Loy Kratong – first night

Loy Kratong started in earnest last night, leading up to the full thing on Sunday when there is a full moon. Loy Kratong refers to the floating floral decorations that are placed in the river and sail off with wishes, blessings and hopes.

The Kratong are sometimes very ornate and made mostly from organic materials: slice of banana tree forms the core, and then folded leaves and flowers are added before finally topping off with incense sticks and a candle. Some are about a foot wide and even the most ornate go for about 80 Bht (less than £2), the cheaper ones are priced from 30 Bht. There is another variety made from bread, and usually in the shape of a turtle.

Whilst the floating offerings form the core of the festival, the young of Chiang Mai are more concerned with the floating lantern (Khom Loi) and firework elements. Some bridges are full of people hurling firecrackers into the river, most are fairly tame affairs, but occasionally a mortar goes off – and these continue throughout the night; going to be a noisy few days.

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