Popularly known as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and unique indigenous cultural identity. Founded by King Mengrai the Great as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom by merging the various city-states in the region in 1296. Today Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand.
About 700 kilometres from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is situated on the Mae Ping River basin some 310 metres above sea level. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, it covers an area of approximately 20,107 square kilometres. The terrain is mainly jungles and mountains, parts of which are within national parks which are still fertile and verdant with plentiful flora and fauna. There are many sites and locations where tourists prefer to visit to study the lifestyle of the tribal people who live on high hills.
Bo Sang Umbrella Festival is held in January in Bo Sang Handicraft Centre. The festival features paper products, paper parasols in particular, cultural shows, a parade showing traditional ways of life, and several contests.
Flower Festival is held in February. The festival includes ornamental garden flower contests, floral floats parade in the morning and beauty pageants. The parade begins at Chiang Mai Railway Station and passes Nawarat Bridge and ends at Nong Buak Hat Park.
Songkran Festival is held annually from 13 to 15 April. The 13th of April is the Great Songkran day featuring the revered Phra Phutthasihing Buddha image parade around Chiang Mai town for bathing, sand pagoda making, blessing of elders, and water splashing.
Doi Suthep Pilgrimage On the night of Visakha Bucha Day, worshippers gather to light candles and make the 7-kilometre pilgrimage up to the temple on Doi Suthep.
City Pillar Inthakin Festival is held to invoke blessings of peace, happiness and prosperity for the city and its residents. Buddha images are paraded around the city. It is held at Wat Chedi Luang for 7 auspicious days and nights in the 7th lunar month.
Yi Peng Festival is held annually on Loi Krathong day. It is a very interesting event of Chiang Mai. The festival features the release of lanterns into the sky to worship the gods. There are also fireworks, lantern contests, and beauty pageants