Chiang Mai Weather
Unlike traditional weather patterns, Chiang Mai is a tropical climate and for that reasons it is generally considered to have three “seasons”: hot, cool, and rainy.
The cool season begins in December and continues until February. During this time temperatures generally average in the mid-80s, though it is recommended you pack a warmer layer for night, since the evenings can sometimes become a little chilly. The hot season begins in mid March and lasts until June.
During this time, the daily high can reach up to 104 degrees, and the humidity can also be at an all time high. In Bangkok, in particular, this weather can be unbearable -- though the more mountainous regions like Chiangmai still benefit from cooler evenings and generally cooler weather on average.
The rainy season also begins in June and lasts until the end of October. The weather is much more comfortable with temperature being on average in the high 80’s Fahrenheit during this time. However, it does rain everyday during this time, usually in the late afternoon. If you don’t mind a little rain, it usually only rains for about an hour or two.
While the cool season is usually considered the best time to visit Chiang Mai, because it is the most comfortable weather, the rainy and hot seasons are the best time to find discounted travel. The rainy season in particular is a great time for an eco tour or to observe the jungle, as all the tropical foliage comes alive during this time.
Outdoor Excursions in Chiang Mai
- ATV Tours. This activity, usually included in adventure tours of Chiang Mai, is one of the best ways to cover ground in the muddy and hilly terrain around Chiang Mai. Not only will the ride be thrilling and an exciting adventure activity, but you will also get a more comprehensive feel for the landscape, and see a lot more of the region.
- Visit the Elephants. While elephant riding is usually best avoided and considered unethical, there are still many ways to interact with elephants and support their conservation in the Chiang Mai area. At these centers, one of which being the Elephant Nature Park, you will get ot meet, feed, and bathe rehabilitated elephants and learn why elephant riding is so detrimental.
- River Activities. The Mae Tang river flows through the Chiang Mai area, and is a great way to see some of the area’s incredible scenery, as well as have a great time going whitewater rafting or kayaking. Be aware that the height of the river depends heavily on the time of year, however, so the best time to make a trip to the water is between mid-June until the end of January.
- Trekking. The tropical and untouched mountains of the Chiang Mai area make it a great place to go on a day hike, or even a multi-day trek. It is recommended that you take a guided hike, as the majority of trails are unmarked and therefore hard to navigate on your own. Another option is hiking Thailand’s third tallest mountain, Doi Luang Chiang.
Chiang Mai and other Countries
Even if you aren’t on a complete tour of Thailand, Chiang Mai might be an easy location for you to visit on your tour of Southeast Asia! It’s location nearby to Thailand’s borders with Laos and Myanmar make it easy (and worthwhile) to visit if you are in either country. If you are thinking about crossing country lines to squeeze in this fantastic city on your Asian tour, here's some useful info:
- From Kuala Lumpur, a flight to Chiang Mai is just under 3 hours.
- From Singapore, a flight to Chiang Mai is 3 hours.
- From Vientiane (capital of Laos), a flight with a single transfer will take just under 3 hours.
- From Yangdon (Myanmar), a flight will only take 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- From Mandalay (Myanmar), the plane ride will take 1 hour and 25 minutes direct.
- From Bangkok, a flight to Chiang Mai takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Taking the 12 hour sleeper train ride is also popular amongst travelers who want to take in the scenic Thai countryside views. A bus ride between the two takes 9 to 12 hours.
- From Phuket, a flight is two hours. A bus ride is much more arduous, although some travelers do take the 24 hour journey!