can create deep and unavoidable puddles, so you may have no choice but to walk through one. In this case, it’s best to wear shorts or skirts that are knee-length or higher to avoid soaking up the puddle.


…..and suitable accessories

Hats that have a wide enough brim to prevent water from streaming into your eyes are incredibly helpful to wear, whether you have an umbrella or not. Just get something that you like, because the humidity will inevitably give you hat hair and you’ll end up wearing it all day. Or if you have an umbrella and don’t want hat hair, sunglasses with light lenses can help keep the water out of your eyes and will still allow you to see on darker days. Remember contrary to popular belief, rainy season does not mean that it will rain for two or three months straight. It just means you may see showers in the mornings, evenings, or different times of the day. However, when it does rain it pours and you don’t want your electronic accessories to fall victim of that. If you can’t find a waterproof cell phone case or a small ocean-bag to keep it in, make sure you always carry a fresh plastic bag in case of sudden downpours.


Stay safe

If you get caught outside in the rain and lighting begins to strike, you must avoid water and high ground. Avoid open spaces and all metal objects, including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors and power tools, etc. Whatever you do don’t stand under a tree! Find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van – not a Tuk Tuk! Rather than sprint home to get inside as quick as possible, be safe and duck into a supermarket of 7/11 for shelter. Better to wait 15 minutes than break a leg!


Remember 4 legged pals

Many street dogs and feral cats struggle during the rainy season. Their normal environment is disrupted; sleeping spots are wet and uninhabitable and food in short supply due to less people traffic and floor food washed away by the rain. Put some food out for that local mutt that looks a tad on the thin side or the kitten that miaows each time you walk past.