Chiang Mai has become a hot destination in recent years and it’s not hard to see why. While Bangkok is certainly a lot of fun, it can get rather hectic. So for those looking for a more chilled out Thai experience, Chiang Mai is the place to go, especially during the winter season.If you’re wondering why you should book Chiang Mai for your next winter trip, keep reading.

The Climate

Doi Luang Chiang dao, Chiang Mai
Hiking adventures in the winter season at Doi Luang Chiang dao, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Winter is known for being the best season for travelling to Thailand and Chiang Mai is no exception, despite being in the north of the country. Sure, it might get a bit chilly during the night and you’ll probably find you have to put on a jacket, especially if you’re riding a moped. But during the day temperatures can still reach 30°C, which is fantastic considering the Thais call winter ‘the cool season’.

There’s So Much to Do Here

Thapae walking Street
Tha-Pae Gate multi courtyard of the city often has night markets. There are souvenirs for sale, food and beverage store sales to tourists

As you probably know, Chiang Mai is much smaller than Bangkok, but this doesn’t stop the city being filled with fun and interesting things to do. Here you’ll find temples, museums, massage parlours, and night markets galore. If you like to have a great nightlife scene wherever you travel, you won’t be disappointed with Chiang Mai’s pretty much everywhere you go in the old town, you’ll find restaurants, pubs and bars offering a wide variety of choice.

There Are Excursions A-Plenty

Elephant village
The girl playing with elephants and mahouts after feeding. The elephant village, Chiang Mai, Thailand

While there is certainly enough in Chiang Mai itself to keep you busy, some of the best attractions lie outside of the city centre. Within an easy ride of Chiang Mai are Huay Kaew Waterfall, the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Water Park, the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, and the San Khamphaeng Hot Springs. There’s also a couple of national parks nearby, the most famous of which is Doi Suthep-Pui which has loads to discover and explore, such as a wonderful mountain temple and beautiful waterfalls. If you don’t fancy making the climb up to the temple, you can take the cable car instead.

It’s Festival Time

Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Unidentified peoples are in parade with fresh flowers decorate car in annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival

If everything that Chiang Mai has to offer still isn’t enough for you, you’ll be pleased to know that a number of festivals take place here during the cooler months of the year. The most popular and well-known of the festivals in Chiang Mai is Yee Peng, an offshoot of the Loy Krathong festival. This ancient celebration of light takes place during the 12th full moon of the year – or November in the western calendar – and involves the making and decorating of banana leaf boats and lighting a candle in them before floating them down the river. If this festival happens a bit early for your trip, you can still enjoy one of the other festivals and events that take place.

The Chiang Mai Red Cross and Winter Fair, taking place from December to January, is one of the most fun festivals in the whole country with all kinds of stalls, live music and food, plus all the money made goes to charity. Other festivals taking place in winter include Chinatown Chinese New Year and the Chiang Mai Flower Festival.