North Thailand Week 2 of February- how bad is the smoke?

North Thailand Week 2 of February- how bad is the smoke?

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HustleRussell

Original Poster:

24,890 posts

163 months

Wednesday 23rd October 2019
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Does anybody live near Chiang Mai, provinces? or Myanmar or Laos?

I am holidaying in Thailand for the middle two weeks of February and I am planning to spend more than half of that time in the North.

I chose February because of the unanimous agreement that it is a 'good' month for Thai weather pretty much nationwide.

Since booking my flights I have been frightening myself reading about the 'slash & burn' season on the internet. Consensus seems to be that the pollution is at its absolute worst in March / April but that the burning can and does often start in February.

I have already reversed my itinerary so that I am doing the North first in the hope that I will be on my way south by the midpoint of the month.

I am now wondering whether or not I need to change my plans more drastically than that?

I will be doing something like the Mae Hong Son loop by car plus a trip to Chiang Rai & Phu Chi Fah.

anonymous-user

57 months

Thursday 24th October 2019
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It was a huge issue 3 or 4 weeks ago, actually affected visibility on the highway, I had to ride from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, thought about taking my car as it was so bad in KL, but as soon as I cleared the valley that is KL, approx around the Sepang track it all cleared. Normally in my 20+ years of living in S E A its around Aug Sept that is bad. Not sure how big a problem it is in N Thailand, I normally ride to Phucket in April for big bike week, its never been a problem to me on that trip, Haze can be a big issue in still air, like the Klang Valley around Kuala Lumpur, where I am at the moment on the S China sea coast we had one bad day this year, and this year was the worst for several years, the sea breeze sorts it out. i suppose N Thailand would depend on how 'windy' it was in the valley if there was any vortex around the heads of the valleys it would clear fast.

I lived in Borneo for 5 years never had a problem, but this year everyone was complaining, so is not easy to forecast,don't worry about it and don't let it play on your mind and enjoyment of the anticipation of a holiday.

There is far to much emphasis put on 'the time' of year to visit S E A by Europeans, the truth is it can rain heavy at any time of year, its hot all year, you just have to accept it, work around it, you will enjoy yourself, don't over plan a holiday in Thailand, there's lots to do see, prices are great no big discount form pre-booking trips etc, look at the weather for tomorrow and then decide what to do.

I must have been in Thailand at Easter/April, when my kids were in school and we were governed by holiday time, but have no memory of the Haze being an issue, Its much more of an Issue in the cities. I tend to travel around Thailand low season, mostly on my Bike, so I know a thing or two about out of season, its never spoils my holiday.

My wife was at our house on the N cost of Jave for most of August and September, which is when the Haze was at its worst for several years. she had no trouble in the coastal town of Jepara.

There are two issues one burning off the old vegetation after harvest, (Aug Sept) and two slash and burn clearing of forest for new field, this can be any time but is not as wide spread.

This year was the worst it has been for 10 years or so, there has been a big backlash my betting is next year will be OK and then it will deteriorate over time until the next backlash.,

Not sure I agree Feb is the best time to visit Thailand, it's the dry season, personally i'd go latter around Songkran, switching your itinerary around by a week makes no difference, you will always need a little luck.


HustleRussell

Original Poster:

24,890 posts

163 months

Thursday 24th October 2019
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Thanks for your reply Berw.

I worked in Chon Buri for a year and a half so I have experienced the climate in the gulf over the long term. I was on a rotation so I also travelled S.E.A. indiscriminately, paying little attention to the weather. I tend to agree, even if you can't avoid the hottest and the wettest months in each location the weather is unlikely to ruin your day entirely (Unless you're sat in 18" of water on Soi Sukhumvit).

Everybody recommends visiting between November and February to tourists because in this period most of the country is free from both the oppressive heat and humidity of the summer and monsoon rains which follow.

Why so concerned with the weather this time around? Well I suppose the fact I got to choose when I travelled allowed me to firstly overthink the weather and then beat myself up after the fact for failing to consider pollution levels.

Secondly, this time around I am acting tour guide for my Mum who has never been to Asia but who like most 60 year olds wants to see a 'lovely view' and has a limited tolerance for extreme heat and humidity. Since I booked the flights our itinerary has been adjusting to take in more and more of the north. If I'd have known I might've opted to go at the end of the rainy season instead, when the forests are at their greenest and the air its cleanest but hey ho.

The burning season seems to be pretty specific to the North as it doesn't see a coastal wind and is surrounded by Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia- and all five countries are seeing widespread fires in the Spring. The pollution likes to sit in the bowl of Chiang Mai in particular. It doesn't seem to pose a health risk to otherwise healthy people in February but it does have the potential to restrict visibility and spoil some of the views.

Anyway, arrangements have been made so I am going to stick to our original dates and keep my fingers crossed for late rain and favorable wind...

anonymous-user

57 months

Thursday 24th October 2019
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I'll assume your mum is nearer to my age than you are, if it's bad buy a mask, boxes are cheap in any store, I recommend wearing one on local flights if your cattle class, to avoid local colds, you'll know to make sure she dresses for the weather, but add good shoes for the uneven pavements.

anonymous-user

57 months

Tuesday 5th November 2019
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Feb should be fine. I’ve ridden the mae hong son loop during Thai winter before and never had an issue.