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Umbrella Festival of Bo Sang Thailand

The umbrella festival of Bo Sang would have celebrated its 38th annual festival this year, 2021.  The festival was marred by the Covid-19 restrictions and did not happen. The festival is celebrated on the third week of January every year. It is also a three-day affair. We can only go next year when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The festival happens in Chiang Mai, actually off Chiang Mai. It is a 30-minute ride to a village called Bo Sang. This festival is celebrated to honor the artisan of Bo Sang. The festival dates back more than 100 years.   

About the Umbrellas

Not your regular umbrellas though, these umbrellas are made of mulberry bark. This native plant is called `Saa’. All the umbrellas are handmade and artfully painted. Now, if you think these umbrellas are just showpieces, you are wrong. These umbrellas like other umbrellas can be used in the sun and in light rain too. They are made of paper but with a special coating of oil, they become waterproof. The inner parts are made of bamboo and are quite sturdy. You can also find hand fans and lanterns made of the same material. The umbrellas usually have floral designs. 

What Happens at the Umbrella Festival?

It is the festival of Bo Sang people and is somewhat a private affair. Not that people are not allowed, it is not published either. As the name suggests the festival is about umbrellas. You will find the whole village decorated with umbrellas. They have traditional dances with the Lana Music. The festival goes into the night and that’s where the umbrellas illuminate and a sight to see. You will also get to eat a lot of local food at various stalls. But the highlight is the Bo Sang Beauty Pageant. The women of Bo Sang dress in their local attire and ride bicycles. They then parade the street of Bo Sang with beautiful parasols. Like any other festival, there are dance performances and activities all through the day. I have listed the activities which happened last year.

Day 1

Storefronts and street decorations

Bo Sang umbrella exhibition

Basketry and weaving demonstrations

Indonesian traditional umbrella making

Traditional Lanna community market

Cultural parade of umbrellas

Parade of Thai ladies in traditional Lanna costume riding bicycles while holding umbrellas

Parade of ladies riding bicycles and holding umbrellas

Cultural performances on stage

Bo Sang Night Bazaar market

Opening ceremony for the ‘Tonpao Tourism Festival’

37th Bo Sang Umbrella and San Kamphaeng Crafts Festival

16th Amazing Lanna Sa Paper Festival

9th Beautiful Lanna Lamps Festival

Car parade decorated with umbrellas, Sa paper and Lanna lamps

Day 2

Bo Sang Umbrella Run 2020

Storefronts and street decorations

Bo Sang umbrella exhibition

Making umbrella products and woodcarving demonstrations

Basketry and weaving demonstrations

Indonesian traditional umbrella making

Traditional Lanna community market

Demonstrations of making umbrella products and woodcarving

Cultural parade of umbrellas

Parade of Thai ladies in traditional Lanna costume riding bicycles while holding umbrellas

Walking street on Bo Sang Rd

Street of Art at the Pavilion

Bo Sang Night Bazaar market

Sabatchai drum show

Cultural performances of Indonesia

Day 3

Storefronts and street decorations

Bo Sang umbrella exhibition

Making umbrella products and woodcarving demonstrations

Basketry and weaving demonstrations

Indonesian traditional umbrella making

Traditional Lanna community market

Cultural parade of umbrellas

Parade of Thai ladies in traditional Lanna costume riding bicycle while holding umbrellas

Walking street on Bo Sang Rd

Street of Art at the Pavilion

Cultural performances

Bo Sang Night Bazaar market

Miss Bo Sang umbrella beauty contest and winner

Cultural performances of Indonesia

How to Reach Bo Sang?

  • You can stay in Bo Sang or Better stay in Chiang Mai.
  • From Chiang Mai, it's just a 30-minute ride.
  • It is well connected you can take Songthaew, tuk-tuk or a motorbike.
  • Songthaew will cost you 20 Bahts and is the cheapest mode of transport.
  • You can also download the app Grab and use their taxi services.

TIP – It’s hot in Bo sang, so do buy the local-favorite umbrella. Needless to say, carry a sunscreen lotion too. Do not forget to visit the Bo Sang Umbrella Making Center. It is the first umbrella-making factory warehouse on the main street, closer to the main-highway end. You can experience the umbrella making first hand. You will also witness the hard work that goes into making umbrellas. If you buy an umbrella from there you can even get a customized artwork on it.

About the Author

Eccentric Blogger, Traveler and Consultant.

The First Mast Yatri
The First Mast Yatri
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