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The Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai 2023 (Recommended)

abbey in front a spirt box out front of the ginger farm this was taken in the winter which is one of the best times to visit chiang mai

You need to know the best time to visit Chiang Mai? I have got you covered! I, Abbey Rae, have spend the last year living in Chiang Mai, and I am so ready to give all the best details!

Chiang Mai, Thailand’ is northern gem! It is known as the ‘Rose of the North’ and this enchanting city promises a blend of local traditions and modern attractions that cater to every kind of traveler. Whether you’re a history lover, a foodie, an adventurer, or just looking for a serene getaway, Chiang Mai will deliver perfectly.

In this guide on the best time to visit Chiang Mai, we’ll delve into the city’s captivating festivals, must-do activities, and handy travel tips, all while unveiling the best time to visit. So grab a cup of Thai tea or a Chang and prepare for a deep dive into the heart of Northern Thailand, and one of my favorite cities in the world. Let’s get started!

The Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

Carter in front of one of the wats in Chiang Mai with his camera wearing a black shirt and tan pants

Chiang Mai Weather by Month

Experience the charm of Chiang Mai, a city that changes its mood with every turn of the calendar. Each month in Chiang Mai brings with it a unique weather pattern, creating a different ambiance and offering something new to explore. Here I will explain the Chiang Mai weather year-round.

MonthAverage Temperature (°C)Average Temperature (°F)Rainfall (mm)
January15 – 2959 – 847
February16 – 3261 – 905
March19 – 3466 – 9313
April23 – 3673 – 9750
May24 – 3475 – 93158
June24 – 3275 – 90132
July24 – 3175 – 88161
August24 – 3175 – 88236
September23 – 3173 – 88228
October22 – 3172 – 88122
November19 – 3066 – 8653
December15 – 2859 – 8220
Chiang Mai temperature by month guide

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai Thailand

Heading to Chiang Mai and wondering how to make the most of your trip? Here’s a Chiang Mai breakdown of what to expect with handy tips tailored to the city’s unique weather conditions.

Check for the Chiang mai weather forecast during your trip.

a beautiful wat in the city of chiang mai thailand. this was taken during sunset and there are beautiful pink flowers in the front

November to February – Cool Season in Chiang Mai November to February | Peak Season

As the year winds down, so do the temperatures. From November to February, Chiang Mai weather in November reaching lows of 59°F (15°C). The weather during these months is cooler and dry, making it an ideal time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Generally, Chiang Mai weather best time to visit is from November to February.

Rainy Season in Chiang Mai July to October

If you are the type who finds beauty in the rain, you’ll absolutely love Chiang Mai from June to October. You will have to deal with the occasional downpour, but the trade-off is worth it. While this period sees more rainfall, it’s also when the city’s surrounding landscapes are at their greenest.

Waterfalls like the sticky waterfall, gush and the landscapes are so lush they seem straight out of a painting!

The temperatures during Chiang Mai rainy season stay between 25-35°C (77-95°F) which is still warm enough for plenty of adventures. And the rain cools everything down and never lasts all day.

abbey walking through a green forest with orange pants on and a white tank top. she is gently touching the greenery around her

Hot Season in Chiang Mai March to June

As we roll into March, things start to heat up a bit. From March through May, Chiang Mai turns up the thermostat, with temperatures hitting a sizzling 104°F (40°C). But don’t let that scare you! This is when the city comes alive with water festivals, including the world-famous Songkran Water Festival in April!

If you’re not bothered by the Chiang Mai Thailand climate and are interested in experiencing Thai culture at its most vibrant, consider visiting between March and May.

January – February – Best Time to Visit North Thailand

If you’re the kind of person who loves crisp, cool air and comfortable temperatures, than January or February is when to visit Chiang Mai for you.

It’s during Thailand in the winter is at its coolest, with average temperatures fluctuating between a cozy 59-82°F (15-28°C). This is the best time to visit Chiang Mai and explore the outdoors without breaking a sweat!

a cityscape view of the town of chiang mai. this was taken in the fall which is a great time to visit chiang mai.

The Burning Season in Chiang Mai

Known as the “burning season,” is between January and April, with the peak being in February, March, and April. This time of the year happens because local farmers burn crop remains. This causes an increase in air pollution levels. When the smoking season is in full swing it hard to be outside and is the worst time to visit Chiang Mai.

Travel Tips Based on Chiang Mai Weather

Packing for Cool Season in Chiang Mai (January-February)

Chiang Mai can be surprisingly cool, especially in the evenings. You get the best of both worlds here and it is the very best time to visit Chiang Mai in my opinion.

  • Light Jacket or Sweater: For cooler evenings.
  • Linen Shorts: Comfortable for daytime exploring.
  • Closed-Toe Shoes: Useful for evening walks when temperatures drop.
  • T-Shirts: Perfect for the warm afternoons.
  • Scarf or Shawl: Great for layering and covering up in religious places.

Packing for Chiang Mai the Hot Season (March-May)

Bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the very intense sun.

  • T-Shirts: These are ideal for the hot weather as they are breathable and comfortable. Choose ones that are loose fitting and made from natural fibers like cotton or linen
  • Lightweight Shorts: These are perfect for daytime exploring. Make sure they are made from a breathable material to keep you cool.
  • Flowy Skirts or Airy Pants: These are not only stylish, but also practical for the hot climate. They allow air circulation and can provide protection from the sun.
  • Slip-On Footwear: Easy to put on and take off, these are ideal for visiting temples or other places where you might need to remove your shoes.
  • Lightweight Long-Sleeved Shirts: These can be useful in the evenings when the temperature can drop slightly or to protect against mosquitoes.

Stay hydrated and plan your outdoor activities for the cooler morning hours or after the sun sets. If you like hot days, this is the best time to go to Chiang Mai Thailand!

abbey in front of a bunch of flowers in the chiang mai botanical gardens. they flowers are in full bloom

What to Wear in the Chiang Mai Rainy Season (June-October)

An umbrella, poncho or raincoat is a must-have. You may want to bring some water proof shoes as well. You can easily buy any of these items once you arrive in Chiang Mai.

  • Rain Jacket or Poncho: Crucial for staying dry during downpours.
  • Waterproof Footwear: To keep your feet dry and avoid slipping.
  • Umbrella: Compact ones are handy for sudden showers that are common during Chiang Mai July weather.
  • Quick-Dry Clothing: Fabrics that dry quickly are ideal as they won’t stay damp for long after a rain shower.
  • Shorts: Even during the rainy season and Chiang Mai in September can be warm, so shorts are still a good choice.

Clothes for November-December | Best Time to Travel to Chiang Mai

  1. Lightweight Clothing: The climate is generally warm, so pack breathable, comfortable clothing.
  2. Long Pants and Skirts: These are respectful clothing for visiting wats and can also help protect against the sun and mosquitoes at night.
  3. Comfortable Footwear: You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking exploring the city and going on excursions.
  4. Sun Protection: Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen are always important to protect from the sun during Chiang Mai November weather.
  5. Light Jacket or Sweater: Chiang Mai can have cooler evenings and mornings, especially in December, so it’s wise to bring a light jacket or sweater.

Make sure to check the dates and book one of the Best Hotels in Chiang Mai in advance as this is a popular time of year draws crowds.

Tips to Know Before Visiting Chiang Mai

Before you start your adventure during the best time to visit Chiang Mai, here are some useful tips to help you plan your trip:

Respect Local Customs: Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” and showing respect for local customs goes a long way.

  • Dress modestly when visiting temples
  • Always remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple
  • Never touch someone’s head or point your feet at them or a Buddha image

Stay Hydrated and Protect Yourself from the Sun: With Chiang Mai’s tropical climate, it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. Always carry a water bottle and use sunscreen regularly.

Bargaining is Common: In markets and street stalls, bargaining is part of the shopping experience. However, do it with a smile and remember that the aim is to reach a price that’s acceptable to both parties. Try it out at the Warorot Market, its inside and a great place to learn how to bargain.

Try Local Food: Thai cuisine is renowned worldwide, and the food in Chiang Mai has its own unique dishes like Khao Soi, a creamy coconut curry noodle soup. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local street food.

the famous dish in northern thailand, Khao Soi. there is a blue bowl full of khoa soi, a white bowl with the veggies, and a Thai tea in the back round

Transportation: The most common modes of transportation are tuk-tuks, red trucks (Songthaew), Make sure to agree on a price before starting your journeyand motorbike taxis. Make sure to agree on a price before starting your journey. All of these are available during the low season Chiang Mai. For longer transports like buses and trains, check out 12g0.asia

Bolt and Maxim are the best ride sharing app. Also, you can rent a scooter to explore the city at your own pace. Wear a helmet and be sure to get a motorbike international licenses. (They will still rent it to you, but you may get pulled over and have to pay a fine of about 1000 baht).

Travel Insurance: It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, as accidents can happen even if you visit during the best time to visit Chiang Mai .

Currency: The official currency is the Thai Baht. Cash is king in Thailand, and most bars in Chiang Mai will not take your card. ATMs are available everywhere.

Festivals in Chiang Mai

Immersing yourself in the festivities in Chiang Mai is one of the best ways to experience the vibrant culture of Thailand. Here’s a rundown of some of the city’s most celebrated festivals:

Yi Peng Lantern Festival (November): Topping the list is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. This is an enchanting spectacle that takes place during the cool season. Thousands of lanterns, each carrying a wish or prayer, are released into the night sky, creating an unbelievable sight. Seeing this makes it the best time of year to visit Chiang Mai.

a bunch of orange lanterns during the latter festival in chiang mai. this is one of the best time to visit chiang mai

Loi Krathong (November): Held at the same time as Yi Peng, Loi Krathong is another festival of lights, but with a twist. Participants release small floating baskets or ‘krathongs’ decorated with flowers and candles onto the city’s waterways. It’s a beautiful tradition meant to pay respects to the water spirits.

Songkran Water Festival (April): Want to join the world’s biggest water fight? Then visit Chiang Mai in April for Songkran. This festival marks the Thai New Year with locals and tourists in city-wide water fights. It’s a fun and refreshing way to beat the heat!

Songkram is one of the best times to visit chiang mai. here people are splashing each other in the street with buckets and water guns

Flower Festival (February): If you’re visiting Chiang Mai in February, don’t miss the Chiang Mai Flower Festival. The city bursts into bloom and hosts a grand parade featuring floats that are made entirely from flowers. It’s a colorful display of the Northern Thailands floral abundance. This makes February the best month to visit Chiang Mai Thailand.

Inthakin City Pillar Festival (May-June): A lesser-known but deeply important event for locals is the Inthakin City Pillar Festival. During this 8-day event where locals pay respects to the city’s guardian spirits and ask for blessings of peace and prosperity.

What to do in Chiang Mai

After you figure out the Chiang Mai best time to visit, you need to know what to do!

Explore the Chiang Mai Old Town: The heart of Chiang Mai is its Old City, an area filled with beautiful temples, bustling markets, and plenty of the best cafes in Chiang Mai . You can spend hours wandering the ancient lanes, discovering hidden gems at every turn.

Visit Inthanon National Park: A visit to Chiang Mai isn’t complete without a trip to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a stunning temple located atop a mountain. The climb up the 300-step staircase is worth it for the panoramic views of the city. Visiting the Doi Inthanon National is one of the best hikes in Chiang Mai .

Shopping at Night Bazaar and Markets in Chiang Mai : For your shopping needs, the Night Bazaar is a paradise. From handicrafts and clothes to street food and souvenirs, you can find almost anything in Chiang Mai.

Elephant Nature Park: Spend a day at the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants. You can feed and bathe the elephants, all while learning about conservation efforts. Check out the other tours in Chiang Mai.

two elephants loving on each other in chiang mai. this was taken during the summer which is one of the best times to visit chiang mai

Take a Thai Cooking Class: What better way to immerse yourself in Thai culture than by learning to cook its famous cuisine? Many cooking schools in Chiang Mai offer classes where you can learn to make local dishes like Pad Thai or Green Curry.

Visit a Traditional Thai Spa: After a day of exploring, nothing beats a relaxing massage at a traditional Thai spa. It’s the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate. Surprising, this is one of the top cheap things to do in Chaing Mai.

What is the Rainy Season in Chiang Mai?

a dude in front of waterfall during the rainy season in chiang mai

The rainy season in Chiang Mai lasts from May to October. During this period, Chiang May experiences the majority of its yearly rainfall. The rain often comes in the afternoon or nighttime, and rarely lasts the entire day. By November, the weather typically becomes drier and stays that way until April.

How many days do you need in Chiang Mai?

the famous dish in northern thailand, Khao Soi. there is a blue bowl full of khoa soi, a white bowl with the veggies, and a Thai tea in the back round

3-3 days in Chiang is what you need. This allows you time to explore the Old City, visit a few temples, enjoy local cuisine at the night markets, and possibly take a day trip to an elephant sanctuary or the Doi Inthanon National park.

Is it Better to go to Phuket or Chiang Mai?

two elephants loving on each other in chiang mai. this was taken during the summer which is one of the best times to visit chiang mai

Its hard to say if Chiang Mai or Phuket is better. If you’re after sun, sea, and sand, then Phuket is your best bet. But if you prefer city culture, history, and mountainous landscapes, you will like Chiang Mai more. Both offer amazing experiences, so you ill have to pick what suits your travel style best.

What is the Warmest Month in Chiang Mai?

china town of Chiang Mai Thailand during the hot august days with a car out front and plently of people walking about

April is the warmest month in Chiang Mai. During April, average temperatures range from 95-97.7°F (35-36.5°C) to a low of about 71.6°F (22°C). So if you’re planning a visit and looking for the warmest weather, April is your best bet.

Is May a Good time to Visit Chiang Mai?

a fern in chiang mai. the fern is green and the background is a black.

Yes, May is a good time to visit Chiang Mai. While chiang mai in may is the start of the rainy season, the showers are usually brief and bring relief from the heat of the hot sday. The landscapes are lush and green, and the crowds are smaller. However, if you prefer dry weather, you might want to consider visiting between November and February.

Is August a Good Time to visit Chiang Mai?

the mountains of chiang mai at sunset, this was taken during the winter which is one of the best time to visit chiang mai

yes, August is a good time to visit Chiang Mai! Although it falls during the rainy season, there are still bright days that can last from 3 to 4 days, sometimes you can go a whole week without rain. The weather is generally warm but cool, with temperatures ranging from 70—83°F (21—28°C).

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Abbey Rae

Fulltime Traveller, Blogger, SEO Writer

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