Anyone stayed through burning season in Chiang Mai?

Has anyone stayed through the burning season in Chiang Mai before? I’ve been here for a few days (I wasn’t aware of burning season before I got here) and saw some reports about air quality that are a bit alarming. Does anyone have firsthand experience?

If you’ve stayed through it before, did you notice any health effects? I know it’s supposed to clear up soon-ish, so I’m mostly looking to find out if my concerns are paranoid or if I should be legitimately worried.

Thanks!

I haven’t, but am due to arrive there in May. From the recent news I’ve read, it looks like wearing a mask, and maximizing time spent under A/C for a while is a smart move.

I’ve spent a few weeks during the burning season and it was awful. To be safe you need to wear a N95 mask (check out the 3M store on Wualai road) and you should avoid going outside if you can. You can buy a particle filter for your A/C unit at the Home Pro store near the CentralFestival shopping mall, that helps a lot with indoor air quality.

When I was there I used to spend most of my time at Maya, there’s a comfortable Starbucks there for work and a co-working space (CAMP). There’s also a Fuji restaurant where you can get a great meal for 500-1000 bath.

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It’s kinda bad now, flights to Chiang Mai yesterday had to return to BKK due to poor visibility.

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I stayed last year and I’ve got friends who are there now. It’s not unbearable so long as you don’t have existing respiratory problems.

Having said that, I left this year. I left the second week of March after the first bad weekend, and won’t return till the second week of April.

If you’re already bought tickets, you’ll survive, but if you can avoid it you should.

That’s what I’ve been reading, too. We’ve been doing most of our working/eating indoors, and it hasn’t bothered us much.

For sure. We found out after we arrived (it hadn’t occurred to me that air quality was something I needed to look into before this), and we have a place booked for six weeks. Right now it’s looking like we’ll probably just power through, staying indoors when it’s really bad out. In the future, though, I’ll be sure to plan for a different time frame.

Thanks for the responses, everyone!

I was just there at the beginning of March (2015) and I didn’t know about any Burning Season. Googling what it is now - “From mid February to early April, Peaks in mid March” - I’m a bit puzzled as I had no trouble with the heat at all. I have not seen anyone wearing any kind of mask.

Temperatures peaked at 36° C (97° F) in the afternoon, and sure that is hot, but quite bearable as the air is a lot cleaner up North than it is in, say, Bangkok. If you work during the day, with air condition, I think you should be fine.

Seeing Chiang Mai at the top of Nomad List now, I’m seriously considering living there for 6 - 12 months.