ATA: Day 5 Lantern Festival

This morning I woke up super early.  I didn\’t have wifi in my room so there was nothing to do (ha ha!).  So I got up and captured the beautiful sunrise at Pho ChaiSai. There were so many little spots around the resort to sit and enjoy a moment of peace.

They made their own bread at the resort but we got to toast it ourselves over a wood flame.   The GM of the resort said that this is the most photographed \”thing\” at the resort.

Today we have a 4 – 5 hour ride to Chang Mai so we were on the road around 8 am.  We stopped at this cute little cafe for lunch as we approached Chang Mai.

Pad Thai for lunch and it was very good.  

We made it to Chang Mai and checked in to this modern boutique hotel right on the river. 

The dates for this Thailand trip revolved around getting to the Yeepang Lantern Festival.  It\’s normally held every year in November around the full moon but last year was skipped because of the King\’s death.    There were 10,000 people expected at this years festival.

MeRa and Brian had already scoped out the event layout and had looked at pictures from previous years in order to figure out the best place for us to shoot from.  It was decided that we could either shoot from around this reflecting pool or in our seats near the ceremony.

You can see the photographers lined up near the pool.

We didn\’t realize that our knees had to be covered.  Teresa and Karen were wearing shorter shorts so they got these very fashionable blue pants to wear.

Can you tell that Teresa is a total goofball!

Holding down the fort and protecting our space and gear.

The buddhist monks started taking their positions.

Lanterns of many colors.

 It\’s getting dark.

There was an hour long ceremony with thank yous and meditations.  At one point a large group of people circled the area with lanterns while this chant played.  So mesmerizing.

Lantern Festival Chant from amy white on Vimeo.

The announcer was very specific about when the lanterns should be lit.  At one point he said \”I just told you not to light your lanterns yet\”.  But it was time now!

The act of releasing the lantern and krathong symbolizes letting go of all ills and misfortunes in the previous year, and Buddhists also believe that if you make a wish when you set off the lantern, it will come true (but only if you do good deeds the following year, of course).

There were 10,000 people lighting their lanterns at the same time.  As soon as this started, the mood turned to downright giddy and joyful.  Faith in humanity was restored at that moment.

It was pure magic.

It was a pretty crazy night!

Sue and I chose to be near the ceremony to shoot pictures (as you can see).  After just about all the lanterns were lit, Sue and I took a moment to light ours.  During the main lighting I had taken lots of pictures of other people with their phones, including the pair in the pic above.  When we lit our lantern, the lady in black in came over and took my phone and grabbed some pictures for us.  We didn\’t speak the same language but we understood each other perfectly.  It was such a special night.  

When we got back to our hotel several hours later we could still see lanterns floating in the sky and offerings floating down the river.

Now that you\’ve enjoyed my pictures, I will share what my fearless leaders captured and shared on InstaGram.  MeRa was over by the reflecting pool and Brian by the seats near us.  Magical!

A post shared by Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom (@merakoh) on

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