Chiang Mai hotels and travel guide, Thailand. Hotel reservation for Chiang Mai.

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Festivals & Events

The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek

When : 14 December - 14 March
Where : Royal Park Rajapruek, Mueang District

The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek of 2011 will be held from 14 December 2011 to 14 March 2012, in the Thai city of Chiang Mai. It is one of the grand celebrations hosted by the Royal Thai Government in honor of King Bhumibol, the world’s longest reigning monarch. The event is to mark the 84th birthday of His Majesty in 2011. The event, featuring over 2.5 million trees and plants, should boost the export and tourism sectors. Initially, at leat 10 countries will join the exhibition.

Winter and the Red Cross Fair

When : 30 December - 8 January
Where : Chiang Mai Provincial City, Mueang District

Winter and the Red Cross Fair
Winter and the Red Cross Fair
Chiang Mai Red Cross Fair and Winter festival are held at the end of the local harvest season. Products from both governmental and private organizations are exhibited in the event. Enjoy the beauty queen contest, music, and shop for low-priced goods from factories. Furthermore, appreciate the invaluable arts in the local shows and concerts.

Borsang Umbrella Festival

When : 20 - 22 January
Where : Borsang Village, San Kamphang District

Borsang Umbrella Festival
Borsang Umbrella Festival
The people of Bor Sang, known to visitors as "the Umbrella Village", celebrate their traditional craft and skills with the annual Umbrella Festival. It features contests, exhibitions, a Miss Bor Sang pageant and, of course, stalls selling umbrellas and other handicrafts.

Umbrellas made from brightly coloured Sa paper have traditionally been made in the area around Ban Bor Sang for many years and, with the help of the tourist industry, this once-small craft has developed into big business. Almost everyone in this small village near Chiang Mai now derives a livelihood from making these paper umbrellas, which are intricately painted with beautiful floral designs. Different households often specialise in one particular stage of the production process.

Chiang Mai China Town Chinese New Year

When : 22 - 23 January
Where : Warorot Market (Kad Luang), Mueang District
Chiang Mai China Town Chinese New Year
Chiang Mai China Town Chinese New Year
In Chiang Mai the focus of the celebrations will be the Chinese temple at the Warorot (or Kad Luang) market, by the Ping River. This year there will be fire dragon shows, lion dances and exhibitions of kung fu fighting from Guangxi Province in China. There is also a photographic and art exhibition tracing the history of the Chinese community and the Warorot market. This will take place at Trok Lao Cho, one of the old wooden shophouses at the bottom of Tha Pae Road, adjacent to the market.

Chiang Mai Flower Festival

When : 3 - 5 February
Where : Buak Haad Park, Mueang District

Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The region surrounding Chiang Mai is an excellent breeding ground for all manner of tropical and temperate flowers where most bloom early in the year between January and February. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is said to be one of the most beautiful events in the world and also very well attended so if you are planning on making the trip to Chiang Mai for the flower festival make sure to book your accommodations early.

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is not only a beautiful event but an important event for the provinces horticultural industry that has become known as one of Thailand’s major exporters of fresh cut flowers, ornamental plants, and a range of other horticultural products. Over 200 varieties of flowering and ornamental plants will be on display during the 3 day festival.

Visitors to the Chiang Mai Flower Festival will be treated to parades with flower covered floats, flower competitions and horticultural exhibits that have no equal. As well there will be many craftsmen on hand displaying their wares in the tradition of excellence only known in Chiang Mai. The legendary Lanna Thai artisans, long-recognized for their exquisite craftsmanship, will have many pieces of art on display and for sale. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival will also feature traditional and contemporary floral art by many artisans. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is definitely one of Thailand’s most beautiful and vibrant festivals, definitely not one to be missed. If all goes as planned I will be in attendance this year and hope to bring back tons of great photos.

Strawberry Fair

When : 11 - 14 February
Where : Samoeng District

Strawberry Fair
Strawberry Fair
Celebration of Strawberryes Day in Samoeng District, Chiang Mai is being held at Samoeng District Office. Many unique activities, such as Strawberry Contest, Parade Strawberry, Beauty Contest, Strawberry Cycle Cross, Extra pageat for the bride and bridegroom if you wedding ceremong you. Many of the activities are concerned with strawberries, such as the Miss Strawberry Contest, strawberry products contest, strawberry salad making competition, and selling the best strawberries in the world at an amazing low price. The taste of the local strawberries in Samoeng is renowned, especially in the Tambon Bor Kaew area.

Lanna Songkran Festival

When : 13 - 15 April
Where : Mueang District

Lanna Songkran Festival
Lanna Songkran Festival
Featuring Lanna Thai New Year celebrations and festivities at temples, the city gates and around the city moat throughout the northern capital of Chiang Mai. One of the best places to experience Songkran is in Chiang Mai, where it is celebrated on a grand scale with a flavor uniquely and entirely its own, attracting visitors from far and wide. This year, Songkran Thai New Year festivities scheduled for April 13-15, will be held at temples, in the vicinity of the city’s gates and around the city moat.

Devout Buddhists visit the temple for merit-making and to listen to sermons. Lustral water is sprinkled on sacred Buddha images, such as the Phra Buddha Sihing image, and also poured over the hands of monks in a gesture of reverence. Donations are also made to the temple. Enjoy traditional Thai cultural performances held in the temple ground. One of the highlights of the festival is the "Songkran Beauty Queen Procession" that takes place on Songkran Day itself - April 13. Meanwhile, many other events leading up to the main attraction are spread over several days and it is here that the visitor gets to see various aspects of Chiang Mai, first hand, its culture, cuisine, arts and crafts, as well as the friendly people.

City Pillar Festival

When : May - June
Where : Wat Chedi Luang, Mueang District

City Pillar Festival
City Pillar Festival
Hundreds of thousands of people from North Thailand flock to Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai to worship the City Pillar at the annual Inthakin festival. The celebration invokes peace, happiness and prosperity for the city and its residents. Busy street parades, images of Buddha, flowers and candles decorate the city for a week. City Pillar Inthakin Festival (Tam Boon Khan Dok), a unique festival to Chiang Mai, starts on the day of the waning moon of the sixth lunar month and lasts 6–8 days.

The people of Chiang Mai believe that the City Pillar contains the souls of former townspeople and it is considered one of Chiang Mai's sacred sites. It is now housed in its own special shrine called Viharn Jaturamook. The City Pillar can only be seen during the festival dates and women are not permitted to enter the shrine but can view it through the entrance portals while men may enter and pray. Centered around Wat Chedi Luang where the City Pillar is housed, this is a celebration of brahmic origin. Offerings are made to the City Pillar, which is believed to be able to bring rain, as well as the many other Buddhist and Lanna-era icons.

On the first day of the festival, a Buddha image of Phra Chao Fon Saen Ha will be paraded around the streets of Chiang Mai city while locals wait along the street side to sprinkle blessed water (Nam Som Poi) to the statue. When the Buddha image returns to Chedi Luang temple, a ritual of flower offerings begins. Crowds of people come to make merit by offering flowers, candle and joss stick on the bowls in the forecourts of the temple.

Apart from offering flowers to the thirty-two trays, making merit by donating money to your own Buddha image (based on day of birth) is also believed to bring good luck to the donor. The ceremony ends with closing chants from 108 monks gathered at Wat Chedi Luang.

There are traditional events featured every night within the temple grounds including musical performances, traditional performances of sword dancing and lance dancing. Carnival games, and the ubiquitous Thai vendor food is present and visitors will also enjoy listening to local Northern Thailand traditional music. This is a very large celebration in which the Chiang Mai citizenry participate.

Yi Peng Festival

When : November
Where : Lanna Dhutanka, San Sai District

Yi Peng Festival
Yi Peng Festival
The Yi Peng festival is an off shoot of the Loy Krathong festival (also spelled "Loi Krathong"), an ancient Thai festival that occurs on the 12th full moon every year. It's a magical experience - a festival that is both romantic and explosive, peaceful and wildly energetic. The festival predominantly involves the widespread making of "krathong" - small, hand-made boats usually made out of banana leaves, decorated with flowers and incense sticks, and a lit candle. They are sent down the river during the festival in their droves.

Loy Krathong is not a religious festival. The launching of a krathong is a spritual gesture, a lasting tradition. The Thai people believe it will bring them good luck as these boats are gifts to the river gods. There is also a romantic slant to the festival - it is said that if a couple release a krathong together and it stays alight until out of sight, their love will last forever.

The festival is quite a spectacle. Literally thousands of these little candle-lit boats float on the water. There is an air of respect, of tranquility about the ritual. Children, families, couples partake in the launching of their krathong together. It's a special moment. a thoughtful time.

In Chiang Mai (northern Thailand), over the past few decades an offshoot of the Loy Krathong festival has emerged. Known as the "Yi Peng" festival - or festival of lights - the festival takes the original boat ritual up to the sky. Here, people light a lantern that is kind of like a personal hot air balloon and set it adrift, sending all of their troubles away.

The lantern, or "khom loy", is a very simple, environmentally-safe rice-paper structure. Its lighting involves a few preparatory steps...you light its fuel cell, unfurl the lantern, wait patiently as the lantern fills with gas (from the flame's burning) and hold it to the ground to make sure the gas doesn't escape. As it starts to fill, you feel its tug. It wants to leave. You raise it up carefully, then, when you feel the time is right, you gently let it go and it soars up to the sky. You can watch its trajectory for ages - you can see it until it is so far away it looks like a star. When all around you others are doing the same, it is an amazing feeling to see your lantern join everyone else's. You have helped to create a constellation of sorts. You are reminded that individually, you are unique and important, while also entirely belonging to something collective and universal.

Like the boats, the lanterns' launching is a celebration. There is a lot of love in it, fun and joy. The sensation of its release cannot help but release a childlike wonder. As a result the festival atmosphere is electric; everyone is euphoric. A further extension of the lantern festival is fireworks mayhem - all through the festival, people launch rockets, sparklers - anything that razzles and dazzles. All night long the city's soundscape is filled with the the bangs and crackles of fireworks booming and erupting.