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Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2019 in Thailand
February 1 - February 3
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2019, now in its 42nd edition, is one of the most colourful events in Thailand attracting thousands of floral enthusiasts year on year.
It’s not haphazard that Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second biggest city and located in the country’s north, is nicknamed the Rose of the North. While the Damask rose is found only here, a huge variety of flowers – from the kingdom’s national yellow Ratchaphruek to white chrysanthemums and multi-coloured orchids – make Chiang Mai an ideal showcase underscoring Thailand’s reputation as a country with one of the largest plant biodiversity in Southeast Asia.
During the three days of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival the city turns into a profusion of colour with a parade of giant and elaborately decorated flower floats winding their way through town, uniformed marching bands from local schools and universities, and dancers donning traditional Thai and local hill tribe dress.
Floral arrangements, miniature trees and ornamental plants and flowers are all on display for judges to select the winner, while horticulturalists can check out the latest landscaping trends. Although the big flower floats will be competing with each other in creativity and beauty, the most popular competition is the beauty pageant to crown Chiang Mai’s flower queen, with deliberations and parties stretching into the late hours.
A friendly and laid-back atmosphere, plenty of street food stalls and manageable crowds make the Chiang Mai Flower Festival a fun and relaxed event ideal for both young and old.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2019 timing and locations
The flower floats parade will be held on the Saturday, the second day of the festival, and usually starts at 9am. It takes off from the train station to Narawatt Bridge where the VIP viewing tribunes are and where the parade officially starts. It then goes into Thapae Road to the historical gate of the same name and follows the moat before finishing at Nong Buak Hard Public Park in the southwest corner of the old city.
Try out the Chiang Mai Jazz Festival 2019.
Nong Buak Hard Park – known for its many types of trees and flowers – is the main focus of activities and is where most people end up after the parade is over. All the flower floats will be exhibited here and can be viewed again at leisure until the festival ends. This is also the place where the Miss Chiang Mai Flower beauty contest will start later in the afternoon that same day and where you can find other flora exhibits. Meanwhile, lots of food stalls will keep you going.
Another noteworthy spot is the Thapae Gate square which will be home to music concerts and a street market.
As the exact timing of the events sometimes changes, double-check at your hotel the day before you head out to ensure you have the most up-to-date programme.
While you’re in town, check out these 6 Things To Do in Chiang Mai Off the Tourist Trail.
Other flora related things to do during the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2019
If you can’t get enough of it, check out the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, an 80-hectare site at the Royal Agricultural Research Centre where in the past a prestigious international horticultural exposition was held. At the time, the three-month-long event featured international gardens, over 2.5 million trees of tropical plants and flowers, and received nearly 4 million visitors. Today, many of the original gardens and features can still be viewed here.
If you like the mountains and a good vista on Chiang Mai, head to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park on the city’s fringes. Take the beautiful, winding forest road up to the popular Wat Phra That Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple, and continue a little further to Bhuping, the royal family’s winter palace. Built in 1961, the palace is famous for its rich, beautiful flower gardens.
Further afield, about a 45-minute drive from town, is the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden, home to both indigenous Thai plants and flowers and more exotic ones from all over the world. It’s a great spot if you’re into gardening and horticulture, but also if you simply enjoy lots of flowers and colour in a beautiful and peaceful setting. Moreover, at this time of the year, many of them will be in full bloom.
Where to stay during the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2019
As this will be high tourist season, book your accommodation well in advance. There are plenty of options from budget to high-end luxury. A great alternative to hotels is stayinchiangmai holiday rentals while you can find the best Chiang Mai hotel deals on our hotel booking portal.
To discover more about Thailand, read Travel Begins as 40’s ‘Essential Travel Guide to Thailand Holidays for the Over 40s’.
More information on Thailand and the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2019
Check out the Tourist Authority of Thailand website for updates and additional information.