The northern Thai city of Chiang Mai celebrates the annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival at the beginning of February. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the Chiang Mai Flower Festival numerous times over the years and it never fails to impress. The floral displays are wonderful, but that is only a part of what makes the weekend so memorable. Parades, music concerts, cultural displays and street markets combine to make this one of Thailand’s most colourful and family-friendly festivals which can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
The highlight of the weekend festival is the Saturday street parade featuring marching bands, vintage cars and giant floats intricately decorated with flowers. The timing of the grand parade can vary from year to year so it’s best to ask at your hotel or guest house a day or two ahead for the timings. The procession usually commences from Nawarat Bridge on the Ping River before making its way down towards Thapae Gate and around the moat to Buak Hat Park in the south-west corner of the old city.
The road outside Buak Hat Park is closed off to traffic from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening allowing the area to transform into a vibrant street market. This is also where the floats are parked once the parade has finished and is the best place to get a close-up view of them and the elaborate floral decorations.
Dates of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival takes place annually and is usually held on the first weekend in February. Events normally commence on the first Friday in February with the following day, Saturday, hosting the main street parade with floral displays, people in traditional dress and marching bands.
Location of the Flower Festival
The main focus for activities is the Buak Hat Park in the south-west corner of the old town district of Chiang Mai. Special events are also held at the Three Kings Monument whilst the square in front of Thapae Gate hosts music concerts, beauty pageants and a street market. All around the city of Chiang Mai, floral displays are in place including all of the gates marking the entrance to the walled old city. And if that isn’t enough to keep you occupied, don’t miss the excellent Sunday Walking Street Market in Chiang Mai.