Lampang - Chiang Mai. After breakfast we head to the nearby Thailand Elephant Conservation Centre. Founded in 1933 the centre is home to over 50 Asian elephants in a beautiful forest and visitors can watch the daily bathing session before enjoying a ride through the forest on one of these magnificent creatures. Bidding our new animal friends goodbye we continue north-west to the provincial capital of Chiang Mai, arriving on the eve of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng.
Yi Peng & Loi Krathong Festivals
Celebrated throughout the Kingdom on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, the Loi Krathong festival is named after the floating lanterns, boats and ornaments that are set adrift onto rivers during the celebrations. For some, floating a Krathong, especially when lit, are meant to honour Buddha. For most Thais, itâ€™s a way to thank the Hindu Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for her help in providing the most basic of all human necessities. The practice is also associated with creating good luck and ridding oneself of anger and negative thoughts. Some will cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the Krathong, to symbolise the letting go of the bad elements of one's self.
In Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom, Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as â€˜Yi Pengâ€™ where a multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns adorned with good luck wishes and prayer are released into the sky.
Tonight, as both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are being celebrated at the same time, we will see lanterns floating on the waters, strings of pretty lights hanging from houses and temples, and hundreds of beautiful lanterns floating by in the sky. Setting out on foot with our guide, we'll aim to catch the lantern releases and join the other festivities which usually include fireworks, boat racing on the Ping River and parades through the streets.
Overnight - Chiang Mai