Not to Miss Chiang Mai Events this Season

Chiang Mai was just recently ranked the second best city in the world to visit by readers of U.S. Travel and Leisure magazine. This ranking comes as no surprise, as Chiang Mai, Thailand, has long been a must visit destination for the backpackers and tourists of southeast Asia.

While it boasts a lively nightlife, Chiang Mai has a much more relaxed atmosphere than Bangkok. It's stunning natural environment also make it a great place to enjoy outdoor activities year round. If you are coming to Chiang Mai in the coming months you are in for a treat, with many exciting events and festivals taking place every month. These events are a great way to get a more in depth experience of traditional Thai culture and heritage. Here are some events that are not to be missed this winter season:

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1. Chiang Mai Countdown Festival December 31st- January 1st

Chiang Mai is an excellent location to ring in the new year. With a dazzling fireworks display, mini concerts, cultural performances and other entertainment activities, the Chiang Mai Countdown Festival is not to be missed. While Thailand has another new year's celebration in April in accordance to their own lunar calendar, the locals still really enjoy getting into the holiday spirit with the rest of the world for New Year's Eve. The event is extremely well organized and completely open to the public. The night guarantees a thrilling New Year's party that you will be sure to remember for years to come.

2. Chiang Mai Jazz in the City and Music Festival, January 28th- 29th 2017

While the event has proved to be a major success the last several years, this year's is set to be extra special, as the festival is to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his musical talent with the theme "Songs for Our Father." An array of talented local and international jazz musicians will be performing the king's songs as well as their original pieces. Musical creativity is abundant in Chiang Mai, and this festival does a really excellent job of showcasing local talent as well as bringing in tasteful and up and coming international musicians. Expect an upbeat and family friendly atmosphere for this highly anticipated event. One day tickets can be purchased for 750 baht while a two day pass costs 1,500 baht.

3. Chiang Mai Winter Fruit Fest January 12th- 20th

If you have recently made goals to lead a healthier lifestyle and are in need of some motivation to get started, the Chiang Mai Winter Fruit Fest is just the place. This event is taking place for the 4th year in a row, and thrives on a spirit of inclusivity, as it warmly welcomes people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Everyday, different public activities take place in which participants can connect and converse all while eating delicious fresh foods and moving their bodies in the warmth of the sunshine. Events include yoga, partner acrobatics classes, guided meditations, hiking, rock climbing, dancing and much more! Products that promote healthy living will be showcased throughout the event as well. There is no limit to the amount of people allowed to attend the public events. You can RSVP through Facebook and make a small donation beforehand or at the event.

4. Chiang Mai Winter and Red Cross Fair December 30th - January 10th 2017

Each year, Chiang Mai's Red Cross sector puts together a winter festival reminiscent of small town county fair. This eleven day event attracts tourists and locals alike, as local cultural performers come to showcase their talent and food vendors come to sell their best treats. You can spend hours perusing the stalls shopping for low priced goods from factories and listening to lively music. Just like a traditional county fair, there is even a beauty contest to watch. The fair is free and open to the public and most of the events take place at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Culture Center.

5. Chiang Mai Flower Festival February 3rd- February 5th 2017

This time of the year is when the tropical flowers of Chiang Mai reach their full blooming potential. On the three days of the flower festival, you can find Chiang Mai's downtown streets filled with rich and vibrant colors as flowers are scattered thoughtfully throughout the city. Exciting events take place such as flower exhibitions and flower contests. There is a beauty pageant which crowns a Miss Flower Bloom and Miss International Flower Bloom, and the streets come to life with talented entertainers, musicians and food stalls. Perhaps the highlight of the festival is the flower parade, which is comprised of Western-style marching bands from local schools, Thai dancers in traditional costumes, a variety of beautifully decorated floats and plenty of flowers to be handed out to spectators. The abundance of beautiful fauna will be unlike anything you have ever seen before, so those in the area should be sure not to miss this event.

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6.Baan Tawai Wood Carving Fair early February 2017

More of a display and exhibition site than a festival, the Baan Tawai Wood Carving Fair is an annual event that showcases the talents of local woodworkers and gives spectators a first hand look at how their intricate designs and carvings come to be. Years ago, farmers used to spend their breaks during the non harvest season twiddling away at wood to help pass the time and to add decor to their homes. It wasn't long before their leisurely hobby turned into a mastered talent and people started purchasing their crafts. Today, the Baan Tawai woodcarvers are an established and respected export business. This fair allows them an opportunity to proudly display and sell the intricate pieces they have worked so hard to make. A wide array of woodwork products can be found here, from tiny souvenirs to exquisitely carved cabinets. Those who stop by to peruse the aisles will be captivated by intricately carved furniture, kitchenware, dolls and other toys.

7. Chinese New Year January 28th

Chinese New Year is one of the most anticipated events of the year in Chiang Mai, as many Thais can trace their ancestry back to China and nearly 14% of the population considers themselves Thai-Chinese. Events will take place leading up to this day that include lively processions and colorful dragon dances. Thai-Chinese put great effort into decorating their homes this time of year with vases of flowers and colorful dried fruit sweets. The Chinese temple at Warorot is the main focal point for celebration in Chiang Mai. It will include exciting events such as fire dragon shows, lion dances and exhibitions of kung fu fighting from Guangxi Province in China.

Clearly, there is a lot to see and do in the upcoming winter months in Chiang Mai. What makes these events so great is that they are all open to the public and always draw in a good mix of locals and foreigners. Attending one of these events or festivals will leave you with a better understanding of how Thai's enjoy celebrations. Because these festivals draw in such a large and exuberant crowd, it is important to book your accommodation early so you don't miss out on any of the fun.

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