Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chiang Mai diary aka my lantern festival story



 CHIANG MAI

After spending couple days in Bangkok, I was excited to be packing again and heading up north. To be specific, to Chiang Mai.

We have packed all we needed for our 5 days in Chiang Mai in our cabin luggage and the rest of our stuff we left in the bigger suitcase which we have stored in the luggage storage room at the airport. This way, we have saved not only money for the luggage to planes but also the effort carrying so many stuff around.

We head off to the airport to catch our early morning Air Asia flight to Chiang Mai on Thursday morning. After checking in and getting through the security check, we sat down in our seats in plane for an hour flight. Despite of the short delay, we have arrived to our hotel in Chiang Mai around lunch time. Tired and exhausted. We took a nap. A bit longer nap.

Chiang Mai is referred to as a capital of the North. The beautiful, historically and culturally interesting city in Thailand is surrounded by valleys, hills, mountains and elephant camps. 

After the power nap we went out for a walk to discover the surrounding area and the Chiang Mai city historical center. On the way to the centre, we passed around Wat Lok Moli temple which was covered in colourful lanterns! And that is the moment that it really hits me.

We are here. Can't believe it is actually happening right around me.




The Thailand trip was all planned in order to witness the beautiful Lantern Festival, so called Yee Peng Festival and Loy Krathong Festival which are celebrated in the same time. Every year, on November's full moon night, north Thailand celebrates these two festivities which each serves with its own purpose in honouring the past, present and future. This festival of lights became so big and iconic for Thai and Buddhist culture, as well as for tourists.

And guys, it was beyond beautiful.
The whole city was lit up, decorated with lanterns and the city center was full of life, people and noisiness. 
It was just an amazing experience and joy to be in the middle of everything and to witness the celebration. From seeing the traditional Lanna dance, lighting candle trays to watching the parade. Just strolling around the streets, getting lost is a actually a great experience to explore more. Every temple, every building was decorate by banana leaves, candles or lanterns. Oh, and when everything lights up in the evening. It is just a pleasure for eyes.

The actual big night where people were allowed to release lanterns and krathong was on the second day of the festival. We went to buy two lanterns as well as krathong candle to release on the river. We can see all people holding their own lanterns and candles and heading to the Narawan bridge to release. When the sky gets darker, on my way to the river I can already see one, two lanterns up on the sky.

I am getting more and more excited when I am slowly reaching to the destination.

Even though it was packed by people, we found our spot. After a while observing the lanterns and how other people are releasing it, we were ready to release our. The excitement of lighting it up to flew was amazing. And seeing our lantern flying up is even more amazing. Looking up on the dark sky with so many lanterns flying above you was like in a dream.

However, don't dream too much, because it can be very dangerous too. There have been many cases where the lanterns didn't flew up properly so it was flying low around people or burning while it flew down. So be cautions, as always. Once we have released our lanterns, we went down by the Mae Ping river to release our krathong, which is a decorated candle made from banana tree. It was beautiful too seeing many candles floating on the river and when you look up, you see light up lanterns on the sky.

When we were slowly heading back to the town, I was still mesmerized by the sky full of lanterns.
The experience, the view that I will never forget. I am complete.




As our time pass in Chiang Mai, we visited several temples around the city, booked our trip to visit elephants and also visited Hmong village and Doi Suthep. Will write separate posts about these trips outside of Chiang Mai, but still Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai was once a capital of Lanna kingdom. It is a great place to relax, participate in many array of activities as well as just leisurely wandering around. One thing I have noticed in Chiang Mai was the different attitude and atmosphere compared to Bangkok. Moreover, Chiang Mai is a popular destination for international people and nomads. I liked Chiang Mai, a lot. And would definitely come back, because the choices of activities around the city is beyond what we could have done in those couple days. During those few days, I have experiences so many different and new things and activities, found my perfect brunching spots and get to know how to stop and ride with songtaew.























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