Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai Thailand
When is the Best time to visit Chiang Mai?
We have been living in Chiang Mai Thailand and using it as a base for travel on and off for almost a year now and have discovered that the Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai is from November until February and during April. This coincides with high season, a time where tourists from all over the World flock to Chiang Mai to sample all that this vibrant city has to offer.
For us it’s great to catch up with old friends who return each year to make Chiang Mai their home during the cooler months. For these devotees, the laid back charm of Chiang Mai keeps them coming back time again to experience the fun and festivals that make Chiang Mai World famous.
Where is Chiang Mai?
Chiang Mai is located in Chiang Mai Provence and is the largest city in Northern Thailand. Being in the north, Chiang Mai experiences a milder climate compared to other parts of Thailand making it a more comfortable climate for overseas visitors.
Chiang Mai’s cultural mix of historical and modern make it a holiday destination that will satisfy all members of the family.
How to Get to Chiang Mai?
A short flight from Bangkok, Chiang Mai has a well-appointed International and Domestic Airport. The Airport is serviced by International and local Airlines.
If you have more time the train journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes around 12-14 hours and a great way to see the landscapes of Thailand.
Bus is another popular way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, there are many bus companies with different levels of comfort.
Why visit Chiang Mai in November?
If you visit Chiang Mai in November you are in for a treat, the Loy Krathong Festival and Yi Peng Lantern Festival have the city awash with flowers and light. If there is a time when you MUST come to Chiang Mai, this is it!
The 2016 Festival dates confirmed by the Chiang Mai Municipality office, are from the 13th and 15th of November 2016.
What is the Loy Krathong Festival?
The Loy Krathong Festival is held every year on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. This date usually falls in the month of November. The date of the Festival changes every year and this year it falls on the 13th to the 15th of November 2016.
A Krathong is a beautiful floating offering decorated with flowers, intricately folded leaves, incense and candles and placed into Chiang Mai’s Old Town moat or Ping River (Mae Ping). The offerings are to celebrate the end of the rainy season and to ask for the forgiveness of the Water Goddess.
Placing a Krathong into the river is a very moving experience, to some it is a symbol letting go of misfortune and a sign of hope for the coming year. There is nothing more enchanting than watching hundreds of candlelit flowers floating down the river.
What is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival?
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is World famous and once seen it will be something you will never forget. Thousands of lanterns fill the night skies over Chiang Mai, an endless stream of shimmering light, a magical sight to see. Chiang Mai is in a party mood, the sky is a blaze with fireworks and there is a feeling of goodwill everywhere.
Other Festival Events & Activities
There are many fascinating events and activities, taking place during these festivals.
Colourful parades, cultural performances, beauty contests and handicrafts displays are some of the events on offer and an interesting way to learn more about the people and culture of Chiang Mai.
One of my favourites is the hot air balloon contest. So much time, energy and imagination goes into creating these elaborately decorated balloons, and it gives so much pleasure to see them soar high above the skies of Chiang Mai.
Accommodation in Chiang Mai
Accommodation during Festival time and high season book out quickly so book early. There are many good areas for accommodation in Chiang Mai but the most popular area is in and around the Old City.
Chiang Mai’s has many accommodation options including, Hostels, Guesthouses, 5 star Hotels and Apartments, there is something for everyone and every budget.
Christmas in Chiang Mai
While Christmas is not formally celebrated in Chiang Mai, you will find many businesses embracing the holiday spirit by decorating their shopfronts, and playing Christmas Carols.
Popular venues for Christmas lunch are The Red Lion Pub in the Night Bazaar area, Le Meridian Hotel and the Shangri La Hotel, there are many others but it is important to book early as seats sell out. Last year we did not book and didn’t find a place until mid afternoon.
New Years Eve in Chiang Mai
Everyone loves a party and Chiang Mai on New Year’s Eve is no exception. You will find restaurants and bars packed with New Year’s Eve revellers.
Popular areas for celebrating are the very trendy Nimmanhaemin Road area and in and around the Old City. If you have a particular venue in mind book early.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Held in February, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival is the place to be if you adore flowers. The City is in full bloom as highly decorated floats of flowers parade through the streets.
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is a spectacular display of flowers, beautiful girls, music, and dance.
Songkran in Chiang Mai
Songkran or Thai New Year is the most celebrated festival in Thailand, held every year on the 13th to 15th of April and another MUST SEE Festival in Chiang Mai.
Songkran is FUN, so much fun! A Festival where you get to relive your childhood in one of Thailand’s largest water fights. Get out your water pistols, super soakers and buckets and be prepared to get wet and stay wet, with temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius you will be more than happy to cool off.
Songkran is a time for families to get together. Traditionally families splash water over each other to give blessings and wishes for the coming year. Songkran is also the time to pay homage to Buddha, many visit the Wat (temple) to pray and wash the images of Buddha for good luck and prosperity for the New Year.
As you can imagine with all that water you do need to take extra care during Songkran. Make sure you have your phone and other valuables in a waterproof container because they WILL get wet.
Visit Chiang Mai
I hope I have inspired you to visit this vibrant city and meet it’s warm and friendly people.
I love Chiang Mai at any time of year, but now that you know the best time to go to Chiang Mai, I hope we will be seeing you soon so you too can enjoy the top things to do in Chiang Mai.
I’ve probably left out some information about these festivals. What information can You give about Chiang Mai’s Festivals and events? Add your comment below.
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