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A full moon in Chiang Mai

One of my favourite times to be in Thailand, or in Chiang Mai, is during the full moon. A very special time is the full moon in November when the Loy Krathong festival is happening, here in Chiang Mai coinciding with the local Yee Peng festival. I have my own favourite temples and rituals during this time of the year, which I won’t make public here, to preserve it for my local friends and those who want to dig deeper into the Thai culture! For the usual visitor, be it Asian or western tourists, the festival mainly consists of launching sky laterns into the air and floating small krathongs in the Ping river. The festival has become more widely known and it has become a real tourist magnet nowadays. The Tourism Authority is setting up activities with shows at various points in the old town and is featuring the big parade (see the post before this one). Locals still like to go to the temples and the river or moats to float their krathongs. In November we witnessed one of the biggest crowds again in Chiang Mai who were on their way to the river to float their krathongs and launch sky laterns. Many temples are now focussing on this activity and sell the laterns and allow the launching inside the temple grounds. It all looks nice to watch, but walking back from the river one night, the burned out laterns came all crashing down left and right of me. The small streets were literally looking like garbage dumps and local people came out of their houses to move the laterns to the sides. Air traffic in Chiang Mai is interrupted during those days and flights are cancelled. The local authorities actually ask people to only launch ONE latern per family and ONE krathong per family to cut down on garbage, but I have seen that some tourists buy 4 or 5 of them to increase their fun factor, while completely missing the real meaning of Loy Krathong. As with everything these days it is all about consumption!

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