Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2024

28 January 2024

Chiang Mai Calling: Flower Festival Here We Come!

After soaking up the beauty of Chiang Rai, it was time to head back to Chiang Mai for the final flourish of our Thailand adventure – the famed Chiang Mai Flower Festival! Buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the vibrant blooms and cultural delights of this incredible celebration.

Saying See You Later to Chiang Rai

Waving goodbye to Chiang Rai, we made a pit stop at Wat Prathat Doi Mon Phrachao Lai, a familiar sight from our previous visit.

The sight of thousands of tiny brass Buddha statues, each a testament to devotion, never fails to leave us awestruck. Numbered and meticulously stacked, they serve as a reminder of the deep faith ingrained in Thai culture.

Fueling Up

With a full tank from PTT (courtesy of a convenient highway stop) and happy tummies thanks to a delicious KFC lunch, drinks from 7-11, we were ready to conquer Chiang Mai. We dropped off our bags at our hotel and wasted no time in getting some exercise and lunch..

A Shopping and Food Adventure

A short walk led us to the bustling Maya Shopping Centre, a haven for retail therapy. After working up an appetite, we indulged in the delectable offerings of the downstairs food hall, savoring the explosion of Thai flavors.

Resting Up for the Big Day

With contented tummies and happy hearts, we headed back to the Hotel, feeling thoroughly prepped for the excitement that awaited us – the Chiang Mai Flower Festival starts soon the 2 February!

29 January 2024

Saying Goodbye to Our Trusted Ride

After a relaxing morning, it was time to bid farewell to our trusty companion, the Toyota Fortuner we’d rented from Budget. 80 incredible days of exploring Thailand together – what an adventure it’s been! Some 11,000kms on a brand new car, highs and lows, east, west, north and south.

A Journey Through Time: Tha-nin Market

With a light spring in our step, we ventured down to the historic Tha-nin Market (formerly Siri Wattana Market). Stepping into this bustling haven for locals was like taking a trip back in time. Fresh produce piled high, fragrant spices filling the air, and friendly vendors eager to share their wares – it was a sensory overload in the best way possible.

A Well-Earned Rest

After a satisfyingly long walk exploring the market, we decided to take a leisurely stroll back to the hotel. The fresh air and sunshine were the perfect antidote to a morning spent indoors.

A Night of Culinary Delights at Tom and Pam’s

To cap off the day, we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at Tom and Pam’s. We are so happy for them that their business has taken off and is doing really well.

30 January 2024

Lunchtime Treats at Maya

Maya Shopping Centre once again beckoned, and this time, our taste buds were in for a treat. Steve opted for a classic Vietnamese Bahn Mi, while Alison indulged in her classic Pad Krapow Moo. The food court proved to be the perfect spot to fuel up for the afternoon’s adventure.

A Brush with Royalty

As fate would have it, we stumbled upon a magnificent motorcade – a stroke of incredible luck! Our best guess is that it was carrying Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Witnessing the elaborate procession, complete with a strong military and police presence, was a truly unforgettable experience.

Pad Thai Perfection

For dinner, we decided to stick with a local favorite – our go-to Pad Thai restaurant! The familiar flavours and warm atmosphere never disappoint.

Sweet Endings and Heartfelt Conversations

No day is complete without a sweet treat, and a post-dinner stroll to 7-Eleven for ice cream provided the perfect ending. To top it all off, we capped off the night with a long and meaningful conversation with friends at the Somit Foundation, way back at our hotel.

31 January 2024

Flower Festival Countdown: Pampering, Local Delights, and Aussie Camaraderie

With just two days left until the Chiang Mai Flower Festival, the excitement was bubbling over! Here’s a peek into a day filled with self-care, delicious discoveries, and catching up with old friends.

A Day of Beauty for Alison

It was hair washing day for Alison, and a visit to her trusted hairdresser ensured she was looking and feeling her best for the upcoming festival.

A Culinary Adventure: Khao Soi for Lunch

For lunch, we delved into the world of local flavors with a steaming bowl of Khao Soi – a creamy coconut curry noodle soup that bursts with taste. It’s no wonder this dish is a local favorite!

Cheers and Sizzling Delights with David

The evening unfolded with drinks in the company of our Aussie friend, David. Laughter and catching up were the perfect prelude to a delicious dinner at Funky Grill. Their mouthwatering satays were a highlight, leaving both Steve and David thoroughly satisfied.

A Night of Aussie Camaraderie

It seems the boys had a blast reminiscing and enjoying good food together. It was a big night of Aussie camaraderie, perfectly setting the mood for the vibrant festival just around the corner.

1 February 2024

Pre-Festival Fun: Provisions, University Walks, and Heartfelt Connections

The day before the Chiang Mai Flower Festival dawned, buzzing with excitement! Here’s a glimpse into a day filled with thoughtful preparations, a scenic university stroll, and a heartwarming evening with friends.

Market Delights and University Grounds

Our day kicked off with a visit to Tonpayom Markets, where we stocked up on some delicious treats. Next, we embarked on a refreshing walk around the beautiful grounds of Chiang Mai University. The lush greenery and academic atmosphere provided a welcome respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Lunch Break at Maya

Reaching Maya Shopping Centre, we refueled with a satisfying lunch, gearing up for the afternoon’s tasks.

Packing for the Next Chapter

With our upcoming departure to Kuala Lumpur looming in three days (marking the end of a fantastic 90-day adventure!), the afternoon was dedicated to packing and organizing our belongings.

A Special Evening with the Somit Foundation

As evening painted the sky, we eagerly met up with our friends at the Somit Foundation for a long-awaited meal. Established in 2006, the Gateway Project, of which Somit Foundation is a part, provides invaluable educational opportunities for Thai girls from rural areas. Currently, they support 11 full-time students. We’ve admired their work for years, and sharing a meal with them was a truly humbling and enriching experience. The delicious food, heartfelt conversation, and genuine friendship made for a truly special night.

Thank you, Somit Foundation, for your incredible work and for allowing us to be a part of your journey!

2 February 2024

Chiang Mai Flower Festival Blooms! (Day 1)

The much-anticipated Chiang Mai Flower Festival has finally arrived! Knowing from past experience that things don’t get rolling until later in the day, we took advantage of the morning to finish packing for our upcoming departure.

By 5 pm, we were eager to dive into the festival atmosphere.

As always, mingling amongst the vibrant displays lining the streets was a delightful way to start the evening. The energy was contagious!

Buak Hat Park: A Floral Haven

The heart of the festival buzzes around Buak Hat Park in the southwestern corner of the Old Town. This is where the elaborate flower floats will be showcased after the grand parade on Saturday morning.

Although the road closures we experienced in previous years were absent this time, it didn’t dampen our spirits. The lively walking market added to the festive vibe.

As the sun began to set, casting a warm glow over the park, we made our way towards Buak Hat Park.

A dazzling array of flowers, captivating light shows, and stunning displays awaited us.

3 February 2024

Chiang Mai Flower Festival Blooms! (Day 2)

The excitement of the festival continued on Day 2! Here’s a glimpse into a day filled with a vibrant parade, unexpected encounters, and delicious discoveries.

A Cool Morning and a Thrilling Parade

After a satisfying breakfast, we strategically positioned ourselves near the parade route, enjoying the pleasantly cool weather while waiting for the spectacle to begin.

Around 10 am, the much-anticipated procession kicked off!

The floats, adorned with a dazzling array of flowers, maintained their usual high standard, although they seemed to move at a faster pace than in previous years.

A Brief Pause and a Chance Encounter

A short break in the parade allowed us to walk down and investigate the cause of the delay. It appeared the floats might have needed some assistance navigating under electrical wires. This little detour provided an interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse!

Jin Jai Market Bound and Unexpected Delights

With the parade complete, we set our sights on Jin Jai Market. On the way, we stumbled upon a hidden gem – the Chaka Number 6 Hotel. The sight of their magnificent pond overflowing with sacred lotus flowers was simply breathtaking. Here, we had the pleasure of meeting Duron, a fellow photographer from Illinois, and bonding over our shared passion for capturing memories. Strangely, we didn’t make it to Jin Jai, but that’s life.

Exploring the City and Affordable Eats

Deciding to head back to the hotel, we took a scenic route, snapping photos along the way. The vibrant wall art down a charming lane, the unique house and kitchen shop, and the photo opportunities outside Faha Lana Spa all added to the day’s charm.

Looking for a shortcut, we ventured into the hospital grounds, where we discovered a hidden gem – an incredibly affordable food court! We enjoyed a delicious and budget-friendly lunch, feeling happy with our culinary find.

Stocking Up and Recharging

Next, we made a quick stop at Tops supermarket near McDonald’s to grab some supplies before heading back to the 3Season Hotel. A heartwarming chat with Christina, the girls at Somit, and Bee capped off the afternoon perfectly, leaving us feeling recharged and grateful for the connections we’d made.

Evening Treats and Packing Preparations

As the day drew to a close, we indulged in a delicious meal at our favorite “hole-in-the-wall” cafe, followed by a sweet treat from 7-Eleven. Back at the hotel, we started organizing and packing for our upcoming departure on Monday.

4 February 2024

Chiang Mai Farewell

Our final full day in Thailand dawned bittersweet. While excitement bubbled for our upcoming adventures in Kuala Lumpur, a touch of nostalgia filled the air as we said goodbye to Chiang Mai, a city that had captured our hearts.

Morning Routines and New Discoveries

The day began with practicalities – a final laundry run and a visit to Alison’s trusted hairdresser for one last styling session before departure. While waiting for the laundry cycle to complete, we discovered a new coffee shop and enjoyed a refreshing cuppa.

Saying Goodbye to Pam and Tom

After a short walk, we headed to Pam and Tom’s restaurant, a familiar haunt that had become a favorite. Lunch was delicious, but even more importantly, it provided the perfect opportunity to express our gratitude for their warm hospitality throughout our stay. Saying goodbye was tinged with sadness, but we know we’ll cherish the memories.

Sweet Farewells and Packing Progress

An obligatory post-lunch ice cream from 7-Eleven fueled our afternoon endeavors. Back at the  Hotel, we made significant progress on packing, finalising organisation and setting aside a few special items for Bee, our thoughtful hotel staffer. A heartfelt thank-you note and a small gift accompanied them – a token of our appreciation for her kindness.

A Moment of Rest and Pad Thai for Dinner

As the afternoon sun dipped lower, we retreated to our room for a well-deserved rest and a steaming cup of coffee.

For our final dinner in Chiang Mai, we decided to revisit our local Pad Thai favorite near 7-Eleven – a delicious way to reminisce about the incredible culinary experiences we’d enjoyed throughout our Thai adventure.