Yi Peng Chiang Mai big lanterns buddhists

Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Loi Krathong celebrations; first Grand Parade

Date:  21st November 2010

After the unfortunate turn of events for me yesterday, I woke up today feeling a bit warmer inside. Not in a good way, more like having-a-body-temperature kind of way!

I woke up for a late breakfast, which I had at Rux Thai itself, and then went back to the room… to sulk. Hoping things would get better, health-wise and otherwise.

By the time I told myself there was no use sulking all day, I stepped out… at 6pm.

Loikroh road Yi Peng deserted look Chiang Mai
Lo Kroh looked deserted
Loi Kroh road bars Yi Peng decorations Chiang Mai
Many of the bars and restaurants were decorated in celebration of Yi Peng festival

I walked towards Thapae Gate to see if there was anything going on.

Thapae gate canal parking Chiang mai Thailand
Didn’t seem like much

Chiang Mai Thapae gate stalls Yi Peng 2010

Thapai gate food shawarma stall lady
Guess that takes care of dinner for tonight
Mr Salmon sushi street food Chiang Mai Thailand
Cheap sushi

Chiang Mai Thapae gate street food Loy Krathong 2010I walked a bit further, and things had started to ‘brighten’ up.

Chiang Mai Thapae gate Loy Krathong decoration
This wasn’t the only decoration Thapae gate got

Thapae Gate colorful lanterns display Chiang Mai Yi Peng

Thapae gate colourful lanterns display Yi Peng festival

Thapae Gate yellow lanterns display Loi Krathong Chiang MaiChiang Mai Thapae gate Loy Krathong lantern decorationsChiang Mai Thapae colourful lanterns Loi Krathong celebrationsChiang Mai Thapae traditional lanterns Yi Peng festivalChiang Mai Thapae blue lanterns Yi Peng celebrationsChiang Mai Thapae green lanterns Yi Peng celebrationsChiang Mai Thapae red lanterns Yi Peng celebrationsThe one downside (sometimes) of carrying around a pro-looking camera is people assume you know how to take really good photographs and will do a better job than they can. I have often been asked to take photos of strangers using their point-and-shoot cameras and today was no exception.

Chiang Mai Thapae lanterns celebrations Mithun Divakaran
After being asked by some Taiwanese woman to take a few photos of her, I asked her to return the favour
Loy Krathong beauty contest stage Thapae gate Chiang Mai Thailand
They had a stage set up for some function
Chiang Mai Loy Krathong crowds Ratchadamnoen road
I crossed the road and walked to the other side, hoping to explore more
Chiang Mai Loy Krathong street shops lamps
Plenty of stalls set up everywhere
Chiang Mai Ratchadamnoen road crowd Loi Krathong
This is Ratchadamnoen road
Wat temple entrance Chiang Mai Loy Krathong
I entered this place out of curiosity
Baked chicken Thai herbs vendor Chiang Mai
Okay fine, it was the food!
Wat temple Chiang Mai Anthony Bourdain Yi Peng
Hey, it’s Anthony Bourdain!?*
Chiang Mai Wat Yi Peng street food eating outside
You can never go hungry in Thailand
Barbecued meat street food Chiang Mai Thailand
Unless you are strictly vegetarian
Wat Chiang Mai worship praying Thailand
Even though this was a temple…
Thai banana leaf omlette grilled Chiang Mai vendor
… it essentially got turned into a ‘food court’

Once outside, I asked Tourist Police officer (an American woman) whether there was anything special planned for today. She told me yesterday was the big release of the lanterns in Mae Jo, today there wouldn’t be anything special and tomorrow would be the concluding Grand Parade.

She didn’t come of as confident and ‘in-the-know’. Something I was used to by now.

Chiang Mai Wat Ratchadamnoen road

Chiang Mai Loi Krathong crowds Ratchadamnoen road
Still, I walked on

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong Ratchadamnoen road alley paintings for sale Thailand

Wat Phan entrance Chiang Mai Thailand
Steeped into another temple on Ratchadamnoen road
Wat Phan prayer hall Chiang Mai Thailand
Though I forgot to note down the name of the temple
Wat Phan shopping Chiang Mai Thailand
More stalls inside here as well
Wat Phan tourists eating Chiang Mai Thailand
Lots of eating here too

Wat Phan visitors eating Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Phan god statues Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Phan golden stupa Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Phan huge gong Chiang Mai Thailand
I was sooo tempted to bang it

Wat Phan prayer Chiang Mai ThailandWat Phan buddha prayer Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong parade start Ratchadamnoen road
I got back out to Ratchadamnoen road
Chiangmai Loy Krathong parade Ratchadamnoen road
Then I saw this…

Chiang Mai Loi Krathong parade Ratchadamnoen road

Chiang Mai Yi Peng parade start Ratchadamnoen road
… and it looked like a parade…
Loi Krathong Saturday parade Chiang Mai men
…which looked quite, grand

Yi Peng float grand parade Chiang Mai ThailandLoi Krathong saturday parade Chiang Mai ThailandLoi Krathong parade Thai girl Chiang MaiChiangmai Yi Peng parade float Ratchadamnoen roadLoy Krathong grand parade Thai float Chiang MaiChiang Mai Loi Kathrong parade Thai traditional dressed girlsChiang Mai Yi Peng parade mast Ratchadamnoen roadLoy Krathong Grand parade province girls Chiang Mai ThailandChiang Mai old building Ratchadamnoen roadHere’s part one of the videos I took of the parade:

Loy Krathong grand parade farm float- Chiang Mai Thailand
I take it the floats were showcasing Thailand’s culture from across all provinces
Loy Krathong grand parade college Chiang Mai Thailand
And I also take it these participating groups were colleges, schools, and other establishments

Loy Krathong grand parade nursing college Chiang Mai Thailand

Loi Krathong grand parade traditional girls Chiang Mai ThailandLoy Krathong grand parade fat boy Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai light man weird street artist Thailand
This guy wasn’t part of the parade… but was getting a lot of attention anyway

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong parade young girls Thailand

Here’s part two video of the parade:

Chiang Mai Loy krathong grand parade flash girl umbrella ThailandChiang Mai Loy Krathong grand locals float ThailandCollege students parade Loy Krathong Chiang Mai ThailandLoy Krathong grand parade students men Chiang Mai ThailandChiang Mai Loy Krathong boys parade ThailandChiang Mai Loy Krathong grand parade princess float ThailandChiang Mai Loy Krathong rotating lanterns parade Thailand
Chiang Mai Loy Krathong alley to temple

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong Wat alley lanterns Thais
Walked this alley out of curiosity

More celebrations awaited me inside.

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong Wat firecracker fountain ThaisChiang Mai Loi Krathong temple lantern touristsChiang Mai Loi Krathong Wat Tung Yu tourists

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong fireworks night sky
Lanterns from below joining the fireworks in the sky
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong Wat Tung Yu priest lighting lantern
Now it were the monks who wanted to light a big one
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong temple huge paper lantern
A really big one
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong Wat Tung Yu lighting big paper lantern
You obviously cannot use matchsticks to light a lantern this big
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong Wat Tung Yu lighting paper lantern waiting
Wait for it to heat up inside
Yi Peng Chiang Mai big lanterns buddhists
Wait for it…
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong buddhist priests releasing paper lantern
Okay, everybody’s waiting… just let go of it already!
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong Wat Tung Yu paper lantern with firecrackers
And it’s up
Chiang Mai Wat Tung Yu people leaving
I left
Chiang Mai full moon night sky lanterns
Near Rux Thai, this was the sight
Chiang Mai Thapae gate crowds gathered
Walked back to Thapae Gate

Chiang Mai Thapae river canal Loi Krathong

Chiang Mai Thapae gate Loi Krathong beauty contest
There was a beauty contest going on
Chiang Mai Loi Krathong beauty contest audience
Packed audience too
Chiang Mai Loy Krathong beauty contest
Switched to the 70-200mm lens for a closer look
Chiang Mai Thapae gate photographers 70-200 canon lens
I wasn’t the only one
Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest
A rather ‘traditional’ looking beauty contest

Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest contestant

Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest judges Thailand
The judges-slash-sponsors
Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest women
Just before the winner is announced, the women get the ‘God-I-hope-that-b***h-doesn’t-win!’-look
Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest award
The winner
Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest prize Thailand
She gets a placard…
Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest winner
…which says something in Thai
Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contes Wai Wai runnerup
The runner-ups get a month’s supply of instant noodles*

Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest stage light

Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong stage show dance Thapae gate

Chiang Mai Thapae gate Yi Peng celebrations lanterns
Lanterns were still floating up

Chiang Mai Miss Loy Krathong beauty contest audience

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong Thapae stage lantern
The stage cleared. I didn’t wait to see what was next.
Thapae road bars Yi Peng bursting crackers
I walked on down to Thapae Road next

Thapae road Inter bar Yi Peng bursting crackersAs I walked along, I saw a large crowd gather around someone.

Chiang Mai amazing street footballer Thailand
Everybody was watching this guy
Chiang Mai street footballer Thailand
He was mighty impressive

So I decided to take a video:

I tipped him 10 baht and continued down the road.

Chiang Mai street guitarist Thailand
There were a few other street performers as well
Wat Buppharam Chiang Mai Yi Peng fireworks
Lots of fireworks today… which is always nice
Wat Buppharam Chiang Mai Indian emblem four lions
Hey, those lion statues resemble the official emblem of India!

Curious as to what the possible ‘Indian connection’ could be, I went inside Wat Buppharam.

Wat Buppharam Chiang Mai Buddha statue worship
Looked like just another Buddhist temple to me

Wat Buppharam Chiang Mai dragon head stoneWat Buppharam Chiang Mai dragon statueWat Buppharam Chiang Mai elephant statueWat Buppharam Chiang Mai temple at night cloudsWat Buppharam man statueWat Buppharam Chiang Mai temple at night Yi PengI got back out to Thapae Road and made my way towards Nawarat bridge.

Thapae road camera man Loi Krathong
Lots of media

Thapae road Wat temple entrance

Thapae gate grand parade float lights
The parade was still on

Ta Pae road grand parade float Thai guy

Tapae road to Nawarat bridge Yi Peng crowds
It was crowded!
Chiang Mai Yi Peng rock concert
They had a stage set up… sadly for the band, very few were watching
Chiang Mai condom safe sex aids awareness Thailand
Volunteers in condom costumes distributed free condoms and promoted AIDS awareness
Chiang Mai Nawarat bridge Yi Peng crowded
The people on Nawarat bridge
Mae ping river Loy Krathong devotees
Many devotees releasing krathongs into Ping river
Mae ping river Loi Krathong river thieves
And if you’re wondering what those people in the waters are doing, they’re ‘stealing’

Stealing what? Money. When the locals pray and release the krathongs, they often place some money as an offering to the river goddess. These shameless people then wait for the krathongs to float their way and then take the money. CNNGo has a good article on these ‘river bandits’.

Chiang Mai Nawarat bridge Yi Peng khomloys city
It’s hard to capture what I saw with my eyes no matter how much I tried

It’s not  just the hundreds of paper lanterns in the sky in front of me. There were hundreds more to my left, right, behind me… everywhere! I kept wondering “How does one truly capture the experience in one frame!”

Chiang Mai nawarat bridge Yi Peng khomloy Thais

Chiang Mai bridge light bulbs
I moved to another bridge

Chiang Mai Maeping river celebrations firework

Praisanee road grand parade Loy Krathong
The parade was at the end of its run
Krathongs for sale Maeping river Chiang Mai
Krathongs and khomloys (paper lanterns) for sale
Chiang Mai steps to Maeping river
I walked down these steps
Rim Ping hotel Loy Krathong firework
Plenty of fireworks soon went off near Rim Ping Hotel

Rim Ping hotel Chiang Mai Loy Krathong fireworkRim Ping hotel Loy Krathong white firework

Rim Ping hotel Loy Krathong Chiang Mai firework
Kinda looks like the Death Star doesn’t it? 🙂

Rim Ping hotel Loy Krathong green fireworkMae Ping river Loi Krathong shooting fireworksMae Ping river Loy Krathong devotees stepsMae Ping river Loi Krathong elephant floatMae ping river Loy Krathong floatMae Ping river bridge light reflections water Loi KrathongChiang Mai Maeping river Yi Peng releasing krathongsChiang Mai Maeping river krathongs light reflectionsMae ping river bank Loykrathong devotees steps

Ping river Loykrathong devotees Chiang Mai
Ping river was packed with devotees
Chiang Mai Maeping river big floats
And a few big floats

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong lightbulbs khomloyChiang Mai Loy Krathong lightbulbs bridge revelers

Praisanee road roundabout Chiang Mai
I walked towards the Chiang Mai Municipality building
Chiang Mai municipal hall Yi Peng function
Cultural shows were going on
Chiang Mai Thai woman makeup geisha
One of the performers; dressed very geisha-like
Chiang Mai US embassy wall paintings
These paintings were on the walls of the US Consulate
Chiang Mai Thai cream pancake street vendor
I was starting to get hungry at this point
Chiang Mai flower shop display
Lots of flowers today as well
Chiang Mai roses red flowers wrapped newspaper
Not sure if these were roses
Praisanee road Chiang Mai Chinese temple
Some temple near the market
Praisanee road Loy Krathong locals celebrating
It was nearing midnight, time to head back to the room
Loy Krathong Loy Kroh road at night
Celebrations on Loy Kroh road were timid at best
Indian kitchen Pakistani food Chiang Mai Thailand
As seen at a small Indian eatery near Rux Thai

As I sat on my bed before going to sleep, I reviewed the snaps I had taken today. After yesterday’s disappointment, and how I felt when I woke up today, my mood was definitely more upbeat after I saw my photos.

Hope it gets better tomorrow!


* No, not really

Next posts in this series:

Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Zoo (Day 4, Part 1)

Thailand 2010: Last day of Loi Krathong; Sunday Grand Parade (Day 4, Part 2)

Thailand 2010: Heading to Chiang Rai by bus, Wat Jedyod and Golden Clock Tower

Thailand 2010: Golden Triangle in Mae Sai; Chiang Rai’s White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

Thailand 2010: Pattaya — Beach road, Viewpoint, Jomtien Beach, Walking Street

Thailand 2010: Back to Bangkok — Chinatown, Patpong, Platinum Mall and Chatuchak Market

Thailand 2010: Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha, Sampeng Market, JJ market (again)

Thailand 2010: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market tour, Cobra show… and leaving Bangkok

Previous posts in this series:

Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai cooking class; Loi Krathong celebrations in Mae Jo, Sansai

Thailand 2010: First day in Chiang Mai for Loi Krathong; driving up Doi Suthep

Thailand 2010: Arriving in Bangkok and preparing for Loi Krathong in Chiang Mai

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  • gren


    Loved the read!

    And yeah I have to point out the perfect placement of the asterisk (“No, not really) at the bottom of the article. Even though it was for Anthony Bourdain, you placed it right below “Hope it gets better tomorrow”!

  • The Indian guy fromTexas


    Beautiful pictures that tell a wonderful story. My appetite has been wetted, and my curiousity aroused. All I need to do is find the time and money. LOL!

Comments are closed.