The best time to visit Chiang Mai


Chiang Mai

Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 21/06/2024, 17:00

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

If you want to visit Thailand and see the north of the country you are probably wondering when is the best time to visit Chiang Mai. There is no simple answer to that, but here are a couple of facts that will help you to choose the best time of the year to come to this amazing and diverse city.

Chiang Mai has 3 distinct seasons: hot, rainy and cool. Each of them differs from the others with temperatures and sunshine hours during the day, but that doesn’t change the fact that the weather in Chiang Mai can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Burning Season

Before I get into the individual seasons I would like to touch on this subject first. Many people ask me if it is worth coming to Chiang Mai during the burning season, which occurs from February to mid-April.

The farmers in the north burn the leftovers from the crops during that time, causing extreme pollution and smog around Chiang Mai. There is no other cheap and effective way of getting rid of it and every year the city is affected by the suffocating smog. The government tries to fight with this practice and comes up with solutions to reduce the smoke, but nothing much helps here.

The air in Chiang Mai during burning season is bad. It is not Peking or Shanghai, but there are days when the sky is grey and you cannot see the surrounding mountains. This time should definitely be avoided by people suffering from asthma, or other breathing difficulties.

Otherwise, the weather in Chiang Mai is perfect during this time of the year. If you are coming here only for a few days you will definitely be able to enjoy the city.

Hot Season

Hot season lasts from March until June and that’s the time when everything is dry and the temperatures range from 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Although, I have experienced days when it was as hot as 40-45 degrees.

This is my least favourite season. The air is dry and it seems that there is nothing to breathe with. It gets extremely hot during the day and the best thing is to stay at home until around 3 or 4. I don’t want to discourage you from coming here at that time, but bear in mind that your sightseeing might not be as pleasant. Nights during the hot season don’t bring much relief either. Remember to rent a room with air conditioning if you are planning to stay here during those months.

Rainy Season

Rainy season occurs from July to mid-September. The temperatures are milder, but it is a bit more humid. It rains almost every day, but only for an hour or so in the morning and in the afternoon. Hardly ever does it rain whole day, or a couple of days in the row.

The weather in Chiang Mai during this time of the year is not hat you might expect for your holiday, especially if it’s your first time in Thailand. It’s not as sunny and the sky tends to be grey more often. However, it is a good time to visit Chiang Mai as it provides some relief from the hot and steamy months that have just passed.

Cool Season

This is the best time to come to Chiang Mai. From mid-September to mid-February the temperatures go down. During the day it is around 25 degrees and during the night it can be as cold as 13 degrees. If you go up to the mountains to Pai or Doi Inthanon you might experience a real Thai winter with temperatures as low as 3 degrees at night. Even frost might occur during that time of the year.

It is a pleasant time for sightseeing around Chiang Mai, but also the most popular among visitors, so it might feel a little crowded.