With the approach of the cool season in Chiang Mai that brings occasional rain showers and temperatures in the lower 20’s, you have lots of opportunities that are non-exhaustive but filled with lots of fun. While it may be too hot in the summer you have now the ideal temperatures to get out and explore the city. But don’t worry, we have even things that you can do when it rains (except shopping). Here’s a list of five exciting activities you can do when it’s cloudy and cool in Chiang Mai:
- Hiking around Doi Suthep
It’s undoubtedly the best time to explore the mountain. Everything is green and lush, waterfalls flowing (they’re often dry during the hot season) and the temperatures won’t exhaust you. It’s a lot of fun and you can easily lose track of time. Start from the bottom at Huay Kaew Waterfall and follow the path up to the peak. If you prefer to start in the middle, take a Songthaew from the above mentioned waterfall and ask the driver to drop you at Wat Palad. As it might get a bit chilly up there (and rainy sometimes) you should bring a light and synthetic jacket, waterproof backpack, drinking water and some solid shoes.
- Rent a bicycle and explore the Old Town
Naturally, most people won’t even think about renting a cycle during the summer months. As it’s mostly cloudy, you’re not constantly exposed to the sun while the humidity is way lower by then. You can easily drive around the entire Old Town, do temple hopping, explore the many local cafés and enjoy delicious Thai food.
- Chillin’ in the park
Not in the mood to do anything big today? Why not visiting the wonderful Buak Hard Public Park at the southwest corner of the moat, stroll around, sip a coffee and relax? Take a book with you, rent a mat and watch the world pass by. If you arrive in the late afternoon you can also watch locals performing Sepak Takraw, a fascinating mix of soccer, volleyball and acrobatic. For a refreshing and authentic Thai snack, order Som Tam (green papaya salad) from one of the vendors in front of the entrance (50 THB) or so called Rainbow Ice Cream, a mix of coconut and vanilla ice cream served in a cone and topped with peanuts and chocolate sauce (25 THB).
- Learn how to cook Thai
If it happens to rain and you don’t want to spend the day at the hotel, consider attending a cooking school. There are many cooking schools around town, offering various interesting classes. You will start the day in the morning with a visit to the nearest local market where you will buy the necessary ingredients for your culinary endeavours. It’s also a great way to learn and explore about common spices, herbs, fruits and veggies used in Thai cuisine. Once finished, you will return back to the restaurant and start cooking. Menus usually include samples of starters, main and desserts. The round-up is a get together with all attendees in the afternoon where you finally can sample your creations and receive the recipes.
- Thai Boxing
Since most gyms are semi-open, it’s the best time of the year to try Muay Thai or Thai Boxing. While training sessions are usually tough, the temperatures and cool breezes will let you relax and energize in no time. There are many reputable gyms throughout the city, of which most offer classes for beginners or intermediate. Just take some comfortable sport clothes with you, water and good mood.