Not sure what is the best time to visit Chiang Mai? Generally, the best time to visit Chiang Mai is the winter season, from November until February.
Not only do these months have the best weather in Chiang Mai, but it’s also when the biggest Thai festivals take place here; The Lantern Festival in November and the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in February.
Although November and February are generally considered the best months to visit Chiang Mai, that’s not to say that the other months of the year are bad times. In fact, each month has something to offer visitors.
After spending time in Chiang Mai during different seasons, we are well placed to discuss the best time to visit Chiang Mai and what each month brings, so you can make an informed decision about when to visit this iconic destination in Northern Thailand.
Climate and Weather in Chiang Mai
|Average Highest Temperature||Average Lowest Temperature||Rainfall (mm)||Rainy Days|
|January||31°C, 88°F||15°C, 59°F||9.2||1|
|February||34°C, 93°F||17°C, 63°F||4.8||1|
|March||37°C, 98°F||20°C, 69°F||14||2|
|April||38°C, 101°F||24°C, 75°F||32||6|
|May||36°C, 96°F||25°C, 77°F||117||16|
|June||34°C, 94°F||25°C, 77°F||148||17|
|July||33°C, 92°F||25°C, 77°F||201||19|
|August||32°C, 90°F||24°C, 76°F||260||21|
|September||33°C, 91°F||24°C, 75°F||249||18|
|October||32°C, 90°F||22°C, 72°F||123||12|
|November||31°C, 89°F||19°C, 66°F||26||6|
|December||30°C, 86°F||16°C, 61°F||12||2|
Chiang Mai has a warm and tropical climate, which means it is pretty much warm and humid all year round, and throughout the year it receives very little wind. Even in the winter, the temperatures are rarely below 30°C (86°F) in the day time, and humidity levels rarely fall below 52% throughout the year.
In Chiang Mai’s dry season, from November to March, you will also find that Chiang Mai has very little cloud cover, especially in February which boasts clear skies 75% of the time.
This means that anyone visiting Chiang Mai should be aware of the sun at all time. Pack accordingly and be sure to seek shade during the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s strongest. Drink plenty of water and wear sun protection.
The most humid month is August, which has an average humidity rating of 81%, with March being the least humid month with a humidity of 52%.
March to May are the hottest months which is largely due to the Burning Season in Chiang Mai, which can make the region feel hotter than it is due to the high pollution levels.
The wettest months are July to September, which is the official rainy season in Chiang Mai. Although the wet weather can continue on into October.
The driest months in Chiang Mai are January and February which receives little to no rainfall throughout the months.
Chiang Mai in Summer (June to August)
The summer months in Chiang Mai are from June until August, which is the wettest time of the year as it’s the middle of the Monsoon Season. You can expect wet weather and even flooding on an almost daily basis.
While it is likely to rain a lot during this time of year, it’s normal for the weather to rain in bursts rather than long, continuous showers. This means there are still times throughout the day when you can get outside and do some exploring between showers.
However, those visiting Chiang Mai this time of year should prepare for wet weather and flooding at all times. Pack a rain jacket or pick up a poncho from the 7-Eleven.
Storms with lightning and thunder are also likely, though from our experience, they tend to happen more at night than during the day.
As this is the quiet season, it’s also possible that some hotels will close for the season. There will always be places that accept tourists throughout the year, but there may just be fewer options.
Chiang Mai in Fall (September to November)
Autumn is one of the best times to visit Chiang Mai because it’s when the rainy season starts to dry up and before the peak times for tourism.
September is still a very wet month, with some rainy days continuing into October, but November is generally dry. November is also the time of the annual Lantern Festival, also known as Yi Peng, which takes place during the second Full Moon in the Lanna’s calendar month.
This spiritual event is when you see hundreds of lanterns released into the sky, as well as releasing Loi Krathongs into the river. Visiting Chiang Mai during the annual Lantern Festival is a bucket list moment in Thailand and is the biggest event of the year.
Because of The Lantern Festival, November can be a busy month in Chiang Mai as many tourists flock to see the lantern release. However, outside this three-day event, Chiang Mai is less crowded.
Chiang Mai in Winter (December to March)
Winter is peak tourist season in Chiang Mai and is one of the most popular times of year to visit, so expect Chiang Mai to be busy with tourists during these months. While the weather is hot, it’s not unbearably hot, and these months have very little chance of rain.
Another reason why Winter is a good time to visit Chiang Mai is because it’s when the annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival is held, which happens every year in February.
This event sees the city awash in beautiful flower displays and sculptures. It lasts for three days, starting from the first weekend in February. The festival celebrates the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.
Another popular festival that takes place in Thailand during this time of year is Chinese New Year.
While Thai people don’t celebrate Chinese New Year, there is a large population of Chinese immigrants who live in Thailand who do celebrate this annual event, so you may experience some festivities taking place during this time.
Chiang Mai in Spring (March to May)
Spring is possibly the worst time to visit Chiang Mai as it’s the hottest time of year, with temperatures soaring to uncomfortable temperatures, and it’s also the time of year with the worst air quality.
During the months of March and April (sometimes in May) the farmers will burn agricultural waste and to clear the soil for a new year of crops.
This creates a layer of smog that sits above Chiang Mai and other destinations in Northern Thailand, which not only contribute to the hot temperatures but also release harmful particles into the air.
Most people leave Chiang Mai this time of year to Southern Thailand which is less effected by the pollution.
The poor air quality doesn’t get better until the rain comes to wash the pollution away. It’s the only time of year where you may want think about whether Chiang Mai is worth visiting.
Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai For Festivals
If you are visiting Chiang Mai to admire its many temples, then you may be looking to attend a religious or spiritual festival.
In that case, there are many festivals that take place in Chiang Mai throughout the year. As mentioned earlier, the biggest festival is the Lantern Festival, or Yi Peng, which takes place in February. This is the festival that Chiang Mai is so well known for.
Some other notable spiritual festivals you may want to visit are Poy Sang Long Festival, which takes place between March and April.
This is a festival that celebrates young boys journey into monkhood, with various ceremonies being held at Wat Pa Pao and Wat Ku Tao, where between 30-50 boys will be ordained as monks. There is a parade on the last day which is very colorful and exciting.
Another iconic festival is Songkran, otherwise known as Thai New Year. This takes place in April every year, though due to the poor weather conditions, Chiang Mai is not considered the most iconic place to celebrate it.
Best Time To Visit Chiang Mai TO Escape The Crowds, Thailand
If you want to avoid the crowds, then you may want to visit Chiang Mai in October or November, or in late February before the burning season starts.
Though these are the quieter months in terms of tourism, it’s worth noting that Chiang Mai has an expat population of around 30,000 people, so no matter what time of year you visit, you won’t be able to escape other Westeners.
Best Month to Visit Chiang Mai, Thailand
Now you know what to expect from visiting Chiang Mai in each season, below is a month-by-month analysis of what you can expect from the weather in Chiang Mai. Make sure you check it out before planning your Chiang Mai itinerary!
Chiang Mai in January
- Average Temperature: 15°C (59°F) Lows, 31°C (88°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 9.2 mm in 1 Day
- Sunlight hours: 270 hours
January is the middle of the peak tourist season in Chiang Mai, and while the weather is hot in the day time, it can get quite cool in the evenings. It’s also one of the driest months in Chiang Mai, with an average of just one rainy day in the month.
It also has very few cloud cover which means your days are bright and sunny, but temperatures are not too hot that you need to stay indoors.
January would be a great time of year to explore Chiang Mai’s temples, visit the elephant sanctuaries or go hiking in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
Chiang Mai in February
- Average Temperature: 17°C (63°F) Lows, 34°C (93°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 4.8 mm in 1 Day
- Sunlight hours: 259 hours
The weather in Chiang Mai in February is much like the weather in January with warm weather in the day and cooler temperatures in the evening. Like January, February has little cloud cover which means long, sunny days for exploring.
February is still in the heart of winter, but towards the end of the month farmers may start their annual burning of the fields so you will find hotter temperatures as the month continues.
Tourism is still high this time of year but will start to slow down towards the end of the month.
February is also when you can experience Chinese New Year and the annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival.
Chiang Mai in March
- Average Temperature: 17°C (63°F) Lows, 37°C (98°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 14 mm in 2 Days
- Sunlight hours: 295 hours
March is the beginning of the burning season and one of the hottest months in Chiang Mai.
In the earlier half of the month, the temperature remains quite cool in the evenings, but daytime temperatures can reach very high points which make it uncomfortable to spend long periods of time outdoors.
Those visiting this time of year may want to escape the bustling city to the refreshing waterfalls in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
However, March is a big time of year for festivals as it’s when Poy Sang Long Festival takes place.
Chiang Mai in April
- Average Temperature: 24°C (69°F) Lows, 38°C (101°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 32 mm in 6 Days
- Sunlight hours: 280 hours
April is the middle of the burning season and sees very hot temperatures during the day. It’s generally very humid and can get uncomfortable outdoors.
During this time of year, you may want to spend more time indoors, such as attending a cooking class or taking part in a massage class.
It’s considered the off-season for tourism, and many hotels and proprietors will close during this time of year.
During April, you may see the final festivities of Poy Sang Long Festival as well as see Songkran.
Chiang Mai in May
- Average Temperature: 25°C (77°F) Lows, 36°C (96°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 117 mm in 16 Days
- Sunlight hours: 199 hours
Chiang Mai in May sees the end of the burning season and the rainy season drawing in. While temperatures remain high, there is more chance of rain which will wash away the pollution.
However, May is still considered the off season and many hotels will close during this time of year. Those visiting Chiang Mai in May may want to take part in indoor activities.
Chiang Mai in June
- Average Temperature: 25°C (77°F) Lows, 34°C (94°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 148 mm in 17 Days
- Sunlight hours: 158 hours
June is well into the monsoon season in Chiang Mai and is when you will see temperatures start to drop, and rainy days increase.
It’s also when there is more cloud cover and so the month receives less sunny days.
While June is a wet month, it’s not anticipated to rain continuously for the duration of the month and there will still be periods of time when you can go out and explore.
However, it’s likely that some hotels will remain closed for the duration of the monsoon season, though some will still be open.
Chiang Mai in July
- Average Temperature: 25°C (77°F) Lows, 33°C (92°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 201 mm in 19 Days
- Sunlight hours: 121 hours
July is the wettest month in Chiang Mai and sees the fewest hours of daylight. It’s wet for most days, so you can pretty much guarantee rain on your visit.
Since it’s the height of monsoon season, it’s one of the quietest periods for tourism and sees many hotels close.
Chiang Mai in August
- Average Temperature: 24°C (76°F) Lows, 32°C (90°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 260 mm in 21 Days
- Sunlight hours: 116 hours
August is very similar to July in terms weather. It’s also the darkest month with the least amount of sunlight hours.
August is also the most humid month, with humidity reaching 80% on average. Those visiting in August may find the weather to be miserable, but the benefit is that you can find cheap deals at hotels who remain open during the monsoon season as they have experienced a few quiet months.
Chiang Mai in September
- Average Temperature: 24°C (75°F) Lows, 33°C (91°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 249 mm in 18 Days
- Sunlight hours: 148 hours
September is still the monsoon season, and receives lots of rainy days and short daylight hours. Towards the end of the month, the temperatures will remain cool but the weather may ease up, with less rainy hours during the day so you can still get out and explore.
Like August, September is also a relatively humid month. In the evening, it can be quite cool.
Chiang Mai in October
- Average Temperature: 22°C (72°F) Lows, 32°C (90°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 123 mm in 12 Days
- Sunlight hours: 202 hours
October is when the rainy season comes to an end and when hotels start to reopen for the busy tourist season. If you’re visiting at the start of the month, you may see cheaper deals as it’s still the slow season in terms of tourism.
The temperatures are warm but not too hot, and though it still receives rainfall, it’s considerably less than September. In October, it’s possible to go out and explore the outdoors of Chiang May. Visiting Sticky Waterfall would also be great this time of year as the rivers will be full after the rainy season.
Compared to September, there will be more tourists, though not as many as you will find in November.
Chiang Mai in November
- Average Temperature: 19°C (66°F) Lows, 31°C (89°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 26 mm in 6 Days
- Sunlight hours: 218 hours
The dark days are over and November brings with it sunny days, little rainfall, and lovely warm weather that’s not too hot.
November is the transition month between autumn and winter, though in Chiang Mai, winters are dry and low in humidity
The weather is good for outdoor activities such as hiking and visiting elephant sanctuaries, and it’s also when the iconic Lantern Festival takes place.
Chiang Mai in December
- Average Temperature: 16°C (61°F) Lows, 30°C (86°F) Highs
- Rainfall: 12 mm in 2 Days
- Sunlight hours: 259 hours
December is one of the busiest months for tourism as people flock to Thailand to escape the harsh winters in the West. In terms of weather, the temperatures are warm with very little chance of rain, and there is also minimal cloud cover which means bright and sunny days.
Despite being warm in the day, it can get quite cold at night. December is one of the best months to visit, though you will need to plan your visit early as hotels often get booked up!
Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai FAQs
Does it snow in Chiang Mai?
No, it doesn’t snow in Chiang Mai as it rarely gets cold enough. In fact, it’s rare for it to snow anywhere in Thailand.
What is the best month to go to Chiang Mai?
The best month to go to Chiang Mai is November. During this time, the weather is dry with warm temperatures and it’s when the iconic Lantern festival takes place. October, and February are also good months to visit because they have good weather and fewer crowds.
How bad is rainy season in Chiang Mai?
During rainy season in Chiang Mai, you can expect showers on an almost daily basis. However, the showers are in bursts rather than continuous. Even so, flooding is common.
Without a doubt, October, November and February is the best time to visit Chiang Mai. This is when the weather is at it’s best, there are fewer crowds (with the exception of November) and it’s when you can attend the annual Lantern Festival.
March until May is a bad time to visit Chiang Mai as it’s during the burning season when the pollution levels are high, which can be harmful to your respiratory system.
We hope this guide has helped plan when to visit Chiang Mai and given you a good idea of what to expect each month.