Best time to visit Chiang Mai
Discover the ideal time to visit Chiang Mai based on weather, prices and festivals.
From popular festivals to just a simple holiday, Chiang Mai has a season and occasion that’ll appeal to all.
We’ve found the best times to visit Chiang Mai based on your itinerary and budget.
When is the best time to visit Chiang Mai?
February and November are the best times to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand.
These months are before and after peak tourist season when the weather is cooler and at its best. During these months you’ll find fewer crowds, cheaper accommodation and the chance to catch festivals like Loy Krathong in November and the flower festival in February.
Cheapest time to fly to Chiang Mai
If you can, avoid flying to Chiang Mai during the peak tourist season in December/January to get the best price.
Why are February and November the best times to visit Chiang Mai?
From November to early February winter brings the best weather with cool, pleasant temperatures. It’s prime tourist season so prices are at their peak.
Mid-late February until late April is the hot, dry season with minimal rain and bad air pollution. Prices also spike around the Thai New Year in April.
The rainy season is late April until late October. It’s humid but with cooler temperatures and the rain doesn’t impact too much as showers are usually quick.
- February: Chiang Mai is dubbed the "Rose of the North" and the city hosts a three-day flower festival each February. You'll find parade floats decorated with colourful blooms and traditional performances.
- November: Loy Krathong, which roughly translates to "float a basket" sees the river filled with decorated baskets and the sky filled with countless candle-lit lanterns.
When is the cheapest time to visit Chiang Mai?
Being the months when temperatures peak without the reprieve of a sea breeze like the tourist hotspots in Southern Thailand, late April until late October draws the least amount of tourists, so accommodation and flight prices drop.
Best time to visit Chiang Mai for:
- Honeymoon. During the cool dry season from November until mid-February is ideal. The lantern festival is on in November which makes for a romantic experience.
- Wedding. November until mid-February is seasonally cool and dry with a warm and comfortable temperature. Rain showers are unlikely, so outdoor weddings won’t be threatened by bad weather.
- Elephant sanctuary. If you don’t mind getting a little wet, the rainy season of late April until late October is ideal. Elephant sanctuaries are extremely popular in Chiang Mai and visiting during this season means less crowds and more time with the animals.
- Lantern festival. Yi Peng, also known as the Lantern Festival, involves releasing lanterns into the sky that symbolises letting go of ills and misfortunes. It’s held on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month which is typically mid-November.
- Water festival. Songkran is a famous festival in Thailand which celebrates the New Year and brings in the most tourists. The official date of the New Year is April 13th but the water activities last until the 15th. Splashing water onto loved ones acts as a wish for a year of blessings, but recently the festival has turned into a giant water fight with water guns and all.
- Flower festival. The first weekend of every February Chiang Mai hosts a three-day Flower Festival. There are ceremonies, beauty pageants and gardens are filled with flowers found only in the Chiang Mai area.
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