Mentally, Chiang Mai in March can be a bit tough. The so-called burning or a smoke season makes itself present. The PM 2,5 levels skyrockets and Bangkok Post will make their yearly article about Chiang Mai having the worst air in the world. And nothing much will be done about it, some water sprinkling in downtown and around the moat.
Many people in the North travels south for a while, swearing that they will not live another year in Chiang Mai, and then the rain comes. Dramatic “porncloud” formations to use Instagram language, everything goes green again. The city will be a bit quieter at this time in a normal tourist year. And everyone loves Chiang Mai again. Don’t want to live anywhere else in Thailand. The rose of the North is back on track, the friendliest city on earth and so on…
One aspect that is nice about March and April though is what I call “double yellow season”. With hot weather comes mango season, and we do nothing but eating mango with coconut milk and sticky rice for a month until we don’t want to eat it until next year again. There are of course many varieties of mango in Thailand, and in the world( South – “East Asia 35 kinds) and they come in green and yellow colour and more or less, dry, sour, sweet. But March is the time for sweet, yellow mango. The feeling when you drive the spoon into the mango and it is as soft as when you put a knife into room temperature butter! Sometimes mango is called the peach of the tropics, which is an interesting resemblance.
The species usually used for mango and sticky rice is Ok Rhong Damnoen, very sweet and very fragrant too. Other famous kinds of mango in the country are Nam Dok Mai, Read Paet, Khieo Sawoei Sampan and black gold Thong Dam.
This is also the time when native trees start blooming. At the moment we get a lot of Yellow Trumpet trees on road 108 from Hang Dong up to Central Airport.
There will be various trees like the Pride of India(Lagerstroemia), but the most noticed will be Cassia Fistula -The Golden Shower Tree(and the cousin the Pink Shower tree). These can be seen in Chiang Mai in all their colourful might, especially at the road leading up to the Royal Park Ratchapreuk. Ratchapreuk being the Thai name of this national tree and flowers. The yellow colour representing the royal colour and a tribute to King Rama IX. Cassia fistula has long strands of shining yellow flowers which become golden as they mature, therefore the name”golden shower”. The trees are highly spectacular in the summer when their leafless branches are festooned by flowers, flowers that appear as the last of the leaves are shedding in March, and then bloom until new leaves come about in May. Since the Ratchapreuk area is quite popular for people to exercise, it is very nice to stroll around under the golden(but poisonous) trees. There are a few restaurants and a nice Thai-Danish Milkland coffee shop in the vicinity, where one can do some people watching. We have a minor Golden Shower, hanami trend going on, where people come to take selfies with the trees.
Personally, I love to ride my bike in the area.
So, let’s enjoy Mango Mania or Mango Tango and look at yellow trees for a while!