Chiang Mai is famous for its festivals, including Songkran (Thai New Year), Loy Krathong (Festival of Lights), and Chiang Mai Flower Festival. During my first visit, I was lucky to see the city as a floral paradise.
Whether you’re visiting Chiang Mai after exploring Bangkok or Phuket and you happen to be in the city during this time, this guide will help you make the most of your visit to this renowned flower festival.
Plus, I’ll share the best street food spots that you can visit after the festival!
When Is the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024?
Chiang Mai Flower Festival is an annual event every February. Traditionally, it is held on the first weekend of the month to celebrate the end of the cold season.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 Dates and Location
This year, Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 will be held at Bumrung Buri Road and Arak Road from February 2 to February 4, 2024.
What is the Chiang Mai Flower Festival?
The festival fills the gardens of Chiang Mai with vibrant flowers, with two highlights – an extensive parade and the crowning of Miss Chiang Mai. The traffic around the public park of Suan Buak Haad is closed to give way to the festival.
This is the time of the year when the winter season ends, and there is full bloom of tulips and orchids. Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 also marks the beginning of the summer season.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival History
As soon as you step into Chiang Mai, especially in Doi Inthanon or during this flower festival, you’ll understand why.
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival has been held since 1977 and features flower floats, beauty pageants, cultural performances, and flower-arranging competitions.
Why is Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 Celebrated?
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 is a celebration of the natural beauty of northern Thailand.
It honors the farmers who cultivate the diverse array of flowers and plants thriving in the region’s fertile soil and favorable climate. It is a joyful appreciation of life, the importance of community, and our connection to nature.
Our Experience at the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2023
When we returned from our trip from Pai to our cool hostel in Chiang Mai, our host told us about the flower festival.
We had no idea so we expected something small. We were informed that several roads were blocked, so we walked our way through the parade route.
The warnings were accurate. Locals and foreigners on motorbikes skillfully maneuvered through the city, weaving through roadblocks and slow-moving tourists.
As we walked, we passed by elaborate gardens that were so grand that we thought we were already at the main park.
We even stopped on a bridge at the center of the city, which was full of plant baskets with pink flowers.
Soon we saw the enormous flower floats! Our assumptions were wrong! It was far from being a small parade. It was grand, well-crafted, and felt like stepping into a garden from Alice in Wonderland.
At Nong Buak Haad, I had the chance to get close to the floats. I couldn’t believe they were made entirely of flowers, so I had to touch them myself!
Upon entering the park, vibrant tulips in yellow, pink, red, and white greeted us. We marveled at how fresh and beautiful they were, pondering theories about how they were brought to the park (along with some business questions about imports, etc.).
Another captivating feature of the park was the orchid garden. Chiang Mai orchids are renowned worldwide for their deep hues, thanks to Chiang Mai’s cool climate.
The park also featured cool exhibits and illuminations throughout. And, of course, tasty treats from the food stalls.
We’ve always loved Chiang Mai for its cool climate and laidback atmosphere compared to Bangkok. It has plenty of great hikes and quiet temples.
But Chiang Mai Flower Festival managed to make us fall in love with the city a bit more.
Top Attractions at the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024
Chiang Mai Flower Festival showcases the region’s stunning tropical flowers and cultural heritage. Here are the top attractions during the Flower Festival Chiang Mai 2024:
The Flower Float Parade
The main highlight of the festival is the Flower Float Parade. Local groups spend months designing and creating floral floats featuring traditional Thai shapes, symbols, animals, religious figures, and more.
The amazing part is that all of the flower floats are crafted entirely from natural materials! I even went so close to one float to touch it to see if these were real flowers, and they were!
Happiness on the Way Tip
Try this Mindfulness Exercise. Look closely at the flower floats. Notice the color, shape, texture, and smell of the flowers. Savor it. Look at people in the float. Notice their expressions. The smiles and pride on their faces. Think of how these flowers were grown.
From the nourishment of the soil, water, and sun to the farmers who took care of them, send gratitude to everything and everyone who made this beauty possible.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 Parade Route + Map
The Flower Parade usually starts at around 8:00 in the morning. About 25 floats line up on Charoen Muang Road and slowly move towards Nawarat Bridge.
The flower parade meanders slowly through the streets, accompanied by marching bands and traditional dancers in their traditional costumes.
The parade progresses over the bridge towards the old city, up Tha Phae Road. From there, it takes a left turn along the moat at Tha Phae Gate, leading to Suan Buak Haad Public Park.
After the parade, you can still admire the floats at the park; they remain on display until late at night.
At the park’s entrance, you’ll also find numerous stalls selling delicious Thai cuisine. So, don’t worry if you miss lunch or dinner; you’ll have plenty of options!
Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024: Event Schedule
Friday, February 2nd, 7:00 PM
- Opening ceremony of the 47th Chiang Mai Flower Festival
- Exhibition of flower arrangements, decorative plants, and mini garden landscaping at Suan Buak Haad Park
- Suan Buak Haad Park will be on Friday the 2nd, Saturday the 3rd, and Sunday the 4th from 9:00 AM to midnight.
Friday, February 2nd, from 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
- The Annual Miss Flower Blooming Beauty Contest at Suan Buak Haad Park
Saturday, February 3rd, 8:00 AM
- The famous flower parade of more than 25 flower floats. The parade will start from the Nawarat Bridge, then t go along Thapae Road, Kotchasarn Road, Changlor Road, and Arak Road, and end at Suan Buak Haad Park.
Saturday, February 3rd from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Thai Lanna Performance and Cultural Show at the Suan Buak Haad Park
Saturday, February 3rd at 7:00 PM
- Awarding of the winners for The Flower Festival Parade floats at Suan Buak Haad Park
Sunday, February 4th, 6:00 PM
- Music performances at Suan Buak Haad Park
Sunday, February 4th, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Thai Lanna Performance and Cultural Show at the Suan Buak Haad Park
Flower Exhibitions at Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024
Suan Buak Haad Park transforms into a flower paradise during the festival with its vibrant floral displays and gardening exhibitions.
Some of the exotic species of flowers, like Damask Roses, miniature trees, and local orchids, which are naturally found only in Thailand, are also featured.
Apart from gardeners, you can also check different gardening displays and setups from landscapers inspired by both local and international gardens.
I enjoy strolling the themed garden sections, like the Tulips Garden, Gerbera Garden, and Orchid Greenhouse. I even video-called my “plant mom” mother to show the variety of flowers being showcased and she was so amazed. Definitely, bringing her to this festival!
The park is open from Friday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to midnight. I also recommend visiting the park at night when it is illuminated by thousands of colorful lights.
Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024
Another exciting feature of the Flower Festival Chiang Mai 2024 is the Miss Chiang Mai pageant. The contestants in the pageant are also featured on the floats.
Each contestant introduces themselves and showcases their talent during the performances. The winner is selected and announced in the evening. Meanwhile, the celebrations carry on with parties, dancing, and singing.
In addition to the flowers, the festival celebrates Lanna culture. Traditional dance troupes, musical ensembles, and hill tribe groups perform on stages around the city, especially in Suan Buak Haad Park.
Thai Street Food Market
Before reaching Suan Buak Haad Public Park, you’ll pass by a row of Thai street food stalls. Enjoy a variety of local rice meals, drinks, and desserts. It’s a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. No need to worry about skipping a meal before the festival.
And as promised, I’ll also share the best street food spot after the festival. Chiang Mai’s second largest night market is located at Wua Lai Walking Street, only an 11-minute walk away from Suan Buak Haad Park, where the flower exhibitions and flower floats are.
And it happens every Saturday during the flower parade! This is one of the best night markets in Chiang Mai with several hundred stalls. A perfect way to end your Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 experience.
Tips for Enjoying the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024
Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your festival experience:
Arrive Early. If you want to experience the full festival, arrive early, before 8 a.m. when the festival opens. If you want to secure a good spot for viewing, arrive at least an hour before the opening. Expect both tourists and locals to flock to the parade route for this festival.
This allows you to beat the crowds and see the floral displays in all their morning glory. The flowers are freshest after the night’s cool temperatures and morning dew.
Or Arrive Late. Yes, you can also arrive late and go to Suan Suan Buak Haad Park where the flower floats will stay after the parade. This is also the main venue for the flower exhibitions and light illumination at night. And as I’ve mentioned, it’s 11 minutes away from Wua Lai Walking Street Saturday Night Market so you can have a full itinerary.
Wear Comfortable Shoes and Bring Essentials. You’ll be on your feet exploring the many garden areas. Don’t forget to bring essentials like sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, and a bottle of water to stay hydrated in the warm weather.
Take time to stop and smell the roses – literally! Over 1 million flowers are used in the elaborate displays. Gorgeous orchids, lilies, gerberas, and birds of paradise are artfully arranged around every corner. Have your camera ready to capture the vibrant colors and natural beauty.
Other Flower Festivals in Chiang Mai
Did you know about the other beautiful flower festivals in Chiang Mai and nearby from December to January? Here are more flower festivals to check out:
Charming Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The Charming Chiang Mai Flower Festival is a very similar flower festival but with extensive illuminations. Held annually from December 15 until the New Year, this festival is celebrated in a larger venue outside the city center.
It captivates visitors with a magical atmosphere created by numerous light installations that complement the vibrant floral displays, similar to European Christmas Gardens.
Chiang Rai Flower Festival
The Chiang Rai Flower Festival is an annual event from December 28 until January 15 that features an impressive display of flowers and gardens set against the city’s beautiful temples.
The festival also showcases a variety of meticulously crafted flower arrangements and intricate garden displays.
Where to Stay During the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024
Chiang Mai is a great place to find accommodation year-round, and during the flower festival, the city sees an influx of visitors. To ensure a comfortable stay after enjoying all the festival has to offer, it’s best to book in advance.
If you’re looking for a community feel in Chiang Mai, consider checking out The Park Society. It is located in a quiet location close to popular tourist spots and offers fast internet and a cozy common area where you can work or socialize with other travelers.
Their breakfast is delicious. You may even meet some friendly long-term guests during your stay. We stayed there for a week and then returned for another week after our trip to Pai. If you happen to stay there, say hi to M!
Here are other accommodations you can check out:
ON Thapae Chiangmai: Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, this hotel offers a perfect blend of comfort and convenience, providing easy access to the vibrant Thapae Gate and the city’s cultural attractions.
CREW Hotel: This accommodation stands out for its modern design and vibrant atmosphere, providing a stylish and comfortable stay near Chiang Mai’s bustling Nimmanhaemin Road, making it an ideal choice for urban explorers.
Thai Akara – Lanna Boutique Hotel -SHA Extra Plus: With its timeless Lanna charm and meticulous attention to detail, this boutique hotel offers an authentic cultural experience in beautifully designed rooms that adhere to SHA Extra Plus safety standards.
Asa Hotel: This hotel is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the Old City, providing a serene escape with its lush gardens, stylish accommodations, and a rooftop pool, offering a perfect balance between relaxation and exploration.
Buri Gallery House: This hidden gem exudes artistic flair, with its unique gallery-inspired rooms and a peaceful courtyard, providing a distinctive stay in the artistic enclave of Chiang Mai.
Other Activities You’ll Love in Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon National Park
Discover the beauty of Doi Inthanon National Park, home to Thailand’s highest peak.
Admire the twin pagodas and immerse yourself in the rich biodiversity of this natural sanctuary. This is our favorite day trip from Chiang Mai!
Mama Noi Thai Cookery School Chiang Mai
Can’t get enough of Thai Food? Recreate them at home! Learn the art of Thai cooking from local chefs and enjoy a hands-on experience.
You’ll start by selecting fresh ingredients at the local market and then move on to cooking authentic Thai dishes. We did this as a couple and we still cook Tom Kha Gai from their menu!
Wat Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Pha Lat Temples
I find Chiang Mai temples less touristy than the ones in Bangkok. I’ve been to most of them and I enjoyed discovering the serene and lesser-known temples, some are even hidden in the jungle, where you can enjoy a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Is Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 Worth Visiting?
Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 is a must-see event for anyone interested in flora, art, culture, travel, and good food. The festival showcases cultural activities that span across the city.
From the flower parade to exhibitions, it provides a glimpse into northern Thai culture. With breathtaking flowers, lively cultural performances, and perfect weather, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024 offers a complete experience.
Well, there you have it, a guide to one of the most colorful celebrations in Northern Thailand. If you find yourself in Chiang Mai during the first week of February, don’t miss your chance to attend this colorful cultural festival experience Chiang Mai in bloom.
Have you been to Chiang Mai Flower Festival? How does Chiang Mai Flower Festival compare to other flower festivals you’ve attended around the world?