Chiang Mai’s Dirty Little Secret


  1. Jan says:

    So true Alana. We are based in Chiang Mai but currently in Croatia where the air is crystal clear. I couldn’t cope with the smokey air in cm – such a shame. Thanksfor your great posts. love your work.

    • Alana says:

      It really is too bad…but when I think about the months of cloudy, drizzly darkness at home or two months of smokey air here and sun, I’ll take it 😉 Thanks for reading!

  2. I’m glad we visited chiang Mai in November! Though I currently live with much worse. Shanghai’s air quality readings average 120 (unhealthy for sensitive groups), though readings of 200 or higher aren’t uncommon.

    • Alana says:

      November is beautiful here! Is the air always that bad in Shanghai or just certain times of the year?

      • The readings are almost never below 100. even when the sky looks blue overhead, you can see the haze on the horizon. It’s probably the biggest drawback to living here, because Shanghai itself is pretty amazing. When the readings are really high, I just stay inside.

  3. J. says:

    Love the King’s fake rain!
    At least March is almost over….

  4. Susan says:

    I looked at this last year and found that CM’s air pollution was worse than LA’s, San Antonio’s, and Austin’s combined. Bad news.

  5. But it looks like it’s gonna rain today! Yeah! Hopefully it will clear up the smoke.

  6. bruce says:

    How do the kids at school cope with the poor air quality?

    Do you think it will have serious long term effects on one’s health / life?

    I considered CMvs BKK and CM wins in many respects except the beaches and air quality.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      I don’t know how the air quality compares to BKK, but I would assume it’s usually better up in Chiang Mai (at least for the majority of the year!)

      There’s not really much you can do during the bad months except wait it out. I think people are starting to get more vocal about limiting the burnings, but change is slow…

  7. People complain about it here, youv’e pointed it out. But the truth is it’s only some days and it’s nowhere near as bad as living in Beijing.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      It is only for a relatively short period of time…but I think in a way that makes it more surprising and disappointing since it’s so beautiful the rest of the year!

  8. Vivian says:

    Oh no, I’m planning on going sometime between Feb and April…bad idea? I’m most worried about the extreme heat and bad air (don’t do well in either).

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Mmm…it’s definitely not the nicest time of year. End of February through March is smoky in the north and then it gets really hot in April especially around Songkran in the middle of the month. If you can come a different time it may be better, but that’s the only time that works still come!

  9. It’s interesting that the photos make the pollution look so bad. Maybe it’s the smoke from the burning. It’s currently 153 where I live in China right now, but you couldn’t tell by looking at the sky.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      It’s totally the smoke – the air in north is just fine all year until the fields are burned then, between there being no rain and in a valley, the smoke just gets trapped and stays. :/

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