Unlike other parts of Thailand, Chiang Mai has a year round climate that is a whole lot forgiving that the likes of Bangkok. That is not to say that it doesn’t get hot, but it doesn’t suffer from the humidity that plagues other parts of the country. The northern part of Thailand, where Chiang Mai is located, has three very distinct seasons – hot, rainy, and cool, throughout the year.
The hottest part of the year in Chiang Mai runs from March through June, with the temperatures ranging from 30 to 35°C. If you are traveling there during those months, you can also expect the air to be very dry and dusty. A thin layer of haze often covers the city at this time, as the local farmer’s burn crops for harvesting. This is also the time when the city is relatively tourist free, which means you won’t have to fight the crowds like you would in the busier seasons. There are usually good hotel deals to be found in the hot months, and the odd thunderstorm usually does a pretty good job of clearing up the air for a day or two.
Things start to get wet in July, as the rainy season arrives and makes its home until late September. While the name of the season might suggest that the city is host to torrential downpours, the rains do not arrive on a daily basis, and when they do, they are often in the form of refreshing showers. If you pack an umbrella and some waterproof clothing, you can actually have a very good time exploring. The countryside returns to full color, and the temperatures Chiang Mai are comfortable enough to make walking and exploring a while lot less tiring than when it is hot.
The busiest time of year in Chiang Mai is in the cool season, which runs from October to February. The trade off with the perfect temperatures is that you will be surrounded by tourists from all over, and the hotels will be charging their top rates. That said, it is the perfect time to go exploring, as the temperatures sitting in the mid-20’s. It does cool off a little in the evening, so be sure to pack a little sweater or a light jacket if you plan on going exploring when the sun goes down.