What a way to start the Asian leg of our adventure, with a flower festival! We were supposed to begin in Siem Reap, but our plans changed when James read about this festival. So Thailand, in particular Chiang Mai became our first port of call. Was it a good call?
It was a bloody brilliant call! We took a disgusting early flight from KL to Chiang Mai (think 4.30am alarm). Ditched our bags at the hotel and raced down the back streets (we know Chiang Mai quite well) to intercept the parade. Flower adorned floats, bands, school children, dancers were out to celebrate. Beautiful girls adorned the tops of the floats, all hoping for the coveted title of Chiang Mai Flower Festival Queen. But the best was yet to come….
We followed the end of the parade to the beautiful Nong Buak Hard Public Park to see the floats we had missed. I hadn’t appreciated that the gardens themselves were going to be decked out in blossoms. There were daffodils and tulips looking stunning but so out of place in a tropical climate. There were ornamental cabbages, begonias, hydrangeas, petunias too many to name. I particularly enjoyed the garden beds full of my favourite highly scented Star Gazers lilies, and orchids. Speaking of orchids outside the park we walked past what I think must have been an orchid competition, never have I seem so many magnificent orchids! Poor James kept turning round looking for me as I was oohing and ahhhing at the blooms or taking yet another photo.
This free festival has been running for more than 40 years, over three days at the start of February. It is clearly a favourite with both locals and tourists. I just can’t believe we haven’t heard of it before.
So yes, it was well and truly worth missing a bit of beauty sleep to catch that early flight to Chiang Mai!