Loi Krathong Festival Part VII
It is believed that by sending off these lanterns an individual can send one's sins and bad luck into the air. Usually before the lantern soars into the sky, an individual will pray that one's sin or bad luck will be transported on the lantern and floated away high into the sky. Sometimes an address is left inside. The purpose of this is when the lantern come back down to the ground, and individual can follow an address and seek for money from whoever wrote the address. Or even sometimes, the maker will put some money inside the lantern. The purpose of the hot air lantern is to worship and pay respect to the Phra Ged Kaew Ju La Manee. An old legend tells that during war, these lanterns were sent into enemy territory and exploded.
In Chiangmai, visitors will be treated to an air of festivity in the weeks leading up to Loy Krathong. People begin constructing their Krathong, a small raft to float down the river as an offering. They are traditionally cut in a circular slice from the trunk of a banana tree and decorated with intricate leaf-patterns and flowers.
A candle, incense sticks and a few small coins are typically placed as offerings. Archways of banana stems suddenly appear outside homes and businesses, and hanging lanterns, or Kome, are hung anywhere possible. With their beautiful colors and delicate paper streamers, these lanterns glow with a warm charm in the night, along with yellow flames of thousands of miniature terra-cotta nightlights flickering on walls and gateposts in the city.
While Kome are put up all over the city, hot-air balloons, or Kome Loy, are set off into the sky during the festivities. Be careful: there are also fireworks, and the locals often set off their own with no rhyme or reason. And there's a lot of drinking.
The date of the festival changes from year to year, depending on the full moon of the Yee-Peng month, which is usually in November, but sometimes in late October.
Gems Gallery is famous Thai jewellery store. It is just outside the city on the industrial area and there you can surely find some items you would like, and, well, you can even ask them to make for you something that you would like.
Delicious Food + Nice Environment
The Daret's House & Restaurant serves not only good Thais foods, but also Chinese and Western foods. You should come here and try the good food while enjoying the environment. It is an open-air concept restaurant where the weather in Chiang Mai is just nice for it... You can try the fried rice, noodle, soup, fish, chicken, pork, etc... everything in the menu is nice. Try it!
Maesa Elephant Camp
This is a must visit when you come to Chiang Mai.
Not only watch the elephants show, but you can touch, feed, ride, even bath them...!!!
Really excited to see the elephant work, dance, play, and paint.
Entrance fee for the park is 100 or 200 bath (I forgot, sorry).
Riding an elephant for 5 min is 30 bath, for 30 min is 100 bath.
Feeding the elephant (depend on the food) usually 20 bath.
Choice of tours
We were interested, as most people are, to see the famed "giraffe neck women" tribe near Chiang Mai. We did a "hilltribe tour", which was extremely long and bumpy, with very little actual "guiding" along the way. The tour guide had very good English, but slept a good way to the destination - a long trip which would have been improved significantly with some commentary.
When we got there, it was really little short of a circus -we kind of walked our way through a "display" of people standing in front of market stalls which could have been almost anywhere in the country. The pushy, tourist savvy Akha women came first - and what was left of you stumbled down to the big earring people, and finally to the long necked girls. These were a forlorn little bunch, sitting inside little market stalls, selling all the things you can buy anywhere. The only "novelty" was them. We felt quite uncomfortable for them, and there was a sense of exploitation - probably of them and us!
There was nothing natural about the environment - such as seeing how a natural hilltribe would live - some of the girls sat on the porch of little houses, and television could be seen in the background. Some of the little kids were fun to watch, and were quite mischievous! The little one at the corrugated door is actually imprisoning a little friend in the toilet! She was lively and cheeky - the other girls were very docile, and looked totally miserable.
One of the saving graces for this tour was that we stopped at a Hmong village on the way home - where there was no people circus display - but they were having a festival, and were dressed traditionally, and having what amounted to a fair.