Escape to Chiang Mai

The flower festival parade is in full swing. We see it’s on the TV in reception at the hotel as we are leaving and we manage to weave our way through road closures and tons of traffic to nab a parking space close to Thae Pae Gate. There are floats and dancers, bands and drummers in fantastic traditional and Hill Tribe costumes working their way round the city to their eventual destination of Nong Buak Hard Public Park on the far south west corner of the moat. We stand and take photos, along with hundreds of tourists and Thais jockeying for position for the best pictures.

I am amazed that no one ever loses their temper here, it is a Buddhist thing, I’m hoping it’s contagious and I will try and bring it home with me :-). People stand in front of people when they are trying to take a picture, people bump and bang into each other but no one gets wound up everyone is patient and kind, it’s lovely.

We then jump on the bike and head to the park which is on the opposite side of the city. We wander around taking in the vibrant colours and aroma of thousands of lillys and other aromatic flowers beautifully set out. A lot of work has gone into all the displays, it’s breathtaking. Set against a background of a small lake with bridges and fountains, a perfect backdrop for the show. This time of year is when all these blooms are at their most perfect.

The stalls on the outside of the park house all the entry’s for the competitions. There are bonsai, air plants, cacti, orchids and many others too numerous to mention. Fantastic bonsai and air plants, wish I could get one or two home.

There are lots of families with picnics and food stalls all around the park. It’s a proper family day out. Everyone who was in the parade is in the park taking a well earned breather after their long walk. I sat with these guys who were in the parade and were all very happy to have their photo taken, most of them Manchester United fans it was easy to persuade them…..The Flower Queen is chosen with everyone having consumed lots of liquid refreshments and eaten their fill. A good time is had by all.

We arrive back in the evening after eating and freshening up to see the festival in the dark. During the day we noticed thousands of lights around the displays and around the park. We were stunned by the amount of fairy lights and its transformation to an atmospheric, magical flower paradise. It’s amazing how lights can totally change the illusion. Fantastic.

All in all another fantastic flower show. Looking forward to number 43 next year. Many thanks to Chris for all the fantastic photos.

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