Moonlit Cultural Offerings

Yee Peng Lantern and Loy Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai

The annual Yee Peng Lantern Festival is celebrated on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar – typically occurring in the mid-November – when the rivers are at their fullest and the moon is at its brightest. Celebrated in Northern Thailand alongside the Loy Krathong Festival, the biggest celebration is held in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom.

Thousands of lanterns adorned with lights are released and float up into the sky over Chiang Mai, while brightly decorated krathongs are cast into the rivers. This act of releasing lanterns and krathongs symbolizes letting go of all ills and misfortunes from the previous year. Buddhists also believe that if you make a wish when releasing the lanterns, it will come true – but only if you do good deeds the following year, of course.

During this festival of lights, locals’ homes and public places are adorned in colourful hanging lanterns and flag decorations. Activities also occur across Chiang Mai, including traditional Thai dance shows, the official ‘Yee Peng Parade’ around the Old City gate and down Tha Phae Road, live music, and handicraft sessions. You can also expect plenty of food vendors setting up, firecrackers, and fireworks.

For more information on tours and programmes in Chiang Mai, visit the Agent Hub.

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Kayaking through Phuket’s Hongs by Starlight

When other sea cave-kayak tour operators are winding down for the day, the John Gray Sea Canoe is just getting started. John Gray is the godfather of sea kayaking in Thailand and developed the ‘Hong by Starlight’ tour to avoid daytime crowds.  

Lead by a professional guide, guests can enjoy an afternoon and evening of sea cave exploring inside Phang Nga Bay’s marine geology. Explore the incredible limestone cliffs shooting out of the turquoise water, including the caves, hidden lagoons and “hongs” or “rooms” discovered by John Gray in 1989.

Loy Krathong, typically celebrated in November, is known as one of the most beautiful Thai festivals. Small floating decorations are set adrift en masse as a sign of new beginnings and for good luck. The John Gray Sea Canoe recreates this iconic ceremony as guests are taught to make traditional banana stalk krathongs, before sending it out to sea and over the bioluminescent plankton.  If lucky, guests may also witness a special show by microscopically small plankton while kayaking at night.

For more information on our Hong by Starlight at Phang Nga Bay – John Grey’s Sea Canoe tour, visit the Agent Hub.

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Candlelight Offerings at Shwedagon Pagoda

Although its origins date back to the early 11th century as a small fishing village, Yangon underwent major development in the 1880’s when the British transformed it into the commercial and political hub of the country. Colonial Yangon, with its spacious parks, lakes, mix of modern buildings, and traditional wooden architecture was affectionately coined, ‘The Garden City of the East’.

A trip to Yangon would not be complete without a visit to the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. As night falls, visit the glistening stupa to light rows of small candles surrounding its base. Watch the sunset over the gleaming pagoda complex before taking part in a delightful event that provides yet another opportunity from which to photograph this stunning site.

For more information on our add on Candlelight Offering at Shwedagon Pagoda tour, visit the Agent Hub.

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Singapore’s Iconic Chingay Parade

If a single event could capture the essence of Singapore’s unique multicultural personality, it would be the Chingay Parade—an annual marvel of dazzling floats, dancing dragons and stilt walkers. Held during the Chinese New Year festivities, this wondrous event brings together people and performances from across Singapore’s cultural spectrum, and is celebrated by Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians alike.

With all its noise and gaiety, the parade was mooted over four decades ago as a way to compensate for the ban that had been placed on firecrackers, a customary Chinese New Year practice to drive away evil spirits. Today, the Chingay Parade is one of the largest street performances and float parades in Asia—a shimmering celebration that extends from the original F1 Pit Building, via the back of Singapore Flyer, to NS Square (Marina Bay floating platform), where the River Hongbao is also held.

2020’s celebration will see 6,000 volunteer performers displaying their talents in a showcase that centres on the theme ‘Colours in Harmony’. Highlights of the event include the release of 200 metres of firecrackers, stunning displays of fireworks, laser lights and pyrotechnics and both traditional and contemporary performances.

The Chingay Parade 2020 will take place from 31 January to 1 February, and visitors hoping to get a glimpse of Singapore’s unique multicultural tapestry can get their tickets at the event’s official website.

For more information on tours and programmes in Singapore, visit the Agent Hub.

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