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Make the Most out of Your Chiang Mai Shoot
The Best Time of Year to Visit Chiang Mai, Thailand
The city of Chiang Mai is the perfect mix of history and modern. Considered the ‘Rose of the North’, the old city – a moated, laid-back and ancient village, gives the vibe of a sleepy country town – residential, sprinkled with temples and known for its great coffee and eateries, it’s the perfect location for a professional photographer to capture your experiences. The new city is sprawling and bustling with markets, culture and it’s a gateway to the lush countryside and elephant sanctuaries. As well as being a perfect place for slow and fast travel alike, Chiang Mai is known for its budget-friendly services and knick-knacks – affordable photographers for hire are one of those.
Due to its tropical location, Chiang Mai does not have distinct seasons like Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall – but rather three general seasons – Cool, Hot, and Rainy. However, you can expect to enjoy a cooler climate than the stifling plains near Bangkok due to the city’s higher elevation.
The cool season lasts from mid-November to February and is the most popular time to visit Chiang Mai, weather-wise. During the day the temperatures max out at a pleasant 86°F, however, you should bring a jacket or sweatshirt because it can drop rapidly after sunset, sometimes as low as 50°F. Your private Chiang Mai photographer will be able to advise what to bring depending on where you are going.
Luckily in Thailand, there are celebrations all-year-round, however, by far the most romantic of them is Loy Krathong. It takes place during the cool season, on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month. Otherwise known as the Festival of Lights – lanterns are released into the sky with words of love written on the sides – the perfect time for an engagement or proposal photoshoot with your Chiang Mai based photographer. Loy Krathong is also known for the act of floating Krathongs (flower boats) on rivers, canals or any other body of water – symbolizing letting go of grudges, problems, and anger so that one can start life afresh – a cleansing tradition of sorts. This is an ideal time of year to have your Chiang Mai photographer capture stunning images for your Instagram!
As part of this festival, there are plenty of other activities that happen all over the city. These include traditional Thai dance shows, live music, markets, and handicraft sessions. The best photographers in Chiang Mai will know how to capture the moment with you at these events. This time of year is also popular as it is the King’s birthday in December. You’ll find that once you arrive in Thailand, images of the royal family are everywhere, so while Loy Krathong is special in its own right, it is also tied into the royal celebrations of life. This means that in Chiang Mai, there will be numerous photo opportunities during dusk and evening with beautiful lanterns, unique food stalls, crafts and special performances by Thai’s who are wanting to pay tribute. The best place to locate yourself during these times with your personal photographer is in the Old City near the canals.
Chiang Mai begins to warm up after New Year’s and by the middle of March, the hot season is in full swing. Daytime temperatures soar to a blistering 104°F with humidity. That combination makes exertion difficult and the whole city slows down a bit. This is part of the reason why Songkran (the Water Festival) is celebrated so enthusiastically here.
Songkran in Chiang Mai is easily the wettest – and probably the most fun – of any of the nationwide celebrations of the Thai Buddhist New Year. Bangkok’s parties may be the biggest and Pattaya’s are the longest, but you will never see as much water flying as in Chiang Mai, which makes it one of the most popular places in the whole of Southeast Asia to visit in mid-April. Fun for solo travelers and families alike, having your personal photographer capturing your family throwing buckets of water at strangers using squirt guns while in the back of a tuk-tuk and dancing in the streets for three days straight will give you a unique family photoshoot to look back on. Your photographer will also have all the necessary waterproof equipment to ensure they capture the perfect shot. During the evenings, you can make your way to one of the largest night markets in Thailand – the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. With locals selling trinkets, food and every other kind of service you can think of, it’s a popular spot with tourists as it is surrounded by restaurants, vendors and other smaller markets. This is also where many of the Northern Jewellers sell their work – you’ll even find some of the long-neck Karen tribe who will be willing to take photos with you for a baht or two.
Bringing a welcome relief from the blistering hot season, the rains begin to fall around early June and continue on until late October. The temperature falls to an average of 89°F during the day and a pleasant 73°F at night. It rains almost every single day during this season but never continuously. Typically the day will dawn sunny and bright but the clouds will begin to gather until the downpour starts in the late afternoon. Intense but short-lived, when the storm starts, your best bet is to find your way to a restaurant, order yourself some Khao Soi (a popular Northern dish) and wait it out.
The mornings during this season are ideal for you and your private photographer to make your way to the top of Doi Suthep – which holds one of Thailand’s most revered temples. Set atop a mountain, the golden temple, Wat Phra Doi Suthep boasts beautiful 360-degree views along with pristine temple grounds. This is an ideal location to have a photographer on hand as you will want to be captured amongst the golden steps with the entire Chiang Mai region in the background. There are also ample photo opportunities here as many locals sell their trinkets and souvenirs in traditional Thai garb.
The beautiful thing about Chiang Mai is that you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose to do. Spend your days (and nights) shopping to your heart’s delight at one of the hundreds of markets. If you’re feeling brave, jump on a scooter and explore the Mae Sa Valley route, snap some shots in the old city, let off lanterns in the central squares or spend your days perusing the ancient temples. Either way, there is something for everyone, and having someone there to capture these moments will make your memories last forever. Check out the price for booking a Chiang Mai based photographer HERE.