Amazing Thailand Gardens & Cambodia’s Angkor Wat
(Including Chiang Mai Flower Festival)
January 28th – February 9th, 2011
 


5 Feb 2011

This morning transfer to the flower festival. We agreed to a point where we would all meet and then everyone went off to find a good spot to stand. We stood in the same spot for a while then discovered that no one does that…they all move around, even in front of the floats as they go by. We were not used to that but finally – what the heck – go for it and get some really good close up shots. It was amazing and fun and hot. Then I got into the swing of it really well, each time I would hear the bands playing I would run into a shop and do shop looking and shopping, then when I could no longer hear them playing I would run out of the shop to see a float…I did this all morning until I was finally shopped out and paraded out…ran into some of the group in the corner bar having these wonderful cold café lattes so I got one myself. What a fun morning we all had…as you can tell by some of the photographs. It's a real treat to watch, since more than 3000 species of orchid are in bloom and many of these are on display. Look out for the Damask Rose, a special variety found in Chiang Mai, as well as yellow and white chrysanthemums.

The parade leads up to the annual beauty competition to crown the city’s flower queen, who represents the flower growers and exporters as an ambassador of good will. Home and garden lovers discover Chiang Mai is a February showcase for exotic orchids, flowering plants and blooms that thrive in the northern valley’s temperate cool season. Particularly during the cool season months, mid-November through to February, this northern province justifies its title “Rose of the North.” But for flower lovers, who flock to this annual festival in the town’s Buak Hat Park, there is far more to the town’s garden reputation than the impressive display of elegant roses. Since 1977 when the annual festival was inaugurated, it has earned a reputation on par with similar events such as Japan Sakura Flower Festival and the Netherlands’ flower parades. This was further enhanced by the successful flower expo in 2006. Due to variations of climate and its mountain landscapes, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival presents a diversity of blooms and flowers. Many of them, originally imported from temperate climes such as carnations, chrysanthemum, tulips, are displayed side-by-side with tropical flowers including exotic orchids.

We then were hungry! So off to Galae Restaurant located at the reservoir at the top of Suthep Road. This restaurant has been serving residents and visitors for the past 30 years. It originally started as a convenient eating venue for the Northern Regional Agriculture Office staff. The peaceful site and reputation for good food soon brought in more and more guests. The reservoir is surrounded by green towering trees. We got there to see some workers changing some of the plant material and we were excited…how wonderful to be eating in this garden. The food was great too!

Our next visit of the day will be to the Bo Sang Village where you will experience the art of making umbrellas. It is a time consuming process – from the making of the paper from the mulberry tree right through to the end product – a finished hand made umbrella because yes, they are all truly handmade and one of a kind…and what shocked me the most is how little they cost, so bring home plenty for souvenirs! One of the gals got that beautiful elephant put onto her purse, what a lovely reminder of her time in Chiang Mai. Then off to a silk shop and that was a very good day!

 

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