November to February in Chiang Mai enjoys the best weather, with cool, pleasant temperatures. It is the prime tourist season.
The weather of northern Thailand, including Chiang Mai, differs from the traditional division of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The region has three distinct seasons: the cool season, the hot season and the rainy season. Chiang Mai is cooler than Bangkok, due to its geographical location.
Best Times to Visit Chiang Mai
Though Chiang Mai is a year-round destination, the best time to visit Chiang Mai weather-wise is from November to February. The weather is not-so-hot and mostly sunny, which is very suitable for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
You will find big discounts if you travel between July and October due to the rainy season. It is usually the cheapest time of year to go to Chiang Mai.
Weather in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai has a tropical savanna climate, tempered by the low latitude and moderate elevation, with warm to hot weather all year round. Nighttime conditions during the dry season can be cool though.
Chiang Mai has a particularly chronic problem with burning (and resulting haze) in March. The mountain views disappear as the Ping River valley chokes under a dusty haze that can often be a health hazard.
Generally speaking, the weather of northern Thailand is far more temperate than that of central or southern Thailand. Northern Thailand, with its mountainous terrain and location in the Asian interior, brings cooler temperatures and less humidity.
However, there is still quite a bit of precipitation during the rainy season and the weather gets very chilly once you head up into the nearby mountains.
Cool Season in Chiang Mai (November to February)
The best time to visit Chiang Mai (weather wise) is from November to February. The temperatures are lower, during the day it is around 25°C (77°F) and during the night it can be as cold as 13°C (55°F).
If you travel up to the mountains, for example, Doi Inthanon, you might experience temperatures as low as 3°C (37°F).
During this season rain is rare, so humidity is low. You will find it very comfortable when walking around the city. The sky is blue, without clouds. Another good thing is that you don't need to turn on the air conditioning at night.
It is wise to bring all-weather gear along; particularly if you intend hiring a motorcycle to get around, or if going on a mountain trek. However, don't leave out your summer clothes, as midday temperatures can climb up to 30°C (86°F).
Bring your photography gear if you love taking pictures; this is the best season to get stunning photos of Chiang Mai. It is recommended to go early in the morning if you are going to tourist spots because it will be crowded.
Festivals and Events
If you plan a trip in November, you will catch the Yi Peng Festival, and in February you will see the Chiang Mai flower festival.
Hot Season in Chiang Mai (March to June)
Tourists still visit Chiang Mai during this period; it's a good time to look for deals on hotels and flights.
Even if the temperature during the day is high you can spend the afternoon in the pool and head out after sunset.
April is the hottest month in Chiang Mai. Temperatures can rise up to 40°C (104°F) and rain is rare.
It is very important to drink lots of water and bring bottles of water while you are traveling.
Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are also important for you to bring as the weather can be very hot in the middle of the day. Cotton shirts, shorts, and flip flops are the gear you might wear during this season.
Festivals and Events
Songkran (Thai New Year): The Songkran festival lasts for three days in April, and the roads around the old part of the ancient city become one giant water party for that time.
Inthakhin Festival: The Inthakhin takes place mainly at Wat Chedi Luang. Every year, citizens of Chiang Mai convene for a week-long worship ritual, believed to be the annual blessing for the city.
Rainy Season in Chiang Mai (July to October)
July to October is the wettest season in Chiang Mai. Rainy season does not necessarily mean it rains all day; precipitation often comes as a quick, short blast of nature.
Temperatures are slightly lower than in the preceding months but it is seriously humid. Rainfall is usually heaviest in September.
The rainy season is otherwise a pleasant time to visit the north. The rains bring respite from the heat, and the landscape returns to its strikingly gorgeous shade of green.
Umbrella and raincoat should be in your luggage. It is also recommended to have mosquito repellant handy.
Don't risk going into rural areas, as there may be flooding; it is better to stay in or near the city.
Festivals and Events
Rocket Festival: The rocket festival usually falls in July. The main purpose of the rocket festival is to pray for rain at the beginning of a new planting season.
Elephant sanctuary: If you don't mind getting a little wet, the rainy season from July to October is ideal for a visit: less crowds and more time with the animals. Find out the Best Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai.
Visit Chiang Mai with Asia Highlights
You may be unsure how best to plan your trip to Chiang Mai. Our experts can help you to be able to enjoy your holiday in Chiang Mai during any season you want! Drop us an inquiry and we will provide the best advice to meet your individual requests.
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