Chiang Mai Travel Guides
Bo Sang Umbrella Festival in late January features a colourful umbrella parade during the day and a night-time lantern procession. The highlight is the many northern-Thai music ensembles that perform along Bo Sang’s main street.
Woodcarving fair is held in January over four days including the weekend closest to the end of the month. Woodcarving demonstrations take place, while visitors can view and purchase the craftsmen's exquisite work.
Flower festival is a kaleidoscope of colour, held for three days during the first weekend in February (exact dates may vary according to the flower harvest). Events include flower arrangement displays, parades of floats decorated with thousands of flowers, folk music, cultural performances, and the Queen of the Flower Festival contest. Most activities are centred at Buak Hat Park near the south western corner of the city moats. People from all over the country arrive for this occasion, so book early if you want a room in town.
Songkran is celebrated for 7-9 days with great fervour in Chiang Mai. As the Lunar New Year, traditionally it was celebrated by bathing Buddha images and showing respect to monks and elders. This still occurs, although it has developed into a frenetic national water fight where no one or thing is left dry! This has to be one of the friendliest, wildest festivals anywhere and a great way to make new friends. Grab a water gun and hit the streets.
<p>During Songkran, keep cameras or cell phones in your hotel or in plastic bags…nothing is spared if you get doused.</p>
The Mango fair is celebrated at Buak Hat Park when the mango crop is ripe. The fair entails lots of mango eating and the coronation of the Mango Queen.
Intakin Festival is held at Wat Chedi Luang and celebrated around the city. It appeases the Chiang Mai’s guardian deity to ensure that the annual monsoons arrive on time.
October / November
Loy Kratong, held on the full moon in either late October or early November provides some of the most beautiful sights and festivities. All over the country, little floats (kratong) are made from banana trunks, flowers and candles and set afloat on the water. This symbolizes the casting away of troubles and a call for a happy future. As the moon rises in the evening people converge around bodies of water throughout the country to release their kratongs. Chiang Mai’s river banks are alive with people releasing their kratongs and paper hot-air balloons, lighting up the sky with hundreds of pinpoints of light. Many people flock to Chiang Mai for Loy Kratong, so be sure to book early if you want a room in town.
The King of Thailand’s birthday is on December 5th and is a national holiday. The King is much revered throughout Thailand and the whole kingdom celebrates his birthday. Homes and buildings are adorned with lights and fireworks light up the sky after everyone sings the King’s anthem while holding candles.
Rose Festival is held in honour of the King’s birthday. Chiang Mai celebrates by having beautiful displays of roses. Check it out at Buak Hat Park / Thapae Gate. The festivities are held on the weekend closest to the King's birthday.
Chiang Mai Food Festival is a culinary delight, held from 4-10th of December. Here you will find an array of taste sensations from Thai and Northern-Thai specialties. A variety of foodstuffs are displayed for sale. Stage shows and many other events are organized.
Chiang Mai Food & Entertainment Festival involves more eating and entertainment from 13-17th of December. Contact the Chiang Mai Restaurant & Entertainment Organization.
Official National Holidays
January 1 - New Year’s Day
February (full moon day) - Makka Bucha
April 6 - Chakri Day
April 13 - Songkran, Thai New Year
May 1 - Labour Day
May 5 - Coronation Day
May 7 - Ploughing Ceremony
May (full moon day) - Visakha Bucha
July (full moon day) - Asanha Bucha commemorates the first sermon of Buddha
August 12 - Queen’s Birthday
October 23 - Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 - King’s Birthday
December 10 - Constitution Day
December 31 - New Year’s Eve