Along the banks of the Ping River, just outside Chiang Mai's main Wororat market, is the city's largest public flower market. The market operates 24 hours a day, although some stalls are open only at certain times. The market is perhaps at its most active in the evening, when the market is awash with the bright colors of orchids, roses, jasmine and a vast array of many other flowers. Flowers are a very important part of the Thais' everyday life. Almost every business and home will have an altar to the lord Buddha as well as the local spirits. These altars are almost always decorated with flowers. Fresh flowers will be purchased every two or three days.
Flower stalls in the Chiang Mai riverside market.
Due to its temperate climate, the area around Chiang Mai produces many different varieties of flowers, from tropical orchids to roses. The province has become so well known for its flowers that a festival is held every year some time in February to celebrate the city's floral produce. The three day carnival includes displays of flower arrangements, a parade of floats, and of course a competition to crown the Queen of the Flower Festival.
Flowers even find their way into Thai cooking. On this site, you will find many dessert recipes that call for "jasmine water." This is water that has been scented with jasmine. It is used not only in many desserts, but also during some Buddhist ceremonies.