Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Year's Eve in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I had heard that Chiang Mai is a wonderful place to spend New Year's so when I was planning our trip, I made sure we were there on that day. From the minute we got there three days before NYE, we could already see preparations. The stage for the performances that night was already set up. There were colorful "Happy New Year" signs everywhere. The market around the stage was set up and going strong already as well.

After riding elephants all morning and taking a long nap, we headed out for the evening. We started the night by people watching in a cute little square of shops that overlooks the road with all of the tourists. It was so pretty. As we were sitting there, we decided that Chiang Mai, though old and charming, is set up mainly for tourists. There are tons of beautiful, Western shops and squares that locals probably don't care much about. 

We decided to make our way down to the main area where the stage and market was. Our dinner for the night consisted of street food. Fancy, huh? We were perfectly content with $2 pad thai, fried rice, and gyros. We walked around the market for awhile, which was a lot of the same stuff we saw at the Sunday Night Walking Market. It was also super crowded, tourists and locals alike. We decided to go to a rooftop restaurant to get an awesome view of the street. It was crowded, but the view was great and they also had entertainment. 

After that, we decided to sit along the moat and watch people set off their wishing lanterns. It was only 9 at this point and we wanted to wait to set ours off. It was funny and sad to watch because there were so many lanterns crashing into the moat. There were also lanterns stuck in trees and power lines. We were surprised there weren't any fires starting. 

We decided we couldn't wait any longer, so we went to the main area to set off a wishing lantern. They were being sold all over the street for around $5. You are supposed to write your wish on it, but we didn't have a pen. Our lantern was a success, unlike the ones around us that were crashing and burning. It was crazy how many lanterns were being set off. 

Around this same time, fireworks had started going off. They weren't professional fireworks, these were amateur fireworks being shot at the wishing lanterns. It started to turn into madness. We decided to get out of the craziness and walked back toward the stage. Someone was singing in Thai and everyone was going nuts! I assumed it was someone very famous. We couldn't escape the craziness. We met another American couple and hung out with them for a bit. We decided to set off two more wishing lanterns. When in Chiang Mai, right? 

At this point, we decided to embrace the madness and went to the epicenter of it all for midnight. At midnight, there were tons and tons of wishing lanterns sent off and then fireworks every where we turned. At midnight wee shared a kiss, which definitely was not the norm there. After the madness of midnight, we decided to head home after Jake got some Burger King since our flight for Bangkok left at 8 am the next day. The craziness continued on our entire way home, with fireworks and crazy people every where.

It was a crazy and fun night. I will definitely never forget the NYE we spent in Chiang Mai. 

Missed any of our Thailand recaps? Check them out below:
Thailand Trip Overview
Christmas in Koh Samui
Temples around Chiang Mai
Cooking School in Chiang Mai
Sunday Night Walking Market
Riding Elephants

Linking up with Bonnie and Tina for Travel Tuesday!


  1. Your photos are great. I'm jealous - have always wanted to set off a Wishing Lantern. About 5 years ago my hubby and I were in Thailand for Songkran - Thai new year and it was amazing. People everywhere throwing water in the streets partying hard.
    Claire xx | somewhere... beyond the sea

  2. I love the lantern, one day I have to set off my own wishing lantern.

  3. I'd love to set off a wishing lantern one day! Looks like you had a really good time in Thailand. Makes me want to go even more!

  4. Wow! How awesome! These pictures are amazing, what an experience. And you look gorge as usual :)

  5. I love, love this post! Recently my husband and I went to Taiwan's Pingxi Sky Lantern festival and set off our own lantern! It's just a surreal and beautiful moment, huh? I dream of one day going to Chiang Mai's Yi Peng lantern festival!

  6. Such a fun nye! Love the lanterns. Beautiful!!

  7. you got some good lantern pictures! We were in the epicenter of madness for about 10 mins and then we had to get out of there. it was madness!

  8. Whoa.. love the lanterns pictures, it looks so lovely :) What a fab way to celebrate a new year!

  9. I love this post! So amazing that yall get to travel everywhere being on the other side of the world. Also, first thing I thought of when I saw the floating lights was TANGLED with the floating lanterns! Love it! Such neat adventures!

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