Photo by Greg Rodgers
I've been lucky enough to experience some incredible festivals in Asia over the years, but few were as chaotic, beautiful, and visually mesmerizing as Thailand's famous Loi Krathong.
Wow. Literally thousands of small, handmade floats with candles inside are placed on the river in Chiang Mai.
As if seeing a river virtually on fire wasn't enough, the festival is now jointly celebrated with Yi Peng, a Lanna festival where thousands of fiery lanterns are launched into the sky. The lanterns float dreamily into the air and eventually look like distant stars.
Add to this thundering fireworks displays, both legal and teenager-created, and the cityscape is transformed into a fantasy world that words fail to adequately describe.
Tourists stand agape as rockets, lanterns, and krathong floats make the night glow with fire. Visitors are welcome to purchase Yi Peng lanterns, or friendly monks will help you launch your own lantern into the sky for a small donation.
Prayers, wishes, and messages of goodwill are written on your lantern, then you watch as it joins the multitude of others that look like distant stars in the sky.
Loi Krathong 2012 takes place on November 28, however, festivities take place a few days before and after. If you're traveling in Southeast Asia, grab a flight to Chiang Mai - you won't believe what you see!