Loi Krathong Festival Part II
With the rainy season gone, the night sky is clear and coolness fills the air. On the night of Loy Krathong itself, the full moon sails over the horizon into a sky filled with light and sound, for the Lanna folk celebrate Loy Krathong in three dimensions. Giant hot air balloons, called Kome Loy, rise into the sky, their fires visible, like some galaxy of orange stars, into the far distance. Traditional rockets known as Bok Fai outdo the myriad of other fireworks crackling and popping everywhere in the crisp night air. And beneath this frenzy of noise and light, the gentle, quiet, and touching act of floating (loy) one's Krathong.
The traditional months of Lanna are different from the rest in Thailand, and Loy Krathong is always celebrated in Duan Yee - the second month - and the period of the festival is called Yee Peng. It is an important time with Krathong and a different Buddhist ceremony, called Tang Tham Luang, falling within this month. The decorations around houses and temples come alive during Yee Peng with the Kome paper lanterns glowing a host of bright colours. Walls surrounding compounds are decorated with the earthen lamps called Phang Patit. The number of these lamps must correspond with the total age of all family members combined, and their flickering yellow flames give warmth to the cool evening.
Continued in Part III
Market and Night Bazaar - cheap and good
In the Chiang Mai day market you can find anything, and I mean anything from old Burmese weapons to Thai silk for a cheap and fair price. Some of the best deals in Thailand come from the Chiang Mai day market and night bazaar. These places are HUGE (over five stories of market over several blocks) and complex. These markets are not just outdoor but deep indoor also. Everywhere you turn there are shops and stuff. These are the best deals and just going through the market is a maze and challenge. Anything from elecronics, to carvings, to silk, to knives, to chicken feet and satay. It's cheap
Hiring a driver
I am usually quite apprehensive when approached by a driver offering services. While I visited a temple, I was approached by a local driver with his own vehicle. We planned a trip, decided on a price, and off we went.
It was an air conditioned car, and the driver at the same time acted as a guide. He spoke English very well, and was never pushy as to visit certain shops where he could get commission.
Another advantage is that you can stop long the road if you want, not being dependent on a group of fellow-tourists.
The answer is... Sticky Rice Stick
OK, ladies and gentlement, let me present the Sticky Rice Stick!. It is wrapped in wood (or bamboo?) and steamed, with red bean inside, sweet in taste. Locals eat this as breakfast. One Bhat each. Well... I don't like ti very much, sort of funny taste, interesting to try out though.
Not just a market
Anusan Night Market is located near to the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. There are market stalls here, but the majority of tourist's and Thais come here for the food. Plenty to choose from, most of which are set around a large Beer hall.