Spending the New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai is one of the highlights of my trip. This is my first time celebrating the NYE in a foreign country. Having said that, the old city gives me the opportunity to experience something different. The Thapae Gate was the focal point of the NYE celebrations. The roads were closed to traffic and lined with food stalls and local markets. The crowd can get intense nearing the midnight and be prepared to elbow your way round.
Releasing the sky lantern at the temple is a must. For 4o baht each, you can write down your wishes and set off the lantern that light up the night sky.
I didn’t have a lighter with me but a friendly monk help me to light up my lantern. The trick for launching the lantern is to wait for at least 2 minutes until you begin to feel a gentle upward tug, then simply release the lantern.
I have seen the lanterns caught in power lines or trees, then ignites into flames. Other than that, the sky looks stunning!
Thousands of lanterns illuminating the sky.
Shops near Thapae gate.
The roads were closed to make way for the makeshift stalls.
You can also opt to join the monks at the Wat Phan Tao, who spend the last hour of the year in meditation and chanting in a serene candle-lit hall. At midnight, the chanting stops and the Thais join the monks in releasing good-luck lanterns into the sky.
Strike midnight, there were people lighting off fireworks and shooting sparklers out of long tubes. There were many fireworks from all sort of directions; most of it were non regulated. At some point, they were shooting them right over my head. Nevertheless, I had fun and the experience ushering the new year in Chiang Mai is an unforgettable one.