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Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

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Calgary, Canada
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Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

Hello

I am taking my family to Chiang Mai next year, I will be there from Jan to the first week of February and they will be there in February.

The fumes from the bikes were pretty bad even in october and nov when I was there before.

How bad will the air be in February generally? Is it safe to walk around? Thank you

Florida - Alaska...
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1. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

To be honest, if you thought pollution was bad in October & November, you probably won't like February (or January). Oct & Nov are at the end of the rainy season, the air has been well washed and quite clear. By February, the dry season has been under way for three months and the air contains some particulate matter (dust, diesel soot, etc).

For me, the conditions are fine, same for my wife who suffers from some issues with asthma and doesn't have any problems at that time of year. We have had cycling groups pedaling around during February without any problems or complaints about the air quality.

But as I started off, if you didn't like Nov, then you may not like conditions in February.

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

Well what I didn't like was all the fumes from the motorbikes. I took taxis because I didn't want to be behind exhaust fumes in traffic.

I don't have asthma or anything I just seem to get headaches with too much fumes or anything burning.

I'm not sure if you've ever been to Istanbul but that was probably the worst smoggy city I've been to and I just stayed inside because walking around outside gave me headaches.

I will hope for the best, my mom was just concerned as she heard about the burning of the rice fields. Will be visiting southern Thailand after as well.

Florida - Alaska...
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3. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

Ricefield burning is primarily in March, as farmers prepare for the return of the rains (we start getting reasonable rain in April). But as it is dry season, there is always a chance for smoke from wildfires.

Culebra, Puerto Rico
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4. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

Was planning a 6 month stay in Chiang-Mai, with golf being the main draw. Food & sightseeing & all else also very attractive, I thought. Not so after researching weather / smog conditions for the 1st half of the year. Sounds horrible, so looking for another destination.

Bob

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

Bob it isn't the entire first half of the year. January is one of the best times to be in Chiang Mai. It is dry and nice temperatures, not too hot. March is the month for burning off - this is over the entire region - it can start earlier in February and it can continue into April. Usually in April once the rain and storms start the skys clear. It is really March you want to avoid - but certainly not the entire first half of the year.

Caroline.

Vancouver
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6. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

I spent 9 days in Chiang Mai and further north, in early February, and had no problems at all with the air quality. I have Emphysema and Asthma, and didn't notice any smoke or dust at all. Yes there is some heavy traffic on the main streets, but if you wander into the sidestreets and quiet sois, they are a great haven, and full of shops and fun little restaurants and lots to see and do. You can also easily arrange day trips out into the countryside where the air may be fresher. The only place in my travels in Thailand where I actually noticed smoke in the air and saw some fields burning was in the northeast of Thailand which is far from Chiang Mai.

It's very hard to forecast how the air quality in Chiang Mai will be from year to year in January and February. It can be fine one year, and terrible another year. For me, it was a lovely time spent in Chiang Mai. If you were to go and the air quality was not to your liking, prepare a "Plan B" before you leave home just in case, and then you can move on to wherever Plan B would take you, with no stress. Thailand is a very easy place to get around in - internal flights are relatively cheap, buses go everywhere, and you can easily hire a driver to take you and your family long distances if you wanted to.

Have a great trip!

Edited: 17 November 2013, 04:02
Perth, Australia
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7. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

We were in Chiang Mai for some days just recently at the end of October. The air was perfectly clean and there was very little if anything to worry about with vehicle exhaust fumes. Of course every city has vehicles, so if you have a problem with exhaust then it might be helpful to wear a mask covering nose and mouth. They can be bought very cheaply from any pharmacy.

A local resident who we have known for some years told us that, although burning off is illegal, the farmers still do it anyway and the quality of the air in March and into April can be extremely bad.

8. Re: Burning of the rice fields and smog in February?

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