On November 19th, 2012, I came back to Thailand from Beijing, where the temperature was about 3 degrees Celsius, or 37 Fahrenheit when I left in the early morning. Took a flight to Kunming in Southwest China, and, although the city is 5000 feet high, or about 1600 meters, the weather was a comfortable 22 Celsius, or 70 Fahrenheit. In the evening took a flight back to Chiang Mai, where, at 9 PM, it was still 28 celsius, or 82 Fahrenheit.
Every year around this time is a special festival to mark the Full Moon. It’s called Loi Kraton. This year, based on the Lunar Calendar, it was on November 28. I think there is also a holiday based on the Lunar Calendar in China, too. Anyway, it is marked by three different kinds of quite beautiful offerings.
First, are the beautiful floats, mounted on trucks, with lovely Thai girls and some young Thai men, dressed it appears as either Royalty, or more likely, as Goddesses and Gods.
Second, there are small hot air balloons, made from paper, with a small burner at the bottom. The burner is lighted, the hot air fills the paper balloons, which then rise to the night sky by the dozens, sending the good wishes off to Heaven.
Third, there are many small boats, not more than a few centimeters or inches across, decorated with flowers and other small items. A Thai girl told me that the boats are an offering to the River Ping (that is the river that runs by Chiang Mai), asking the river to forgive anything the person has done wrong to the river, and I suppose, extending into the person’s life.
Right now, the weather in Chiang Mai is perfect, clear blue sky, about 28 degrees, or into the mid 80′s Fahrenheit. A lot more comfortable than Beijing, at least as far as the weather is concerned!! This time of year, especially with the Loi Kraton Festival, is the best time of year to visit Chiang Mai.
Apparently, the young Chinese folks are finding out about it. I met a lot of Chinese both last year and this year as well. This is something that was not so when I first came to Chiang Mai, and it always give me smile when I see Chinese people here, joining the many others from Western countries.