For the past few weeks, Chiang Mai and other parts of Thailand that do not normally receive much - if any - rain have been the recipients of cloudy skies, light drizzle, and (even as I write) major downpours more typical of the rainy season.
So what to do if you already have your vacation planned, time booked off and flights lined up? Some people cancel everything. But if you're like us, you go ahead and make the best of it. In that spirit, here are some things to consider if you are starting to feel as blue as the sky you are wishing for.
1. Cloud cover for outdoor expeditions
Your pictures might not be as fantastic, but it sure is great to have cloud cover when doing serious outdoor activities for any extended period of time. Whether it's cycling, climbing, hiking, swimming, or motorbike riding, enjoy not getting burned!
2. Green all around
As someone who lives here year-round, I know that the dry (and hot) season is approaching, which means less green and more brown. Rain now means that we are less likely to experience a drought like last year, and it also means (hopefully!) that the burning season will be significantly shortened. So as you walk around, enjoy the earth and greenery that is being revitalized by this awesome rain.
3. Cafes everywhere
Chiang Mai seems to be the province of funky and imaginative cafes. So many creative and cozy cafes are waiting to be discovered - by you. So grab your favorite book and plan a day of caffeine and relaxing.
4. Slowing down
Sometimes we forget that the purpose of our vacation is to take time to slow down, take it easy for a while. Sure, you want to see things, do things. But just chilling in a new place, taking time for yourself to relax, to breath and to simply be is also a really great part of getting away. Rain is a great excuse to do a little less (or nothing at all) for a day or two during your vacation.
5. Smaller crowds, less crowding
People do cancel and go out less. This means that if you are one of the few to brave the rain, then some sights might not be as busy and you won't not have to cue as long. You might get some of the best seats and more choice.
Rain does have some advantages and I hope that you get the chance to make the best of your vacation.