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Chiang Mai Flower Festival

I was lucky enough to visit Chiang Mai during its 41st Flower Festival, a celebration held every year during the first week of February. The city, also affectionately nicknamed 'Rose of the North', lives up its name and is transformed to showcase local flowers and beautiful plants, especially a variety of the Damask Rose, which is only found in Chiang Mai!

After the chaos of Bangkok, the festival was a wonderful opportunity to relax and enjoy the sunshine whilst still taking in the beautiful Thai culture. One of the main attractions, Suan Buak Haad Park, hosts an open air exhibition filled with floral tapestries, agricultural displays and contests, with local vendors selling plants, products, and homemade crafts. Although the event is extremely popular and the park was very busy, there was still space to relax on the grass amongst the flowers and surrounding water features. 

The annual parade starts early morning on the Saturday, and follows a traditional route from Nawarat Bridge, ending at Nong Buak Haad Park. I ended up hiding in the shade as the temperature that day was over 30º,  however the girls in their local Thai costume somehow manage to still look flawless after slowly walking throughout Chiang Mai for over 5 hours! The parade includes large flower floats adorned with competitors for the Miss Chiang Mai beauty contest, school bands, farmers, and students from local colleges. The school bands were fantastic and you couldn't help but smile whilst listening to them - they played anything and everything from Smoke on the Water to Bruno Mars! 

If you want to add the weekend on to your travel bucket list, next year's festival will be held on the 2nd of February, until Sunday the 4th. 

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