Chiang Mai is definitely worth visiting, even for just three days. If you schedule your visit to February, April or November – you get to experience this city in Northern Thailand at its best.
The best ways to spend 3 days in Chiang Mai is definitely during February, April and November. If you can and would like to experience the festivals in Northern Thailand, I recommend booking your trip during these months. Explore a party full of life in the streets – at any age. Probably like you never seen before!
Sunday Night Market
If you can’t (or won’t) visit Chiang Mai during the festivals, you have plenty of options to do in this city. If you are here on a Sunday, the Sunday Night Market is a must. This market is also called Night Bazaar and takes place in the main street in the old city, Rachadamnoen. There is so much to see, eat and do. Clothes, souvenirs and creative Thai-inspired arts and crafts. The best thing, the street food – so delicious. The markets of Bangkok may win in quantity, but Chiang Mai definitely wins in quality – especially when it comes to the food.
If you visit the city during the huge festivals, you’re guaranteed good vibes. Personally I think its the best way to spend 3 days in Chiang Mai, and you have several options through the year.
In November you will catch two amazing festivals, Loi Krathong and Yee Peng festivals. The Loi Krathong festival celebrates the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, and this is the one of the most picturesque festivals in Thailand. People gather around lakes and rivers to pay respect to the goddess of the water, by releasing decorated baskets out of banana leaves onto the water.
Yee Peng is a tradition specific to Chiang Mai and the north of the country, and celebrates the joy of lights. This involves decorating the city and temples by releasing thousands of lanterns into the sky. The experience is mindblowing.
The first weekend in February every year, you can experience the three-day flower festival in Chiang Mai. The festival is also known as “the rose of the north”, and the purpose is to mark the end of the cool season. The whole city decorated by beautiful flowers, including temples and rivers.
Songkran is the traditional New Year celebrations in Thailand, and a great time to experience the vibe of the locals. Songkran is also called the water festival, because it’s said that throwing water will cleanse your sins and get you fresh and ready for the new year. This festival takes place in April and can last up to six days. Chiang Mai takes the festival to a whole new level, and people are standing on the side of the road ready to soak everyone passing by with water balloons and water guns. This is a party full of life at any age!
If you want to experience Chiang Mai when the city is at its most vibrant, you should come during the huge festivals. That’s the best way to spend 3 days in Chiang Mai.
When is the best time to visit Chiang Mai?
The best weather in Chiang Mai is between October and April. This is peak season and during these months the weather is mostly comfortably warm with a light breeze. January is considered the most popular month. If you don’t like it too hot, but wanna avoid the rain season, November is your best option.
Summer in Chiang Mai is from March to May, and during this time the temperature can rise to over 40˚C. If you are looking for cheap flights and hotels, this is the perfect time. Many hotels in Chiang Mai offer rooftop pools with shadow, so you can cool down in the pool at daytime and head out after sunset.
If you don’t care about sunshine, and are looking for a quieter time to experience this ancient town, you should come during rain season from June to October. It does not rain as much in Chiang Mai as it does in the south of Thailand, but the monsoon can still be pretty heavy. The temperature cools down, but the humidity peaks.
Getting around Chiang Mai
Tip: There is no Über in Chiang Mai, but you can download the app Grab which is basically the same. Super cheap transportation all over Chiang Mai. The best thing is that you can arrange a route with several destinations on the forehand, and the driver will wait for you if you need to just make a quick errand.