So What is the best time of year to visit Chiang Mai?
If you do have the luxury of choosing the time of year to visit northern Thailand and the wonderful city of Chiang Mai, then you may want to consider the best time to visit.
November is a great month as the rainy season is coming to an end, waterfalls are flowing full, the air is clear, views are great, the forests/landscapes are extremely green, the rice in the rice paddies is nearing maturity and after many months of rain, the air temperature is markedly cooler. The annual Loi Kratong festival is usually held this month so consider scheduling your trip to coincide with this traditional Thai festival.
From November to February temperatures in the mountains can get very cold, temperatures at the top of Doi Inthanon often approach freezing point and if you are trekking in the hills then expect some very cool temperatures (especially at night)
November marks the start of the dry season and there will be very little rainfall from November to April. Because of the lack of rain, vegetation will begin to dry and brown off as we progress through this period until April. The month of April will usually see the first rains of the year. Rains will gradually increase in intensity and reach their peak in the months of August and September.
From the start of February, the air starts to haze up. The burning of fields and forests has become a serious problem over the years and the measures taken to control this has been ineffective. If you are visiting for a short period of time the smokey air is probably something you can deal with, although if you have any health condition which is sensitive to poor air quality fo may want to skip a visit between February and April when Chiang Mai experiences its worst air quality.
Remember Chiang Mai is a busy vibrant city and is great to visit any time of year If you do have some flexibility in the time of year then choose a period which you will find agreeable but if you do find yourself here at the height of the rainy season do not worry. Most activities are possible all year round, Chiang Mai definitely does not shut down and you will enjoy cheaper accommodation prices, fewer tourists, and stunning green landscapes and vistas! Luckily rainfall is usually confined to short (but heavy) showers so bring a raincoat and an umbrella and enjoy what Chiang Mai has to offer whatever the year