Few things in life leave an imprint on one’s mind, my recent trip accompanying the contestants of the My Thailand My Story National Geographic photography contest sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, New York certainly has.
Lately, I had the opportunity to accompany seven fantastic photographers along with mentor Alison Wright to Thailand, we stopped over in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, where the selected winning photographers documented the amazing sights of Thailand through their captivating lens’.
The highlight of our journey was our stopover in Chiang Mai for the Yee Peng festival. As a native of Chiang Mai I was happy to return and witness the amazing procession of floating lanterns flying through mid-air, it had been ten years since I participated in this special festival.
The launching of the lanterns in the air is believed to send a person’s bad luck away. The Yee Peng festival is certainly unique in its own right; it is northern Thailand’s version of “Loi Krathong” which is also widely celebrated in Bangkok and other provinces.
Loi Krathong: “Loi,” means to float and “Krathong” refers to a lotus or banana leaf-shaped container which floats on the water to express apologies to the Goddess of Water.
Upon our stopover in Chiang Mai on the 27th and 28th of November 2012, I was amazed to see how people, tourists and locals alike, came together to celebrate the “festival of lights” as it’s commonly called in English.
Adorned with their traditional Thai clothes, the whole community gathered together to make merit and show their respect to the river with fireworks displays and floating lanterns.
The photographers were excited to experience this amazing festival. I have to admit that they truly appreciated my country, Thailand and its culture even more.
To sum it all up, there would be no better way to see Chiang Mai than being illuminated by thousands of lanterns, indeed a pleasurable memory that will certainly last for a lifetime!