Chiang Mai Digest

Dining, Travel and Living in Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai Flower Festival

The Chiang Mai Flower festival comes around every February. The festival is centered at Suan Buak Haad, transliterated this means "Garden Plus Beach." I'm not sure where the beach comes in but the Thai for garden "Suan" can refer to your front lawn, a formal garden or a park. Of equal import to the festival is the parade that begins at Narawat Bridge travels down Tha Pae rd. to the park.
The People of Chiang Mai Flower Festival - A Photo Album
The people of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival parade. The parade does have floats and marching bands. The women and costumes captured my imagination on this day.
Young Woman Wearing a Flower Veil
This young woman seems so exotic, mysterious and beautiful behind her veil of Jasmine.
Young Woman Wearing a Flower Veil
Girl in Lotus blossom
Woman in Profile
Prince for a day
young women parade in traditional dress.
Woman on a Floral Float
Young Woman with Orchids in her Hair
Woman leading a village contingent
Colorful Dancers
Palace Guard
Garuda in Flowers
Young Woman Leading a Contingent
Chiang Mai Flower Festival What She Saw - A Photo Album
My wife and I hit the parade right on time. We went in different directions. As the parade wound down we met (by accident) and made our way to Suan Buak Haad. This is what she saw while we were each on our own.
Young Woman on Float
Young Woman Shielding Herself from the Late Morning Sun
Young Woman on Float
Young woman on flowered float
Young Woman with Roses
Young girl taking a photo
Buddha against the sky
Young Man in Old Style Head Dress
Man Dancing
Man and Woman riding a float
Woman Riding a Float
young Boy Riding a Pony
Flower Festival Flower covered Float
Marching Band Dressed for hte Occassion
Woman on Flower Festival Float
Parade Dancers
Flower festival Float
Smalors Heading for hte Park
Flower Festival; Suan Buak Haad - A Photo Album
As the Parade began to wind down we cut through the Old City to join the part at Suan Buak Haad. There was plenty to eat & drink, Booths were set up displaying flowers from various nurseries, hydroponic, seed, and supply companies
Naga in Full Bloom
Naga decorating a float. The skin, or scales, are glutenous rice. Nice detailed work. How long do you think it takes to do just this head?
Naga in Full Bloom
Another Naga Head Decorating a Float
Paddle Wheel on a Boat Float.
Detail Made of Beans and Flowers
Small Decortion on a Float
Detail of a Float Decoration
Naga Head
Orchids in Bllom
Orchids
Orchids, Again!
Woman with Umbrella
A light crowd inspects each float.
Carnival Atmosphere While Viewing the Floats
Suan Buak Haad
San Buak Haad
Kai Ping Vendor

February in Chiang Mai

signals the approach of the end of the cool (cold) season. The days are usually sunny and comfortable the evenings cool. The weather is good. While folks from higher latitudes will find the weather comfortable, sweaters and layers are called for with most Thai and long-term expats. February is the perfect time to visit Chiang Mai, the Flower festival is an added bonus.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival Beauty Contestant
This young lady, riding one o the many floats in the parade, is a contestant in the beauty pageant held later in the day.
There are displays and special events around the city proper. A few kilometers south of the old city is Ratchaphruek Flower Gardens open year 'round there are some added features during the festival. Queen Sikirit Gardens, about 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai, is another year 'round destination that will have special events or displays this time of year.
 
Most come for the party and parade in Mueang, Chiang Mai. The parade begins near Narawat Bridge and progresses down Thapae Rd, turning left at Thapae Gate, the parade continue to make a half circumnavigation of the "Old City," crosses over the moat ending at Suan Buak Haad where the floats are judged, the beauty contest is held and the real party begins.
Parades in Chiang Mai may not be the parades you grew up with in a western country. Then again, maybe they are. As a child growing up in Orange County, California; even in the fifties; I remember the parade spectators being behind a barricade. Perhaps reminiscent of small town parades; there ain't no barricades in Chiang Mai. During the Flower Festival, Chiang Mai is anything but a small town. Still, it is common to see pedestrians wending their way through the parade participants or following along.

Thai from every corner of the country, as well as tourists from all over the world, will be in Chiang Mai for the Flower Festival. This one time of the year it can be hard to find a room if you don't book ahead.
Girl blowing bubbles away from the crowd
If you find yourself overcome by the hustle and bustle it is easy enough to slip behind the booths along the moat to a more peaceful, idyllic scene; Like this youngster, blowing bubbles along hte moat.
Suan Buak Haad is located at the south-west corner of the Old City. The party spreads along the west and south sides of the city in about equal proportions. The crowds can be a bit daunting. If you're not accustomed to tropical "cool" seasons you may find the heat near your limit of tolerance. There are plenty of Kiosks and vendors selling cool drinks, beer, soda, fresh squeezed juices along with plenty of finger foods to nosh as you stroll among the displays and floats. With any event or road trip in Thaland planning meals is best avoided, taking what you find along the way will offer an abundance of choices; the Flower Festival is no exception.
We ducked into the park after an hour or two of wandering among the vendor kiosks, floats and displays for a respite from the crowds. On entering the park I felt as if some one had hit the mute and slow motion buttons in my head. Here was placid place to sit and people watch, we had a stick with three fire roasted eggs, a bag of strawberries Water so cold it made you head hurt and our own few square meters of lawn to sit on.
 
It had been a long day with the sights and sounds of the parade, the walk through town and the crowd at parade end we were tired the park was as far as we wanted to go. The car was 3 kilometers way, we took a tuk-tuk and went home happy to be living in Chiang Mai.
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is held on he first weekend of February. If you plan to go, book a room ahead of time. The Flower Festival is popular with Thai and travelers alike and rooms can be scarce. Accommodation can be had in a broad range of prices; 300 Baht and up.
Flower in front of the spirit house
We came home to this flower blooming in front of the spirit house in the fornt of our compound. The Chiang Mai Flower festival goes on...