The rainy season typically lasts from approximately June until October. It typically rains strongly twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon. During the majority of the night, it may also rain strongly. August and September are typically the wettest months due to the typhoon season. The heaviness of the precipitation can make outdoor activities muddy and soggy.
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.
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.
Visit the Malls
Over the past few years, Chiang Mai’s shopping complexes have expanded fast. Not only are they pleasant places to stroll and enjoy the free air conditioning and cleaner air, but each has its own distinctive indoor playground, movie theatre, shops, food courts, and arcades. The central group is the largest shopping centre that offers apparel, electronics, and home furnishings. If it is still pouring after your shopping trip, you can watch movies or dine and drink on the mall’s upper level until the rain stops.
Get a Massage
Chiang Mai is renowned for its massage parlours. Typically, there are two types of traditional massage: Thai massage and oil massage in the Spa style. A massage will cost 250 baht per hour or 500 baht for two hours. There are massage parlours on nearly every corner of large cities, and they are excellent places to seek shelter from sudden downpours. Massages and pedicures are available in street-side parlours, but for a more luxurious experience, you may visit the spas at the five-star hotels. Every 5-star hotel features a spa that is significantly less expensive than similar facilities in other nations.
Explore a Museum
In Chiang Mai, going to a museum is a fantastic indoor activity to do with older kids. When it’s raining, going to the museum is a no-brainer. The Chiang Mai National Museum features a bizarre world of insects and natural wonders in addition to cultural artefacts and a thorough history of the lovely and fascinating city.
The Three Kings Monument is located very close to the town’s centre. Four museums are located behind it and across the street from it. You have two options: either visit each separately and pay an admission fee each time, or buy an all-access ticket and pay only one price. Dual pricing exists in Thailand, therefore if you have a Thai driver’s licence, be prepared to get the local charge.
Even at the tourist price, you won’t go broke. Museum admission rates are reasonable in comparison to other museums you may have visited and will fit into your family’s budget.
Bowling is an excellent pastime and one of your finest options when it is raining. In addition, there are inexpensive beer and Thai delicacies, which make it more appealing. The last remaining bowling alley in Chiang Mai is in the Kad Suan Kaew (Central Outlet) Shopping Mall. It is known as Bully Bowl.