Weather in Chiang Mai in December

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 07.12.2023

Thinking of taking a break in Chiang Mai in December? Good news — it’s one of the best months to visit this treasure of northern Thailand, not least if you want to combine festivals and cultural activities with exploring the great outdoors.

What is the weather like in Chiang Mai in December?

Falling within the cooler season, the weather in Chiang Mai in December is very pleasant — still warm and mainly dry. The days are usually sunny with clear skies, and the humidity levels are relatively low.

Air temperatures in Chiang Mai in December

The average day temperature ranges from 15°C to 27°C (59°F - 81°F). However, during the evenings and early mornings, temperatures can drop further, requiring some light layers.

Average rainfall in December

December is generally considered the dry season in Thailand. With a monthly average of 20mm, Chiang Mai experiences one of its lowest quotas of rain in December.

Considering visiting Chiang Mai in December? Browse our inspirational Thailand itineraries and start planning your perfect trip.

Inthanon Temple Chiang Mai © Shutterstock

The weather in Chiang Mai in December is ideal for exploring Inthanon temple and its scenic environs © Shutterstock

Is December a good time to visit Chiang Mai?

Given the cooler temperatures — though it remains pleasantly warm — and low rainfall, December a great time to visit Chiang Mai. 

That’s especially the case if you’re hoping to take a trip that takes in Chiang Mai’s Sustainable Trails, or fancy enjoying a Chiang Mai Safari.

In short, if outdoor adventuring is on your mind, you’ll definitely want to consider taking a trip to Chiang Mai in December. 

Not sure when you want to go? Read up on the best time to go to Thailand

Elephants in Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

Elephants in Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

What about the crowds and cost?

The only downside of visiting Chiang Mai in December comes courtesy of the fact that its clement weather draws bigger crowds than the preceding months.

And high season can mean having to pay higher prices for higher-end accommodation than you would during the shoulder and low seasons.

That said, if you don’t have a problem with crowds, and you book well ahead, neither of these factors will be an issue.  

In addition, if you’re on a tighter budget, Chiang Mai has plenty of cheaper places to stay and eat. So, in all likelihood, you’ll still find an option to suit your needs.

Set on taking a trip this winter? Discover discover more of the best places to visit in December

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Shutterstock

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Chiang Mai?

Hoping for a December trip delivers tonnes of cultural experiences along with unforgettable outdoor adventures? You’ll find stacks of inspiration in our customisable Chiang Mai itineraries.

As with all Rough Guides trips, they’re fully customisable, with a Thailand travel expert on hand to take the hassle out of planning and booking. Here we highlight just a few of them.

  • Chiang Mai’s Sustainable Trailsoffering a beautiful escape from Bangkok’s humidity, Chiang Mai is regarded as the cultural heart of the country. Take this trip to enjoy a magical night ride to ancient temples and bazaars, uncover artisan culture, and enjoy an eco-adventure on the Mae Tang river.
  • Chiang Mai Safari Adventureideal for family fun and adventure, this will see you explore Chiang Mai’s lush valleys and national parks. Expect majestic cliff-top temples and thrilling safari adventures.

Or discover more Thailand itineraries.

Traditional Hmong hill tribe building exterior, Chiang Mai province, Thailand © Shutterstock

Traditional Hmong hill tribe dwelling, Chiang Mai province, Thailand © Shutterstock

Tips for travelling to Chiang Mai in December

As you prepare for your trip to Chiang Mai, remember a few important travel tips for visiting Thailand.

What to wear in Chiang Mai in December

Given the average temperatures in Chiang Mai in December, pack light, cool clothing, but also come prepared with warmer layers.

While rainfall is low, you might still want to bring a light waterproof jacket, just to be on the safe side when you’re on a long hike, for example. 

You’ll also want to pack a long-sleeved top in your rucksack — the mountains can be on the cool side, especially if you set off on trek early in the morning.

Respect local customs

When visiting temples, be sure to adhere to local etiquette in how you dress and behave. This means shorts and short skirts are out, along with any skimpy clothing, Instead, wear trousers or a long skirt and keep your shoulders covered.

Before entering temples, remove your shoes, hat and sunglasses. Once inside, never touch or point at a Buddha image or monk. In addition, you should never turn your back on a Buddha image.

Finally, be mindful that temples are peaceful places of meditation. So, switch your phone to silent and keep your voice soft.

Wat phra that doi suthep temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand © Shutterstock

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand © Shutterstock

Festivals and events in Chiang Mai in December

National Thailand Day — 5th December

Also known as King Bhumibol Memorial Day as it’s held on the late king’s birthday, 5th December is a national holiday in Thailand.

In Chiang Mai, Buddhist monks receive alms, and temples play host to special ceremonies honouring the late king. 

Come evening, locals light candles and lay flowers at shrines and temples dedicated to King Bhumibol.

Constitution Day — 10th December

Commemorating Thailand’s adoption of its constitution in 1932, Constitution Day (Wan Ratchaphithi) sees celebrations across the country.

In Chiang Mai, expect to see an exuberant street parade and traditional performances as people come together to celebrate a significant moment in Thailand’s political history.

New Year’s Eve

While Christmas is a pretty lowkey affair in Chiang Mai, New Year’s Eve sees it energised by big parties and dance performances, with a firework display kicking off on the stroke of midnight.

In addition, locals light rice paper lanterns and release them into the sky — it’s believed they carry away bad luck.

Chiang Mai food © Shutterstock

The food in Chiang Mai is not to be missed © Shutterstock

Planning your November trip to Chiang Mai

Inspired? Find out more in our guide to the best things to do in Chiang Mai

Browse our customisable Thailand itineraries, and contact our Thailand local experts to save yourself the hassle of planning.

Prefer to do it on your own? Get yourself a copy of The Rough Guide to Thailand and make sure to read all our tips for backpacking Thailand.

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 07.12.2023

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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