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Chiang Mai (Lanna Capital)

General information

The northern capital, Chiang Mai is a dynamic and modern city which has successfully managed to combine its rich history and traditions with its increasingly modern side. Surrounded by a ring of mountains, Chiang Mai offers both fascinating architecture and stunning surroundings. An important Buddhist centre since the 14th century, Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 temples. Many visitors come here to attend meditation retreats, massage classes or yoga lessons. However, for active travelers, the main interest in Chiang Mai is exploring the hill tribe villages. Visitors can trek on foot or by elephant through the lush countryside, raft down jungle rivers, and meet the residents of isolated ethnic minority villages. Those interested in handicrafts will enjoy visiting centers specializing in silverwork, woodcarving, pottery making and weaving. The Night Bazaar, a series of covered markets, is worth visiting for the bustling atmosphere and to see the variety of hand made products.

Weather Chart

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Weather summary

The dry season runs from November to May/June, with little if any rain expected throughout the region for much of this time. After the cooler winter months, from mid-January temperatures start to rise, peaking between March and May when it is not unusual for the mercury to break into the high 30’s and even 40 °C + especially in the central regions. These sky-high temperatures can last well into the rainy season, however with the rains comes cloud cover and a rise in the humidity, making travel less comfortable.

The south-west monsoon usually arrives between May and July. Initially the rain usually comes in the form of short downpours, lasting an hour or two, clearing the way for warm, clear skies. As the rainy season progresses, the rain can becomes heavier and more constant, traditionally reaching peak levels in August and September. In the early wet season (June to August) temperatures generally remain high (avg daily temp: 28 °C-34°C), although they drop dramatically in the winter months of October and November.

By November, the rainfall and hot, sticky weather will have decreased significantly, with dry weather returning for the next six months. From October to January, temperatures can be relatively cool, especially in the north of the country at higher altitude (avg daily temp: 17°C -26°C). Throughout the region at this time of year, evenings can be chilly due to the lack of cloud cover and the temperatures relatively low.

Highlights of Chiang Mai (Lanna Capital)

Chiang Dao Elephant Camp
The elephant training center at Chiang Dao combines training and jungle activities, with a one-on-one elephant encounter you’ll never forget. The Chiang Dao Elephant Camp's crew of 32 elephants help log the surrounding teak forests and provide elephant rides through their natural jungle habitat.

The elephant training center at Chiang Dao combines training and jungle activities, with a one-on-one elephant encounter you’ll never forget.

The Chiang Dao Elephant Camp's crew of 32 elephants help log the surrounding teak forests and provide elephant rides through their natural jungle habitat.

Watch morning training sessions as cute baby elephants learn how to walk in line, work and bathe. The center also organizes bamboo rafting rides down the Ping River and a visit to a hilltribe village.

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