Photo: Almost Maldivian at Ao Noi, Ko Kut.

Thailand forum

northern Thailand air quality

Posted by novagorilla on 22/3/2013 at 08:03

Im sitting here on the beach in front of Bamboo Bungalows on Ao Yai on Ko Phayam and life is good. After doing a visa run into Myanmar I was planning on heading north to Chiang Mai. I've just done a little research and it seems that the air pollution problems up north are even worse than I thought. I thought it might be a minor inconvenience but it seems to be a bit more than that. Never been to northern Thailand and it would be a shame if this stopped me from doing so on this trip. Any thoughts? Maybe Vietnam instead...?

#1 novagorilla has been a member since 25/2/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by somtam2000 on 23/3/2013 at 17:19 admin

The smoke has apparently been pretty bad this year so far, and it won't be nearly as bad in Vietnam. Would I cancel a trip to northern Thailand because of it? Unless you have sensitive eyes or breathing (eg asthma) probably not.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 26/3/2013 at 13:36

North Thailand (and Laos) air pollution resulting from farm burning is almost always bad in March. This year is more or less the same. A few unusual rains cleared the air in early March, but since around mid-March it's become worse again. It usually clears up in early April after the buring stops and some rains come through (hopefully soon!) So far the peak bad day was the 21st and since then it's improved slightly but still very hazy.

I've been keeping a photo record from my land 20km north of Chiang Mai city. Check out the photos.
You can also monitor pollution levels at

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,951

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/3/2013 at 19:40

Good photos. Looks great in November.

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Posted by Captain_Bob on 27/3/2013 at 03:37

Yep, November until late-February is the best time to head north. Rainy season is nice too. March sucks.

#5 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,951

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