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Updated by Auburn Silver on Jun 25, 2015
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Festivals in Chiang Mai - Chiang Mai's Best Local Festivals

Revered as a beach holiday hub for the masses Chiang Mai is also one of the most colourful cultural hubs in Thailand. From Thai New Year to Lanna festivals the town's top local events are as follows.



As a harvest festival celebrated in several Asian countries Songkran is also known as the South East Asian New Year Festival. Marked for three days in April the Songkran festival coincides with the sun moving towards Taurus from Aries according to the lunar calendar. Celebrated with great pomp and pageantry the festival is now of the most anticipated local events in Chiang Mai's calendar. Rooted in Buddhist heritage the Songkran festival kicks off on the 13th of April when a parade of Buddha sculptures head Thapae road in a celebratory procession. The 14th of April the parade crosses the Iron Bridge to reach the Thapae Gate while the 15th marks the beginning of the water festival in which residents drench one another in friendly water fights across the streets. Visitors based in conveniently situated Chiang Saen hotels such as the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa will have a front row seat to the festivities owning to the hotel's strategic location.


Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Conducted during the early days of the month of February each year the Chiang Mai Flower Festival is another hot letter day in the beach hub's event calendar. Taking place in the region surrounding Suan Buak Haad Park which occupies the south-western fringes of the moat this colourful and fragrant festival of blooms is one of the most spectacular local events in Chiang Mai. Littered with stalls selling every flower variety imaginable the decorative arrangements of popular flowers including orchids are another interesting aspect of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival for observers. A floral procession is also part of the festivities as a parade of residents carrying elaborate floats decked in blooms across the Nawarat Bridge to reach the Suan Buak Haad Park. Beauty pageants are also part of the festival in which Miss International Flower Blooming Beauty competitions are organized.


Loy Krathong

Often described as one of the more tranquil local festivals in Chiang Mai Loy Krathong is another lunar New Year celebration of the Siamese order. Marked with great reverence and pride the terms Loy in Loy Krathong literally translates to "let float". The act of sending offering to the river deities via lotus shaped floats is an integral part of the Loy Krathong celebrations as everything from coins, flowers, candles, betel nuts and incense sticks are perched atop floats and set free across to reach the spirits of the river. Composed of banana trucks the floats are some of the most picturesque sights in a Loy Krathong festival. As a traditional craft the folding of banana leaves to create a float is a skill most children in Chiang Mai posses thanks to the Siamese lunar New Year event.


Chiang Mai Arts and Culture Festival

Taking place at Chiang Mai's iconic Dton Payom Market down Suthep Road the Chiang Mai Arts and Culture Festival takes centre stage during the eaylt days of April. Showcasing the area's artistic and creative prowess the cultural festival which also includes colorful displays of Lanna era activities hopes to preserve the traditional art forms for future generations. Food kiosks with northern delicacies are also common feature of the highly anticipated festival.


Yi Peng

Marked on the Lanna calendar's second month, during the full moon the Yi Peng is another vibrant local festival held during the same period as Loy Krathong. Synonymous with floating lanterns the festival attracts millions of locals and visitors who come to fly a Khom Loy during Yi Peng (also known as the Lantern Festival).