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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Chiang Mai in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Chiang Mai in 2024

What's the best time to visit Chiang Mai?

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is in December and January, offering warm days and cool nights, ideal for exploring the city’s numerous attractions. These months feature comfortable temperatures, low humidity, and minimal rainfall, ensuring outdoor plans are less likely to be disrupted.

Additionally, this period typically sees fewer tourists due to holiday schedules, allowing for a more relaxed experience and better access to popular destinations.

Thailand can be a tricky country to anticipate. If it’s not storming, the countryside might be burning due to planned recultivation efforts by the farmers. These are not reasons to avoid Chiang Mai (far from it), though the climate can be surprising if you’re not ready for it.

Whether you’re most concerned with getting the best price, enjoying the best weather, or enjoying the city without having to fight the crowds, we’ve have done a little research so you’re more likely to get the trip you want. Let us show you the best time to visit Chiang Mai!

The Overall Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

Famous tea plantation as seen in the morning during the best time to visit Chiang Mai with haze and fog in the valley

Bambell/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is December and January. By traveling either very late or very early in the year, you’ll get temperatures that are warm but not hot.

Nights are cool but not cold. Take t-shirts during the day and a sweater at night, and you should be just fine. These months don’t just have great temperatures, they also have low humidity and less precipitation.

If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outside, which you should, given how much there is to see and do, you can be relatively certain that your plans won’t get washed out.

And, while this is the best time to visit, many families can’t do so because of their holiday schedules. You’ll be battling fewer crowds than normal and have more opportunities to get into all of the most popular spots.

Cheapest Time to Visit Chiang Mai

Picturesque golden and white temple in Chiang Mai, pictured during the spring, the overall best time to visit

Romas_Photo/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Chiang Mai is typically between July and October. Despite its convenience to our summer schedules, the heat and rains during these months is enough to bring prices down for hotels and flights.

However, the price discrepancy can vary widely based on where you’re flying from. If you’re coming from a major destination like LA, you might have an easier time getting cheap flights during the most coveted months of December and January.

Of course, that doesn’t mean if you visit during these months, your trip will go poorly — you’ll just need to plan around the heat.

So maybe you spend a full day in the water during the day and then see the city once the sun goes down. Another way to save money is by looking at any of the shoulder months for better prices.

For instance, it may not be a drastic difference between October and November, but you may be able to save a few bucks on essentials, so you can put more toward treats. Plus, you’re likely to get better weather the further into October you book.

Least Busy Time to Visit Chiang Mai

West gate of the old city in Chiang Mai pictured at night with the stone walls illuminated

aphotostory/Shutterstock

Chiang Mai is the least busy from March to June. It’s no surprise when you consider that April’s temperatures can get up to 104° every day.

My wife and I visited Chiang Mai in March and trust me — it gets hot. While there’s a lot to do during the day (we loved grabbing coffee or heading up into the hills to see the elephants), we found ourselves waiting out the heat and venturing out at night.

The best part of visiting during this time is that you’re likely to get into the restaurants, temples, etc. without having to book months in advance. The other perk is that you can schedule your trip for Thai New Year in April.

This festival is more than a good time, it’s a cultural event that can help you connect with the region and its people on another level.

If you’re going to visit during these months, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated, dress in breathable fabrics, and to have enough sunscreen.

These are standard tips to beat the heat, but they’re also easy to forget if you’re tired from travelling or otherwise unprepared.

Worst Time to Visit Chiang Mai

Farmer burning their field in Chiang Mai during recultivation season, the overall worst time to visit

Khomson Srisawasdi/Shutterstock

March is the worst time to visit Chiang Mai, because this is one of the most popular months for farmers to burn their fields for re-cultivation.

The smoke and the dust in the air make for a dense climate, and travelers and locals alike are asked to remain inside to protect their lungs. However, March isn’t the only month of what’s known as the burning season.

It can start in January and last as long as May, it all depends on the individual farmers. The distinction between months has more to do with volume. If you go in January when only a few farms have been burned, then you’re unlikely to notice the aftermath in the air.

I can also confirm this to be true. While it was cheap and not very busy, I myself got a bad sinus infection from all the junk in the air. Not fun at all. Fortunately, we went to India next, where they had plenty of over-the-counter antibiotics for very cheap.

April is the worst time to visit if you want to avoid the heat, and August is the worst time to visit if you want to avoid the rain. It all depends on what angle you’re looking at your trip from, though.

Chiang Mai is a year-round destination for its friendly atmosphere, orderly streets, and ancient buildings. As long as you’re ready for the monsoons or the scorching temperatures, you might be surprised at just how enjoyable your visit can be, no matter when you go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Photo of people walking outside of Chiang Mai during the best overall time to visit the city at night with the market in the background

Chiang Mai Thailand – August 27 , 2015 : Tha-Pae Gate multi courtyard of the city often has night markets. There are souvenirs for sale, food and beverage store sales to tourists/501room/Shutterstock

Is it rainy season in Chiang Mai?

The rainy season in Chiang Mail lasts from May to November, though rainfall can vary considerably between these months. August and September typically have the most rainfall if you’re looking to avoid getting wet.

How long is typhoon season in Thailand?

Typhoon season can start as early as April and last until November, though the chances your trip will be severely impacted are highest in late summer and early fall. Keep an eye on the weather reports before you go to ensure you have all the equipment for what you need.

What is the coldest month in Chiang Mai?

The coldest month is in January, though it will still be relatively comfortable when you’re there. You can expect the temperatures to reach the low 80s and high 50s. Only if you head into the mountains are you likely to come across snow.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai?

👍 Best Time to VisitMay-September
💲 Cheapest Time to VisitOctober-February
🗓️ Least Busy Time to VisitDecember-February
👎 Worst Time to VisitJuly-August

There is a lot to learn about Chiang Mai here, so we’ll recap the major months you need to know. The best time to visit Chiang Mai is in the early winter. December and January aren’t freezing by any stretch.

Whether you want to hang out with the elephants or visit as many temples as possible, we’re here to keep you in the know. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!