Loi Krathong Festival Part IV
Tradition has it that the very first Krathong was made by a beautiful young lady at the royal court of the ancient Kingdom of Sukhothai some 700 years ago. Her name was Naang Noppamart, and she was blessed with great artistic skills. Others imitated her and there was a competition on the night of the 11th full moon of the year. The king judged the competition. Naang Noppamart's talents were repaid as her Krathong was declared the clear winner. The king decreed that henceforth this one night of the year should become a festival of thanks and should be celebrated by the floating of boats in the shape and form of lotus leaves. The legend lives on and the beauty queen selected at each of the Loy Krathong celebrations around Thailand is, to this day, the winner of the Naang Noppamart parade.
Dating back to ancient days, the decorative ceremony of lanterns was based on Brahmin beliefs, or Brahmanism. At this ceremony, the people of long ago paid respect by worshipping three different gods. These gods were Pra I-Suan, Pra Narai, and Pra Prom. For this reverent ceremony, the candles used to light up the lantern were made from cow's fat or a wax that came from within the royal gates of the reigning monarch. Usually these candles were made by a Brahmin priest, and of course, the process of making the candles strictly followed the requirements of a Brahmin ceremony.
Formerly, lantern decorations were commonly seen hanging on all mansions in the grand palace. The great numbers and the beauty of the lanterns reflected the status of the royal family members. (Next to the king, the titles of royalty were Jow Fah, Pra Ong Jow, Mom Jow, Mom Rajawong, and Mom Luang). There were also three classifications of lanterns, which were the Kome Chai, the Kome Pra-Tiab, and the Kome Boriwan.
Continued in Part V
If you are looking for modern convenience to shop in Chiang Mai, then this place is for you. The mall is huge and offers the usual stuff you are looking for in big malls. It is a good place to stay and past the time during summer as the airconditioning helps quench that hot and humid weather of Thailand.
But I did not go to Chiang Mai to go to a mall. What I love is something local. I was not particularly interested going here if not for the urging of the very nice monk I met at the temple....I was asking him how to get to Warorot Market and he says nothing special there and instead told me to go to Airport Plaza. As usual, my curiousity got the better of me so imagine how surprised I am to see this mall. At least I was able to use a clean and decent toilet here hahaha. clothes
everything expensive ;0) I wouldn't pay for something extra if a could get a better deal....please see my Warorot Market tip.
Express train from Bangkok
The State Railway does most of the train networking in Thailand including the Bangkok to Chiang Mai one. The distance from the two cities is about 751km and it takes about the same time as the coach...12-14hours. Yes, i know...express train. However, this is much comfortable depending on the cabin class u choose. U should check out the website for classes and prices. There is a cheaper but bloody-uncomfortable-u-will-definitely-get-a-back-ache train service which will cost u less than US$3!
Street Food: Nam Phrik Num
I love dips, in particular spicy thai dips. I'll tease the dip out from the bowl with a crisp silver of vegetable or piece of pork rind(khaeb muu) like Homer Simpson. In Chiang Mai, you can buy bags of dips in the street. In this picture, you can see the lady bagging a glob of Nam phrik num. Nam Phrik Num is made from grilled green eggplants (makhuea yao) that have been pounded with chilies, fermented fish (plaa raa) and oil.
Pamper yourself in Spa
After whole day of "Wat" tour or long trekking trip. You might like to be pampered in Spa here. My favorite place in town is OASIS spa. What can I say..their place is just very well-decorated. Anyway, there're countless of them these days in Chiang Mai. Just pick some brochures or free copies from travel agencies/restuarants in town and compare prices. Usually prices start from 500-800 Baht up to thounsands. Depends on courses you choose. They got pretty good reputation there in Chiang Mai for health and beauty treatments. Guys can go too, it's very relaxing :-)