Hosted over the weekend in early February, it honours the time of year when the city is home to countless yellow and white chrysanthemums, as well as the endemic Damask Rose which comes into bloom to mark the end of Thailand’s cooler season.
This year the Chiang Main Flower Festival showcased an array of flowers and plants across the city. There were intricately decorated floats in the streets – dancers in bright traditional costumes alongside them. Parks and gardens offered displays and exhibitions, numerous competitions were held and flower vendors set up their stalls. Orchids lovingly grown by local residents were also beautifully displayed, adding to the splendour.
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival has been running for over 40 years and draws thousands of visitors to Chiang Mai to see the mix of ancient and modern flower decorations, while learning more about the ancient Lanna Kingdom traditions.
During this time the popular Suan Buak Hat Park is transformed into an open-air paradise and is where the focus remains for the duration. Plants, flowers, orchids and garden decorations were on sale. There were displays by landscape specialists featuring waterfalls, designer patios and various garden decorations that represent both Thai gardens, and those from neighbouring countries.
The highlight is the Flower Parade which takes place on the Saturday and this year had more than 25 entrants, each with beautifully decorated floats. They made their way through the centre of the city where thousands had gathered in anticipation of the colourful moving masterpieces.
Dancers in magnificent costumes and musical performances accompanied the floats. As did Western-style marching bands and drumming groups from local schools. The Thai dancers taking part in the parade handed out flowers to the spectators lining the side of the road.
A competition is held for the most beautiful and creative float, as well as the float that best depicts cultural preservation. This winner received a trophy from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Many of the girls riding on the brightly decorated floats and carriages were participating in the Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival competition. This much anticipated part of the festival follows the parade and is when the Chiang Mai Flower Festival Queen is crowned.
Other events to enjoy were the flower exhibitions at the Bhubing Flower Gardens and Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens, and there were several interesting and colourful flower markets in Chiang Mai worth visiting too.
Other activities to mention were the impressive opening ceremony, Thai Lanna performances, awards presentations and music concerts held in the gardens.
This certainly is a magnificent festival we recommend you incorporate into your visit to Northern Thailand. The dates of the 2020 Chiang Mai Flower Festival have been set for the 7th to 9th of February. Do make sure you have your accommodation and transport arrangements booked up in time.
While in Chiang Mai, consider a visit to the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui and Doi Pha Hom Pok National Parks, Ang Khang Royal Project, Ratchaphruek Garden as well as the famed Doi Suthep Temple on the hill overlooking the city, and Wat Phra Singh.
For ease of reference, Chiang Mai is located just over 700km north of Bangkok with several airlines, both local and regional servicing the destination.