Stuck inside and looking for things to do in Chiang Mai when it rains? Then we’ve come up with the perfect list of fun activities to get you out of your hotel room to make the most of the city… all whilst staying dry.
Chiang Mai is a relatively dry place for most of the year. However, when it does rain, it usually pours, meaning you’re going to get soaked if you stay outside for too long. Rainy season normally lasts from around July to October, but luckily most of the downpours only last a few hours in the late afternoon through to evening (although they can occasionally last for a lot longer). Check out our 10 things to do in Chiang Mai when it rains below.
- Wat Doi Suthep & Hmong Hill-Tribe Village
- Doi Inthanon National Park Tour
- Ping River Dinner Cruise
- Khantoke Dinner with Traditional Dance Performance
- Old City Half-Day Bike Tour
- Flight of the Gibbon™ Zipline Tour
- 2-Day Whitewater Rafting & Ziplining
- Full-Day Countryside Bike Tour with Lunch
- Aroy Aroy Thai Cooking School & Market Tour
- Full-Day Excursion to Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle
Chiang Mai’s mall scene has rapidly evolved over the past few years, expanding from one solitary (and rather rundown mall) at Kad Suan Kaew) to around five or six in total. The largest are from the Central Group (one by the airport and one by the highway), and both offer ample shopping opportunities in the way of fashion, electronics and homeware. If, after your shopping spree, it’s still raining, you can always head up to the top floors and catch a movie, grab some food or sink a few beers until the rain (hopefully) ceases. Read More...
Chiang Mai is famous for its massage shops; there are so many of them, you probably only need to make a quick dash from your hotel’s lobby to find the nearest one. There are generally two types of massage in Chiang Mai: traditional Thai massage and ‘spa’ style oil massage. Thai massages will set you back around 250 baht per hour or 500 for two hours, while going to the spa might be a better option for killing the time, with 3-5 hour package deals available for a few thousand baht. Read More...
If you really hate leaving the comfort of your hotel when it’s rainy outside, you better make the most of your time and book yourself into somewhere nice. The great thing about Chiang Mai is that many of the top resorts (we’re talking five-star luxury) come at the same price as a standard hotel in other major cities. So consider spending that extra few thousand baht per night to get access to swanky swimming pools, great dining options, luxurious spas, and fun, onsite amenities such as cooking schools, kids’ entertainment centres and even home cinemas. See our top 10 luxury resorts in Chiang Mai below for your next staycation – come rain or shine! Read More...
Another hugely popular activity in Chiang Mai for tourists is cooking classes, and for most of the time, these involve being indoors under a roof (so you’ll stay dry). Some do offer market excursion or outside cooking, but if it really is wet outside then the class normally remains indoors. There are literally dozens of cooking schools to choose from, mostly located in and around the Old City, with prices around 1,500-3,000 baht for a half day or full day. Of course, you get to enjoy your own creations at the end, as well as meet new friends, and take home a recipe book to impress your friends with your new culinary skills. Read More...
Perusing a museum is an obvious choice for something dry to do, and thankfully Chiang Mai has no shortage of them. Check out the weird and wonderful Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders on Niman Road if you’re into nature or head to the impressive Chiang Mai National Museum which houses ancient artefacts detailing the rich and fascinating history of the city and the long-fallen Lanna Kingdom. For even more culture, the Tribal Museum of Chiang Mai is another good option (and it’s free), showcasing photos, exhibitions, clothes, artwork and handicrafts from many of the famous Chiang Mai hilltop tribes such as Hmong, Karren and Akha. Read More...
Elephants are a big draw in Chiang Mai, but if it’s pouring outside then trudging through the mud on one of these beautiful creatures is no fun. Another way to support them and learn more about them is to visit the Elephant House, a 100 baht and ten minute taxi ride from the Old City. Here you can get creative and paint your very own miniature elephant, either inspired by the elephant statues downstairs or of your own creation. In-house artists are on hand to help you create your vision and the resin elephants come in two sizes: 10cm tall (600 baht) or 15cm tall (1000 baht). They take around three hours to paint and there is a play area for smaller children upstairs. Read More...
- Address: 20/1 Chiang Mai Land Village, Changklan
- Tel: +66 (0)53 279 816
For those short-lasting afternoon downpours, escaping into the comfort of one of Chiang Mai’s widely-celebrated cafés is always going to be a safe bet. Café culture has been on the rise in the city for the last few years, with plenty of artsy venues serving quality, locally-sourced coffee often with handmade cakes and desserts too… all for about half the price of Starbucks (Chiang Mai has Starbucks too). Free Wi-Fi is also available at the vast majority of hip cafes in Chiang Mai. Read More...
You’ve made it all the way to the cultural capital of Thailand after weeks, months or even years of planning, so ending up in a bowling alley might feel a little bit awkward. But don’t let 'the fear of missing out' stop you from enjoying a couple of light-hearted games of bowling; this is an especially good activity to kill a few hours when it's pouring outside, or just to take a break from the relentless sun in dry season. Plus, they all have bars serving cheap beer and Thai food which makes it all the more fun. There are bowling lanes on the top floors of Kad Suan Kaew, Central Airport Plaza and Central Festival.
Go drinking at the CM Entertainment Complex
Daytime drinking is always acceptable when you’re on holiday – even more so when the heavens open. One great place – especially for guys – to enjoy some bar hopping is the famous CM Entertainment Complex on Loi Kroh Road. The whole place is undercover, so you’ll stay dry all the time. A word of warning, however: this is not a particularly family-friendly destination as the bars here are what's known as ‘girlie bars’. That said, the atmosphere is far less seedy than the red light districts in Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket, and it’s common to see couples enjoying drinks together or playing pool… so don’t be too put off by the scantily dressed ladies trying to lure you in. Most bars open from mid-afternoon until late.
Just buy an umbrella/poncho
If you have limited time and the rain isn’t showing any signs of stopping, why let it stop you from making the most of your time in a city as fun and culturally exciting as Chiang Mai? All the top attractions are still open – just combat the water with a sturdy umbrella or poncho – easy! You can buy yourself a flimsy poncho from 7/11 from as little as 50 baht, or head to one of the malls and invest in some sturdier waterproof gear… then head outside and enjoy everything the city has to offer on foot!
- 9 January 2018 -