January is the 2nd peak month of the cool season, with temperatures similar to December in Sakon Nakhon, the thermometer plunging to the refreshing ’50s at night. The 1st month of the year is ushered in with fireworks on New Year’s Eve. While the Thai New Year (called Songkran) is celebrated with water festivities in April, during the peak of the hot season, Thais also celebrate the Western New Year’s, and nearly everybody is lighting off small fireworks at the stroke of midnight, as well as larger fireworks displays in Sakon Nakhon city.
The cool Sakon Nakhon weather of the past month has caused all of the leaves to drop from those trees which do lose their leaves (providing a distinctive autumn feel not felt in Central and Southern Thailand). And although we are well past the rainy season, an occasional shower can still occur in January. Many trees still do have leaves, and a few trees, such as the Coral Tree and Golden Trumpet, begin to bloom during January, reaching full bloom in February.
The month of January is a lovely time to walk on nature trails, such as the popular trail at Phu Phan National Park (where the flora is labeled with ID cards), as well as the trails around such beautiful Sakon Nakhon forest temples as Wat Ban Na Phang, because there are fewer bugs to deal with, and there is a lovely contrast between the fallen leaves and the remaining greenery and flower blooms.