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  1. #1
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    Best season to visit Chiang Mai

    Hi
    I plan to visit CHiang Mai with my Isaan spouse and wonder about when the best time to visit is ?
    There is something about the time when flowers bloom, I gather ?
    On the other hand I want to avoid high cost peak season (Xmas I presume, where farangs head to Thailand).

    Also, any recommendations about transport from Udon to Chiang Mai, and perhaps on to Chiang Rai.
    We have a car; how are the roads ?
    From numerous advice I hear going by bus is suicide, or at least highly uncomfortable.
    Air travel seems to be an option, with SGA airways ?

    br Bob63

  2. #2
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    The cool season is by far the best. Mid November till the end of February would be very nice indeed. Day time highs will not hit 30 and it will go under 20 at night. Adds a lot to the places you can stay. The higher you go the cooler it is.

    Roads are fine take your time as you come. You will need a car to tour around anyway. Start checking out your maps and fire away with more questions.

  3. #3
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    Not in the winter time, it is too damm cold

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    can't comment on the roads . . . we flew
    we were there the week of the King's birthday in December - what a great week to be in CM. Depends what you're after of course, but we found cultural/music/dance shows on near Tha Pae Gate each evening, the gardens - unsure of name, on the uni/zoo side of city - were magnificent, having had an extra makeover in honour of the King.
    Weather was good, a lot cooler than Phuket at night - down to about 15-18deg.
    We did the one day trip to Chiang Ria and on to the border/across Mekong to Laos, border with Myanmar and a day trip into the hills for Doi Suthep, great place to visit
    and - if you like blues music, Chai House Of Blues (near uni) free entry, good local blues every night of the week

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jojo333
    Not in the winter time, it is too damm cold
    Not if you live in Bangkok. Its fresh and invigorating. Hell its wonderful. Get up at 8am and its 14, have a cuppa and a brekky and its 17 by 10am, but noon its 25 or so up to 26, then down to 20 or 18 at sunset. Jut lovely weather.

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    Yes, winter time is best... Avoid mid December through mid January if you can; too many tourists, price hikes and a few chilly nights.

    If you're into (landscape) photography I would come in November... crispy blue skies! In February they would already have started to burn/clean rice fields and undergrowth in forests and a ugly light brown blanket would be covering Chiang mai.

    If you want to see the spectacular flowering trees you have to come when temperatures are rising quickly, i.e March. All other flowers you will find at the Ratchaphruek site, the Queen Sirikit Botanical garden and at Kham tieng and Ton Lamyai flowermarket.

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    Hi all,
    Thanks for your constructive replies.

    jojo333, I am Scandinavian, so Chiang Mai winter temperatures is no problem for me
    However, no reason to travel halfway around the world to go to 5 C and rain, we have enough of that here.
    But I see the temps are more pleasant than that, even in Thai winter.

    Gipsy, right on, I want to avoid the tourist crush/high prices. Thanks.
    I do like photography, but I am more of a street candid photographer, not so much landscapes.

    Ageing one, thanks also for inputs!
    Do you have any recommendations for stops along the Udon Thani - Chaing Mai route (like stop at a hotel in on the way)

    March sounds like the right time then, to get the flowering trees.

    Thx

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gipsy View Post
    Yes, winter time is best... Avoid mid December through mid January if you can; too many tourists, price hikes and a few chilly nights.
    Not last year there weren't. But the big hotels still lay on Xmas Eve and New Year compulsory Gala dinners which aren't worth it, so avoid them if you don't want to be forced into it (or tell then you won't and see if they accept your booking).

    Chiang Mai was like a ghost town last year, except for New Year's Eve. Credit crunch and red shirt nonsense made a real mess of things.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob63
    Air travel seems to be an option, with SGA airways ?
    Who?

    No, Thai & AirAsia all fly there from Bangkok.

  10. #10
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    SGA, Siam General Aviation, a sub of Nok air.
    But from googling around it seems somebody took their 340 airplane(s), and now the route Udon - Chiang Mai is not operational.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gipsy View Post
    Yes, winter time is best... Avoid mid December through mid January if you can; too many tourists, price hikes and a few chilly nights.
    Not last year there weren't. But the big hotels still lay on Xmas Eve and New Year compulsory Gala dinners which aren't worth it, so avoid them if you don't want to be forced into it (or tell then you won't and see if they accept your booking).

    Chiang Mai was like a ghost town last year, except for New Year's Eve. Credit crunch and red shirt nonsense made a real mess of things.
    yes harry barracuda..you are on the ball..with your above post..gypsys post is in the land of the fairies rubbish..whilst the acc prices perhaps will kick in for the coming festive season..it is a far cry from say2/ 3 yrs ago..c/mai has virtually fallen off a cliff.....and there is abundance of good accomodation affordable to all pockets....big or small....beware to all fellow members not to swim.... in doctor andys favourite swimming hole.....the moat..which incidently had a dead body..fished out of there ..shortly after our discussion....some months back .. where the doc stoutly defended the moat was in fine fettle... to take a swim.... well doc .. you are also in the land of the fairies ..as well ..giggs

  12. #12
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    Cold, you mean 18 meters of Snow like they had in March in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
    It ain't never been cold in Chiang Mai. Worst season is Feb to March when they start burning the rice crops north. The air is really unbreathable. Dec 31 was a terrible experience for me. They set off firecrackers for 2 days no sleep and at the Thae Pae Gate they were letting people set off their own fireworks. I almost peed my pants when a drunk set off a firework from a 5 gallon cooking oil can. The police watched him. One of his fireworks hit the electric lines. I ran like hell out of there. I will never ever spend a New Years Eve in Chiang Mai.

  13. #13
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    I see. Smoke on the water in Feb to March, and New Years is an adventure, and dont swim in the moat.
    And hotels were empty.
    Thx !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob63 View Post
    SGA, Siam General Aviation, a sub of Nok air.
    But from googling around it seems somebody took their 340 airplane(s), and now the route Udon - Chiang Mai is not operational.
    Nok fly Udon - Chaing Mai

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob63 View Post
    SGA, Siam General Aviation, a sub of Nok air.
    But from googling around it seems somebody took their 340 airplane(s), and now the route Udon - Chiang Mai is not operational.
    Nok fly Udon - Chaing Mai

    I don't think they do anymore according to this.


    JxP

  16. #16
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    Does anyone have experience using the buses from Udon (to Chiang Mai).
    There are non A/C cheap busses that stop many times, and A/C "luxury" few-stops busses I understand.
    Are the latter OK ?

  17. #17
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    just try to get the closest to a non stop they have, dont take the non air local one

  18. #18
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    Actually right now is a good time of year. Everything is green flowers are blooming.
    Rice paddies freshly planted, corn growing on the hillsides
    Not many tourists or traffic.
    I was just up there last week. It's very pleasant now.

    Dec- Feb the air get's downright nasty in CM with all the burning going on in the hills, time to avoid the north.
    Dec-Feb is the prime time to enjoy the Andaman seashore.

  19. #19
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    Thanks Mr Earl.
    Perhaps we will go south instead then... hm
    Bob

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    yea and there are plenty of nice places to go besides Phuket it enjoy.

    If you want to enjoy some the more unspoiled islands in Thailand try Koh Phayam or Koh Chang out of Ranong
    Also if you're into diving some rather spectacular diving originates out of there.
    Aladin dive safari

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob63 View Post
    Does anyone have experience using the buses from Udon (to Chiang Mai).
    There are non A/C cheap busses that stop many times, and A/C "luxury" few-stops busses I understand.
    Are the latter OK ?
    Done it once wasn't nice. There's no VIP bus only "luxury" which is a bit cramped. 14 hours very windy roads and they detour through Phitsanulok.

  22. #22
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    Thanks Begbie

    So what do you do instead of the bus ?

  23. #23
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    Actually, it looks like the Nok air service from Udon to Chiang Mai is operational again.
    http://www.nokair.com/NokConnext/aspx/FlightSchedules.aspx?currlang=en-US

  24. #24
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    Hey Bob, check out Marmite's posts in this thread re: the driving route from Udon to Chiang Mai (in reverse). You could make the road trip an experience in itself.
    http://teakdoor.com/laos-forum/74565-rr-in-vv.html

  25. #25
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    Thanks 9999.
    Quite a trip you had, good photos too.
    I will have to rent a car then for a possible drive. I checked Avis rents out car in Udon that you can leave in Chiang Mai.

    Still a bit worried about this rice field burning thing.
    I mean, people live and survive up there, so the smoke can't be that bad ?

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