One of my most favourite travel experiences so far was the Loi Krathong festival in Thailand - and Chiang Mai is one of the best places to visit for this as they really go all out!
It is held every year at full moon in the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, so the dates do vary each year but are generally around the end of November.
The festival features beautifully illuminated paper lanterns, which are launched into the night sky. Krathong which are an offering, traditionally made out of a banana stalk and adorned with candles, incense and some money, are also floated down the rivers.
The sight of hundreds of paper lanterns being set off into the night sky against the full moon is truly an incredible and memorable moment. As with most festivals in Thailand, there is a lot of partying to be done at this time of the year too, so set off your lantern (sending away any bad luck), watch the parade and then head to one of the many bars to end the night!
This is obviously a busy time for Chiang Mai so if you are planning a visit, then make sure you book transport and accommodation in advance. Accommodation prices might also be slightly more expensive - think mine was an additional 20THB a night, so it won't exactly break the bank and the experience is totally worth it!
© 2013 AFAR Media