Chinese New Year Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai's Wararot market celebrates the Chinese Spring Festival

chinese new year, chinese new year chiang mai, chiang mai festivals

The Warorot Market, in Chiang Mai's city center, will see special celebrations the Chinese New Year Festival. Chiang Mai has its own small Chinatown, of course, centered mostly on the bustling Warorot area. This is one of those vibrant places where you can buy everything and anything, from clothes, through food, to rare Chinese tonics and medicine. This is not the touristic Night Bazaar, so be prepared for surprises!

chinese new year, chinese new year chiang mai, chiang mai festivals

The market enjoys an advantageous location in the heart of the city, close to the Ping River and the main Nawarat Bridge. A short two-minute walk from the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Warorot Market is open every day, early.

chinese new year, chinese new year chiang mai, chiang mai festivals

However, this February watch out for the celebrations organized for the Chinese New Year when the streets, normally full of cars and tuk-tuks, will be closed for the two days of the main festivities. Long market stalls will be set up, along with stages for performances. Thai and Chinese food vendors will tempt you with their delicious and aromatic dishes, and a variety of colorful lanterns and other festive lights will festoon the streets.

The color red is very important for the Chinese people, especially at the time of the Chinese New Year, we can anticipate a tide of red-colored decorations. Let us also not forget the inevitable fireworks, beloved by the Thais and of course invented by their Chinese neighbors.

chinese new year, chinese new year chiang mai, chiang mai festivals

Adding to the color and energy will be the costumes worn by children dressing up to take part in performances and beauty contests, not to mention the local women sporting their traditional costumes and headgear. Colorful dragon dances accompanied enlivened by firecrackers will offer excellent photo opportunities.

chinese new year, chinese new year chiang mai, chiang mai festivals

Chinese New Year is a big event in Asia, and Thailand is very good at parties and celebrations. So, if you enjoy multi-cultural festivals, be sure to head down to Warorot Market to join in the smiles and the fun.

Chiang Mai Flower Festival one of the most iconic events in Chiang Mai

chiang mai flower festival

Chiang Mai Flower Festival is the annual flower festival at Buak Had Park near Suan Prung Gate.

chiang mai flower festival
chiang mai flower festival
chiang mai flower festival

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival marks the end of the cool season in northern Thailand which has been held in the first week of February. It's the perfect time to witness the beautiful and bountiful displays of yellow and white chrysanthemums, the Damask Rose, the pink and purple Dendrobium orchids, and the fresh yellow marigolds all at the same time.

chiang mai flower festival

The first night of the fair, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., will open with a local beauty contest plus an international beauty competition. The second day will feature an elegant flower parade starting at Nawarat Bridge around 8 a.m. The procession goes down Thapae Road and finishes at Buak Had Park at the southwest corner of the old walled city.

chiang mai flower festival

But the main attraction is the display of flowers at the park for three consecutive days, with lots of food stalls and OTOP goods for sale. You can also enjoy some mini-concerts, traditional dance and music, and other entertainments every night 7-10 p.m. along the road in front of Buak Had Park and at Thapae Gate.

Yi Peng the festival of rivers and light

While Songkran may be the most exciting festival of the year, it is November's traditional Yi Peng that reigns as the most charming and spectacular of Chiang Mai's annual ceremonies.

yi peng, yi peng festivalThe Yi Peng festival is held on the full-moon day of the twelfth lunar month every year. The word "Yi" means "Two", and "Peng" means "Moon" or "Full moon day".

People in Bangkok and other regions of Thailand refer to the event as "Loy Krathong", but here in the northern province of Lanna we call it Yi Peng or Yee Peng - and you should not miss it!

The most remarkable and photogenic moment of this traditional festival is when people gather by the riverside to decorate their krathong (a banana leaf boat) with lit candles, incense, flowers and even money, before launching it onto the river. Thai people believe that this is the correct way is to beg forgiveness from the God and Goddess who protect the river.

khom, yi peng, yi peng festival

khom, yi peng, yi peng festival

Another highlight of the festival is to launch khom loy - white Chinese lanterns - into the sky at night. Lanna folks say these floating lanterns are designed to show respect to Phra Ket Keaw Chulamani in heaven. They believe the sky-bound lanterns will carry away all their misfortunes and distress. Khom are made from thin kite paper, pasted on a circular bamboo frame, and attached with candles or wax. When lit they rise slowly into the sky. It is a wondrous feeling when you release a khom - and it is a magnificent sight to witness thousands filling the night sky at the same time.

There are various legends about why Siamese and Lanna people have adopted this custom. We can not say where it began, but we do know that it is an accepted ritual across the Buddhist world these days.

kratong, yi peng, yi peng festival

kratong, yi peng, yi peng festival

Don’t!

Despite all the beauty and excitement of the festival, it must be reiterated that millions of lanterns cause damage, accidents and litter every year. Khom loy also disturb the flight-path of aircraft and pilots' visibility. They are frequently banned in areas near airports (or flights are suspended during the day of Yi Peng). Please bear this in mind when your friends and family ask to keep lighting more and more lanterns. The alternative is to float a krathong on the river and to help decorate your local temple with candles.

Recommendation to visitors

Those coming to Chiang Mai for the first time would be advised to float banana boats on the river close to Nawarat Bridge, Warorot Market, Chaimongkol Temple or in front of the Municipal Office. Lots of activities and colourful events will be going on, and it is very photogenic.

Those who cannot stand crowds, noise and fireworks may want to book a table at a restaurant along the Ping River (there are dozens: see our map and listings). Then you can dine safely and still enjoy watching this aesthetic spectacle.