Due to the area’s tropical climate, it’s important to pick the right season to visit. You may be able to find some cheaper flights to Chiang Mai and accommodation during the hot and rainy seasons but bare in mind various festivals which take place throughout the year, such as Loy Krathong and Songkran, can also make prices rise.
Loy Krathong is the most romantic Thai celebration which is held on the full moon night of the 12th Lunar month, and sees couples book flights for this festival. Join the hundreds of locals and visitors on the banks of the Ping River to release a lantern containing a candle. It is a tradition to write a message or wish on the lantern then let it go at the count of three. Watching hundreds of lanterns float into the night sky is spectacular and a must see.
If you do decide to take a flight to Chiang Mai during the hot season, you’re sure to cool down at the Songkran Festival, during April. This festival celebrates the New Year through a massive water fight. Thais believe that being bathed will bring good luck.
Chiang Mai may be Thailand’s second largest city, but it has a restfulness and beauty that is light years away from the bustle of Bangkok. Instead, it is a city nestled in the hills of northern Thailand which is filled with centuries-old Buddhist temples.
Anyone interested in art and culture should visit sights like the Wat Phra Singh temple, with its world-famous Lion Buddha image and walls that are covered in dazzling mural artworks. There are also fascinating museums to explore, such as the Lanna Folklore Museum.
Shopping is another highlight, and a trip to the market at Talat Warorot is an unforgettable experience (and a great place to buy unique souvenirs for those back home).
Although the city is a fine destination for history lovers, it also boasts a lively nightlife, courtesy of the thousands of students that it hosts, and party fans will feel at home right away. Chiang Mai is also a city of restaurants, from gourmet vegan curries to riverside diners, ensuring that all tastes will be catered for.
The area around Chiang Mai is filled with natural beauty and outdoor activities as well. Get to know some charismatic locals at the Patara Elephant Sanctuary, head out rock climbing under expert supervision or relax on a rafting expedition with a hamper full of food and drink.
There are adrenaline rushes to be had as well, with companies in Chiang Mai organising whitewater adventures, as well as the “Flight of the Gibbon” park, which offers 33 different of zip-lines in beautiful surroundings.
And if all of that sounds like too much excitement, Chiang Mai is also home to several relaxation spas, providing traditional Thai massage.
Chiang Mai has three distinct seasons, the cool season, hot season and rainy season. The most popular time to take a flight and visit Chiang Mai city is usually the cool season which runs from December through February. Midday temperatures can reach over 30 degrees Celsius, however, the evenings can become quite cool, so make sure you pack accordingly. The hot season, April to June, is usually best avoided as the humidity can be extremely draining, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. The rainy season, from the end of May to November, is very wet and the area usually experiences sudden bursts of heavy rainfall. November can be a good time to visit as the landscapes are beautiful and lush and the weather starts to dry up, these conditions mean prices may start to rise.