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Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

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Brussels
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Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

How bad was the pollution last year in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and the Golden Circle area the last two years? I am scheduled to come to Thailand the third week in March but am getting cold feet based on some reports of severe pollution five years ago. I'd love input from those that live in these areas.

Colorado
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for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
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1. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

I don't live in the area but have been to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle in March and April and have been visiting for many years. In 2010 it was pretty significant, but we didn't find it impeded our holiday. In 2011 it wasn't as bad. By pretty significant I mean it made the views less clear and you couldn't stand on a mountain top and get a good view below. We had one person with us who had a lung issue and they did not experience problems. But, having said that, March and April are certainly not the best times to travel to the area.

There was a TA member on this forum who was worried about taking her daughters in March 2012, as both of them had asthma. She reported back that they encountered no real issues.

It really is a personal preference based on how much the air quality will impede you from enjoying your time.

Good luck with your decision.

Broder

Brussels
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2. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

I would prefer to make the trip now even though it is not the best time of year because my daughter is graduating college and may not have vacation for a while at her new job. Although I am willing to tolerate haziness/pollution that doesn't impede activities, it would be a shame to be with Jermsak on a raft tour and not enjoy it due to the smoke. There is something to see in March, right?

Brisbane, Australia
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for Chiang Mai
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3. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

We were there in early April last year - 2012. There was still burning off happening then. We went on the raft trip and along the river there were numbers of fires burning and the smoke was very evident. We still enjoyed the day. I think the day after we left it rained heavily and there was a storm. The sky can clear very quickly if there is a shower of rain - however, I guess you can't count on it. March is usually fairly dry.

Caroline.

Brussels
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4. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

Based on your helpful replies, Caroline and Broder, I am going through with my plans and will hope for the best. Are there any activities or locations in Northern Thailand that should be avoided specifically, in late March, due to the heat or the pollution?

Colorado
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for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
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5. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

HI CLWN:

I usually do all my normal activities in March and April, but you might want to go to places like the White Temple, in the earlier morning hours so you can avoid being out in the mid day sun. The bamboo raft has a thatch roof cover so you do have sun protection on the raft.

You may want to book a hotel with a pool so you can cool down a bit at the end of the day.

I hope you have a lovely time.

Broder

Brussels
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6. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

You have allayed all my fears about this trip. We will be staying at Le Meridien where the pool seems to be enticing. I appreciate all of your input. I'll let you know how our trip turns out.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

CLWN - I don't want to miss lead you. The smoke can be very bad in March. Just be prepared and don't let it get you down. To put a balance on the comments I made above, we had one day when we arrived in Chiang Mai last year. As the plane landed you could barely see the city under the smoke. We went out to the Saturday night walking street and when we came back my eyes were so sore and red - and one of our boys was feeling sick. It was really thick. The next day we got a rain shower and it cleared up magically, only to come back (not as bad) two days later.

It can be bad - I just don't want to miss lead you and have you cursing us if you strike a bad patch.

Having said this, I would still choose to go at this time, over not go at all.

Caroline.

Edited: 2:35 am, February 16, 2013
8. Re: Pollution/smoke in March in recent years

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