Perhaps the most impressive of all the images of New Years Eve in Thailand is the scene in Chiang Mai at this magical time of year. Thousands of visitors flock to the norths city of culture, to enjoy cool weather and fantastic blossoms of orchids and other flowers that make this city so famous. The orchid is of course the most famous and celebrated flower of Chiang Mai, and Thailand, and quite rightly so for it is the most beautiful and exquisite flower and lines the roadsides and gardens of Chiang Mai with its impressive range of colours, shapes and sizes.
The winter is the best time to enjoy the orchids in this part of the world as they blossom from December to March, but they also enjoy a burst of colour during a secondary blooming season in August. Orchids growing in the wild often hang off rocks or tree branches and dangle their roots in the air, from which they absorb moisture and even nutrients. They are not, as some people think, parasites and do not feed off the trees they live on. Orchids have many hidden talents, for example many medicines are made from their petals, the pollen can be used to make face creams and even some foods use orchids the flavour vanilla for example.
There are approximately one thousand species that are unique to Thailand, some very common and some extremely rare. The pure white orchids are the most rare and only a handful have ever been found in the wild, however the skilled gardeners of Chiang Mai have become very good at grafting these flowers and can now create whole blooms of beautiful, virgin white orchids. More common colours, such as the ones you will find growing wild, are red, purple, orange and yellow. If you take a flight on Thai Airways, you will probably be presented with a pink or purple orchid.