Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong and the amazing mountains around Chiang Mai Thailand

(Nederlands scrol naar beneden)

Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง) is a festival that is celebrated in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.

The Loy Krathong festival takes place on the evening of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. The dates of Loy Krathong change every year. This is always a source of confusion.

Loi Krathong Chiang Mai

Loy Krathong usually falls in the month of November. In Chiang Mai, the festival is also known as Yi Peng or Yee Peng Festival. It last three days. The first day is the lantern festival, the second day is the full moon day and the third day is now the day of the Loy Krathong parade

Over the years the release of sky lanterns (โคมลอย) has become the most popular activity of the Yee Peng or Loy Krathong Festival. Also about the release of the lanterns, there is a lot of confusion. Nowadays the release of sky lanterns is only allowed on the 2nd and 3rd days of the festival between 1900 and 0100 (one hour after midnight). In 2019 this will probably be on November 11 and 12 but these dates are not confirmed.

The vicinity of the Ping River between the Nakornping Bridge and the Iron Bridge is the best place to be to release and observe sky lanterns. This is free of charge.

There a couple of organized sky lantern releases. These are not free but they are worth visiting.

This lantern releasing event in the past used to be free, but ever since 2015, you must purchase a ticket which costs between $100-300 USD per person.

As you can imagine, this event -- the Mae Jo Sky Lantern Release – is now directed at tourists who want to get that iconic photograph for Instagram instead of locals actually partaking in this cultural festival.

Cowboy Army Riding Club

With this event's popularity, there are other paid events popping up elsewhere around the city (another one is at the Cowboy Army Riding Club), and some tour agencies will make it sound like this is the only way to partake in the festival.This is false.

You can absolutely partake in Yi Peng and Loy Krathong without paying any money to a tour agency.

Unless you are a professional photographer who wants to capture the iconic shot, our recommendation is to skip this overpriced tourist event and just go to Narawat bridge or go to a paid event and watch it outside the property.

Yee Peng festival

Mon Cham

On our way to Mon Cham the mountains just outside the city we past Huay Tueng Thao lake for lunch. Huay Tueng Thao lake is a big lake just outside the city with floating huts on the water where you can eat swimming chilling these kinds of places you come across a lot in Thailand and the food is great. Huay Tung Tao is a freshwater reservoir at the foot of Doi Suthep mountain, just a few kilometers north-west of the Chiang Mai city center. The lake is used for swimming and is a well-known picnic area.

Huay Tueng Thao lake Chiang Mai

Loi Krathong Chiang Mai Thailand

Mon Cham, or ‘Mon Jam’ as it is often spelled, is only a half-hour drive from downtown Chiang Mai yet is worlds away with its cooler climate and chilled out atmosphere.

Nong Hoi Royal Project is the focal point of Mon Cham. The project’s nicely maintained gardens and restaurant together with beautiful views and an escape from the hotter weather in the city are the keys draws of a day or weekend trip to Mon Cham. Visitors wishing to stay overnight have a choice of camping or staying at the mountain resorts in the locality.

Mon Cham was formerly known for his great heroin harvest after the king started a program for the people with an alternative to the poppy cultivation. Now you can find all kinds of vegetables, fruit and lots of strawberries. The population lives from tourism and the produce of fruit and vegetables.

Onsen at Moncham Chiang Mai

In Mon Cham we stayed in an Onsen resort, a spacious resort in Japanese style the guests walk around in a Kimon so you don't have to worry about your clothes. The resort consists of 16 rooms from lux to super lux and regular rooms.

Onsen Spa Mon Cham

Onsen Spa Mon Cham Chiang Mai

watchin the sunset by the lake

We enjoyed the afternoon in the Onsen Spa. The hotel Onsen at Moncham is located at 1200 meters above sea level in a green landscape in the middle of the mountains, jungle and between the farms of Mon Cham. In the evening we enjoyed the Japanese cuisine at the open-air restaurant, a spacious restaurant with Thai and Japanese cuisine, the food was so great and definitely recommended if you are in the area and want to eat Japanese, it deserves 5 stars the tuna melted in our mouth so fresh.

fresh fish in the restaurant

A must do in the mountains is watching a Sunrise a magical sight with the mist rolling through the mountains. After Sunrise we picked some fresh strawberries and drove back to the hotel. The breakfast was great a lot of choices and all prepared by a chef.

Sunrise Mon Cham Chiang Mai

breakfast al prepared by a chef

After breakfast, we drove to the Mae Sa waterfall just 10 min from the hotel I had already been here 5 years ago and came back because the waterfall is really great.

In the 5 years time the park has deteriorated everywhere you find collapsed and poorly maintained huts lookout points, I wonder where the money goes because the park gets a lot of visitors and that is not reflected in the maintenance. The waterfall has 10 floors nr. 5 is the best for chilling or haveing a picnic,but we decided to walk a bit to the top to take some photos in peace. Tired and satisfied we walked down again, after which we had lunch somewhere on the river in a hut on the road to the way back.

Mae Sa waterfall

Patara Elephant Farm

In the afternoon we enjoyed the tranquility and nature and the spa in the Onsen.

The next morning we checked out the hotel and drove to an elephant farm. Pantara Elephant camp a shelter for elephants where the elephants walk around freely in a nice atmosphere in a large park in the middle of the mountains with Lonelyplanet certification and Natgeotravel recommended its a good choice. Patara Elephant Farm is unique because of their Elephant Owner for a Day program. Together with the regular caretaker of the elephant you are responsible for one day for the care of the elephant you get assigned.

Patara Elephant Farm combines conservation with education and limited tourism. It breeds elephants,

The current use of elephants in Thailand is hotly debated, both locally and internationally. In 2005, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called for a tourist boycott of Thailand to protest “the ritualistic torture of baby elephants by the country’s tourism industry,” and many in the animal rights community argue elephants shouldn’t be forced to work, either for farming or for the sake of tourism.

Defenders of working elephants, whether for farming, performing or trekking, point out that they’re expensive to keep — an adult elephant consumes 130 kilograms of fruits and vegetables each day — and Thailand is a poor country. The Thai government maintains that elephants entertaining tourists in regulated parks is a legitimate and pragmatic way of conserving the animals.

That said I think you all can do some research before you go to an elephant farm if an elephant is chained its a no go if riding the elephant is only for entertaining the tourist its a now go.If the elephants are only keeped for fashion shoots and tourist taking selfies its a now go.

On the pics you see us riding an elephant for exercise on the way back to the farm and believe me its no fun I was hurt everywhere

Patara Elephant Farm

The nice thing is that they choose an elephant that suits your character, we got a very quiet elephant because Ho was afraid of the big mammals.After we were a little accustomed to the elephant and had given him to eat we had to work the elephant had to be washed and scrubbed in the river. After that, it was time for a little movement and we drove back with the elephant through the mountains in the jungle to the camp a really nice day.

Patara Elephant Farm

The alarm went back early to see the sunrise at Doi Suthep (I become a morning human ) a great sight to see the sun rise and set the temple in a nice soft light.