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Should I avoid Chiang Mai on Loy Krathong?

  • scythemk

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd September, 2010
    Posts: 23

    I have currently planned Nov 14th - Nov 15th in Bangkok, Nov 16th-Nov 19th (4 nights) in Chiang Mai and then Nov 20th - Nov 22nd in South Thailand (Ko Phi Phi probably). I have just read about the big Loy Krathong festival of lights in Chiang Mai on November 20-21st. I am tempted to switch up north and south Thailand so I would be in Chiang Mai during this period. The festival seems beautiful and something worth seeing. However, I am concerned that the swarms of people will take away some of the charm of seeing Chiang Mai for the first time and make it a not-so-pleasant stay. What do you guys think? Is it worth changing my itinerary to be able to see it? I guess if it's too crazy I could always try to get away to Pai or Chiang Rai or go jungle trekking in the surrounding areas?

    #1 Posted: 18/9/2010 - 08:43

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  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    Have lived in Chiang Mai about 7 years and Loy Krathong is still one of the best times to be here IMO. Not quite the frenzy of western tourists you might expect, but a lot of Thai tourists flock in for the week. No problem finding a room though. The paper balloons in the sky and banana leaf floats on the river plus music and dance performances make it a scenic charming experience. Downside can be the number of fireworks along the Ping river where Thais don't exactly "handle with care". Not uncommon to find a bottle rocket wizzing past your head or a handfull of firecrackers flung by a passing motorbike. I just avoid the riverside on those evenings and the rest remains pretty sane and relatively tranquil. Even if you don't swap your days with the south Nov 16-19 you'd still get a hint of the festival but miss the peak weekend.

    #2 Posted: 18/9/2010 - 13:32

  • scythemk

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd September, 2010
    Posts: 23

    Thanks for the info! So if I understand correctly, if you were a first time visitor to CM, in my shoes, and you could make it to CM during Loy Krathong, you would do it?

    #3 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 02:40

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    Yep!

    #4 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 02:57

  • rooflee

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2010
    Posts: 22

    Hi there, On the same note, I've read about a small town a few km north of CM called MaeJo and I would be quite interested to visit on the day of Loy Krathong. Captain Bob, would you recommond it or shall I stick to CM?

    Cheers
    Ruth

    #5 Posted: 23/9/2010 - 22:49

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    Mae Jo which is more like a suburb of Chiang Mai, is the scene of a huge paper lantern release on a given evening at the early part of the festival. Just type "mae jo yi peng" into YouTube for plenty of visual examples. The area can be hugely crowded on the evening and it's wise to walk/bike in rather than rely on car/taxi which can be gridlocked in traffic. Definitely a unique experience though and worth being there.

    #6 Posted: 26/9/2010 - 16:07

  • rooflee

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2010
    Posts: 22

    Thanks for the info. We might go there on the day and get a room for the night and make our way down the following day to avoid the hassle. Sounds better to you? :)

    #7 Posted: 26/9/2010 - 23:09

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