Chiang Mai Digest

Dining, Travel and Living in Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand

Loy Kratong in Chiang Mai is an adventure. When the subject of Thailand's holidays comes up the wild antics of Song Khran in variably dominate the conversation. Loy Kratong is seen as a serene, romantic holiday. Not so in Chiang Mai. The air is filled with the crack and boom of fireworks; rockets, mortars. Throughout the province tens, if not hundreds, of thousands khom loi (Thai: โคมลอย, or, "floating lanterns") are launched.
Loy Krathong - A Photo Album
Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Peack Dancer Lay Krathong - Chiang Mai, THailand
Peacock Dancers make their way through the crowd as the ceremony at Tudongkasatan Lanna Meditation Center in Mae Jo gets under way.
Peack Dancer Lay Krathong - Chiang Mai, THailand
Khom Fai decorating the plaza in front of Tha Pae Gate
Loy Krathong Stage show.
Traditional Dancers Opening Ceremony
Thousands of Khom Loi Floating heavenward.
Khom Loi are launched simultaneously during the Tudongkasatan Lanna Meditation Center Buddhist ceremony behind Mae Jo University in Amphur Mae Jo, Chiang Mai.
Krathong, or a parade float
The Parade on the night if the full moon features beautifully decorated floats depicting traditional Lanna dress and features.

Loy Khratong - Yi Peng

In the city, along the Ping River, centered near Nawarat Bridge, the cacophony reaches a fever pitch. Take a camera, pretend you're a war corespondent in the thick of battle. It won't require more than the slightest stretch of imagination to convince yourself. It's a joyous madhouse of noise, light and sound.
Fireworks and firecrackers are a ubiquitous accoutrement to any celebration in Thailand. Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai can get a little crazy downtown. The city center celebration may be a bit much for some. It is a wild and happy party. A few kilometers out of town offers several options for less perilous celebrations. Crowded conditions may not be so easy to escape.
The origins of Loi Krathong are vague and disputed by academics. Ask any Thai you'll get any number of answers, including a simple "mai roo" (don't know). All will agree that the act of floating away the decorated float is symbolic of cleansing your grudges, your anger - letting go the bad blood in your spirit. After "letting go" you may start anew with a a better outlook. "It's Good luck" is often the reply. It is often described a tribute to the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (Thai: พระแม่คงคา).
Young girl Preparing to lauch her own Krathong
This is a first for this young lady. To launch her very own Krathong
Along the river there are festivals and parties, large and small. The small neighborhoods may have a small pier a few folding chairs and a barbecue going. The residents congregate, exchange pleasantries a float their krathongs down river. Most place a few one Baht coins in among the flowers, for good luck. Kids wait in the river snatching the decorated banana stalk slices ad pocketing the change they collect. The good kids take change and send the krathong on it's merry way. The not-so-nice boys rip and tear. In out here in the village there's time to be nice.