Bursting with culture and color, Thailand’s capital Bangkok features traditional gold palaces that bask in the shadows of soaring office towers while the streets feature vibrant market stalls and beaming neon signs. This is a destination full of contradictions and infectious energy.

Winter never really comes to Bangkok. The change in weather is instead more noticeable with the transition from wet season to dry season. Bangkok is said to have the highest average temperature of anywhere in the world. The city reaches its peak from March to August when the days usually reach well over 85 degrees and occasionally into the early 100s. The southwest monsoon arrives in May and lasts through into November. During these months rain and humidity occur with August and September copping the brunt of it. Even in the dry months from December to April the average maximum temperatures still measure in the early 80s.

Though the temperatures are still high, the dry months are the best time to travel to Bangkok because there is less humidity and downpours are less frequent. This period is also the peak travel season as it occurs during the Christmas and holiday breaks. During this time it can get quite busy, but then again Bangkok in general is a bustling city.

Holidaying in the summer months shouldn’t be totally ruled out though. In mid-April, the hottest part of the year, Thais celebrates Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year. This celebration is the biggest in the Thai calendar and sees locals in Bangkok and other cities take to the streets to throw water at each other. The tradition originates from water blessings and has grown to all out water fights. Be prepared to get wet and laugh a lot.