Chiang Mai beckons with dazzling Loy Krathong celebrations
Chiang Mai is all decked out and adorned, living up to its reputation of hosting the grand Yi Peng Lantern Festival, with all the province’s popular tourist spots being decorated with colourful bulbs and lanterns of all hues and sizes.
The Nation visited some key tourist destinations and found all the props and settings for the famous Loy Krathong festival, also called the Yi Peng Lantern Festival by people of ancient Lanna culture, are ready to welcome tourists and revellers.
For example, Klong Mae Kha, a new tourist attraction in Tambon Hai Ya of Muang district, has been decorated with Lanna lanterns in myriad colours.
The organisers have also installed giant krathong, or floats, in the middle of the canal, which is lit up at night with multicoloured lanterns and flashy bulbs, already drawing both Thai and foreign tourists to take selfies and click photos.
Several temples have been decorated with lights and Lanna lanterns at the gates and on walls.
The festival will start on Sunday, ahead of the official Loy Krathong night on Tuesday.
It typically involves releasing lanterns into the air, an ancient celebration adapted from Brahmin origins and inextricably linked with Thai Lanna culture.
In the evening, all the five ancient gates of Muang Chiang Mai will come alive with vibrant, colourful lights. The four corners and three major bridges of ancient Chiang Mai town will also be adorned with lights.
Traditional and religious rites will be held in the morning from Monday to Wednesday, November 9. For example, rites will be held for worshipping the city shrine, while another ceremony will be held to “apologise” to the Mae Ping River at the Sri Khong Pier.
The nighttime celebrations will involve several activities, including a competition of large, hanging lanterns and pageants featuring a Yi Peng beauty queen and handsome king.
Another rite will be held at the pier in front of Muang Chiang Mai Municipality to release a line of floating lanterns over the Ping River with a sound and light show.
On Tuesday November 8, official Loy Krathong Day, there will be a grand preaching rite at Wat Sri Don Chai. A parade of Lanna lanterns will also be held from Tha Pae gate to the heart of Chiang Mai city.
On Wednesday, a luk thung or Thai country-style music contest will fill the atmosphere at Chiang Mai municipality. There will be a contest and parade of large krathong floats as well.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your holiday bags and head North for a swell time!
by Wasant Panyaruan