The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Festivals by month in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 03•10

Krathong flower boats are launched into the Ping River at night during the Loi Krathong festival

Chiang Mai is the festival capital of Thailand. Every month, there’s a festival that’s fun, interesting, and should be an essential part of your Chiang Mai experience. Here’s what to look for in the yearly festival calendar: 

January
What: Winter Fair
When: December 30 through January 8
Note: This fair combines food, dance, music, and spectacles, and is held near the Provincial Hall, off Highway 121, to the northwest of the city

What:  Umbrella Festival in Bo Sang village
When: Third weekend of January
Note: A colorful parade is the centerpiece of the festival.  Consult your hotel for route details. 

What: Wood Carving Festival, in Ban Tawai and Hang Dong villages
When: Weekend nearest the end of the month, Thursday through Sunday

February
What: Flower Festival
When: First weekend of February
Note: Saturday morning is when the beautiful floats take over the city.  Much of the action happens on Tha Phae Road.  Consult your hotel for the complete route.

What: Tin Chok Festival, Mae Chaem, 150 km west of Chiang Mai
When: First or Second weekend of February, depending on the yearNote: This is a showcase of the weaving art, collected from weaving villages near Mae Chaem. 

March
What: Chiang Mai Arts & Culture Festival
When: March 30 to April 9
Note: There is a Shan ordination at Wat Bpa Bpao, plus numerous other events.  Consult your hotel for further information. 

April
What: Songkran Lunar New Year festival
When: Roughly April 10-15, actual dates vary by year.
Note: The famous water festival is held throughout Thailand.  Expect to get doused with water the entire week.  Remember to smile when nailed with supersoakers or buckets of H20. 

May
What:  Visakha Bucha
When: Full moon of sixth lunar month
Note: Celebrated at all Buddhist temples, commemorating the birth & death of Buddha 

What: Rocket Festivals
When: Sixth and Seventh lunar months, in May and/or June (consult your hotel)
Note: Rocket festivals, which bring rain through the firing of locally-made rockets, are held all over Thailand.  Two notable festivals in Chiang Mai are held at Wat Pa Tung and Wat Phra Non 

What: Inthakhin Festival
When: This six day festival occurs in May and/or June (consult your hotel)
Note: This celebration is held at the City Pillar, and also consists of a parade.  It is held in honor of the guardian spirit of the city, and includes offerings of incense and food. 

June
What: Rocket Festivals
When: Sixth and Seventh lunar months, in May and/or June (consult your hotel)
Note: Rocket festivals, which bring rain through the firing of locally-made rockets, are held all over Thailand.  Two notable festivals in Chiang Mai are held at Wat Pa Tung and Wat Phra Non 

What: Inthakhin Festival
When: This six day festival occurs in May and/or June (consult your hotel)
Note: This celebration is held at the City Pillar, and also consists of a parade.  It is held in honor of the guardian spirit of the city, and includes offerings of incense and food.

What: Lieng Pu Sae-Ya Sae, at the foot of Doi Suthep mountain
When: The 14th day of the waxing moon, of the 7th lunar month (consult your hotel)
Note:  This animist festival honors the guardian spirits of the mountain 

 July
What: Asalaha Bucha
When: The full moon, and first day of the waning moon of the 8th lunar month (consult your hotel)Note: Held at every temple, it honors Buddha’s first sermon

August
What: Salakaphat
When: the full moon of the 10th lunar month through the end of September (consult your hotel)Note: This merit-making ceremony consists of gifts to monks. 

September
What: Salakaphat
When: the full moon of the 10th lunar month through the end of September (consult your hotel)
Note: This merit-making ceremony consists of gifts to monks

October
What: Kathin Festival, at all temples
When: Ongoing, until the full moon of the 12th lunar month
Note: This festival celebrates offerings to monks from groups traveling to distant wats

November
What: Loi Krathong (Yi Peng)
When: Most activities occur during the three full-moon days of the 12th lunar month; actual dates vary by year.Note: Thousands of people gather at night along the Ping River to launch release lotus-shaped floats made from banana leaves into rivers and canals, and fly lanterns attached to balloons, to bring good luck and give thanks to the water gods.  Romantic couples launch small boats filled with incense and candles to bring success to their union.  Fantastic fireworks displays occur along the Ping River. The festival includes a Thai fair, held at Tha Phae Gat, floating lantern and fireworks contests,  boat races, and flower float (krathong) and beauty contests.

December
What: Rose Festival
When: The weekend most adjacent to December 5th
Note: Flower displays at the Tha Phae Gate honor the birthday of the King 

What: Nimmanhemin Art & Design Promenade Fashion Festival
When: 1st weekend of December, from Thursday through Sunday
Note: Dozens of fashion designers celebrate their collections on Soi 1, Nimmanhemin Road.  

What: Winter Fair
When: December 30 through January 8
Note: This fair combines food, dance, music, and spectacles, and is held near the Provincial Hall, off Highway 121, to the northwest of the city

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