If not North in March then what?
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Mar 15, 2013 5:06 AM Last Post By: Phil2012
Feb 20, 2013 1:12 AM
If not North in March then what?Dear all,
We are traveling with my girlfriend to Thailand for 16 days from 8th of March this year. Our original plan was the usual one I suppose, couple of days in Bangkok, then Sukhothai for a day, Chiang Mai for a few after that a flight down south for a bit of much needed sun and island hoping and flying back from Bangkok.
This was before we realised he North is shrouded in smoke, I suppose we did not do a proper research and relied too much on Lonely's description of the month as the end of the high season. Although we tried to persuade ourselves, that Chiang Mai will be probably all right it seems the smoke issue gets pretty bad with flight cancellations whatever last year (and some years before).
Anyway, I would like to ask, does anybody know if Sukhothai gets their share of the big smoke? Everybody speaks of Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas. Also does the slash and burn (and the resulting pollution) applies to other parts, like the Mekong region?
If this all is true, does anybody know of a good alternative to the North's pull of hill tribes, green mountains and the likes? (In particular Lang San Park or Khao Yai National Park or any recommendation).
Thank you for all your recommendations. I suppose I could risk it and go up North either way, but our time is extremely limited and this is a trip we have been thinking about for a good while and can not repeat anytime soon, so I would hate to battle my way through an otherwise beautiful part of the country.
Feb 20, 2013 4:50 AM
1People speak of Chiang Mai because it's the primary tourist destination (and biggest city) in the north. But the seasonal haze isn't specifically a Chiang Mai thing. Haze can build up anywhere inland/north of Bangkok (including Sukhothai which is also surrounded by endless ricefields that get burned prior to planting) or north Laos/Myanmar. Chiang Mai airport (by the way) has never closed due to haze but Mae Hong Son airport has, if only for a couple days during the worst of it.
The good news is so far this year doesn't look too bad. Was out on my little farm north of the city today and it was fairly clear, and we've had some surprise quickie rains this month too which tends to clear the air. Today's PM-10 counts (nasty air particles) throughout the north are within safe levels (http://aqmthai.com). I wouldn't cancel your north Thailand plan but do allow for a bit of haze and heat and maybe skip the outdoor tough stuff (trekking). It's the season for jai yen yen (cool heart).
Feb 20, 2013 1:14 PM
2Hi Captain_Bob, thanks for the reply.
So is the current situation anyhow related to the one in March? I know it is hard to say, but from experience would you think this year is going to be less of an issue? Or is it hard to tell?
Shame about Sukhothai, we sort of guessed it is going to be smokey but you just confirmed that.
So if we would want to be smoke-free we would have to stick to Bangkok area and go down South or bite the bullet and go up North... Tricky one.
If there is any sort of a rule of thumb please share it with me... Thank you,
Feb 21, 2013 1:33 AM
3Khoa Yai is a good alternative...the nights are cooler than Bangkok, for sure...
Feb 21, 2013 2:41 AM
Feb 21, 2013 7:04 AM
5I was up in CM a couple of years ago during the period of burning and I found things pretty bad. I'd wake up in the morning with my eyes, throat, lungs and nose full of dust and ash, eyes were all crusty, coughing and sneezing a lot, felt rubbish. That was just with sleeping, think it must have been coming in through the aircon, so not sure what trekking and stuff would be like.
Feb 21, 2013 2:08 PM
6Hm TheSpade you are not helping, we have been just about persuaded to risk it :D
So CaptainBob, the thing you are saying sounds promising...
+ If you require a 100% haze-free visit in Thailand go south to the islands.+ It's not 100% haze free, more to the point of not struggling, etc...
On a slightly different note, which airlines operate cheaply between Chiang Mai and Phuket (or Krabi)? We had a look at some tickets, but they tended to be over the £100 mark for one way for one person which sounded quite a lot compared to the other prices.
Also everybody speaks of organised tours. Is it because alone you would see only the tip of the iceberg, not get to hill tribes, blahblah or is it safer, simpler etc?
Thanks again for the replies...
Feb 22, 2013 5:57 AM
Feb 22, 2013 10:06 AM
Feb 22, 2013 12:47 PM
9I don't live in Chaing Mai or anywhere else full time.I spend time all over Thailand and was worried myself that the smoke would drive me out at some point...but the wind and rain have kept me pretty happy this trip. I would have left by now if it had irritated my senses much. I am a free man and king of the road. oon I plan to visit the Phils for a stay, depending on how much I like it over there.But I enjoyed my two months here in CM.
Feb 27, 2013 4:39 AM
10Woops, pretty hazy out on the rice paddy today. The next 2-3 weeks is usually the crucial period for air quality, with more rain on the wish list. Watch this space...
Compare scenery November / January / Today
Mar 14, 2013 6:58 AM
11Lucky rains cleared the air around March 2-3 and it was fairly clear until a couple days ago. Unfortunately the haze has picked up again. We need more rain.
Mar 14, 2013 9:56 AM
Mar 15, 2013 2:48 AM
Mar 15, 2013 5:06 AM
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