For the earlier daily travel digests from my South East Asia Backpacking trip, look here.
When on a short holiday, one tends to cram as many places as possible so that they can say that ‘been there done that’ or it is bang for the buck. That crazy mode is understandable as you will be back to normal life in a week or two and thus allowing your body to recuperate. However, when you are on a long trip and especially on a budget backpacking one, you have to take breaks to ensure that your body gets enough rest.
Day 5 for me was one of those rest days where I stayed indoors for most of the day. Since the hostel was bed and breakfast, I stepped out of the hostel only for lunch and it was a long relaxed lunch. During lunch, I made friends with another backpacker, but from Australia and we ended up talking about Hinduism and spirituality since he was interested in it. It was one of those cool and cloudy afternoons in Bangkok when you could sit out in the open and enjoy your lunch. The 2 hour lunch was a refreshing break from the mad rush of Bangkok.
By the time I had finished lunch, my friend had finished his shopping and we caught up to see his new gadget purchases. After that, it was another indoor break, albeit for a shorter time. At 6 pm, our hostel co-founders called for saying that everything gas ready for the Loi Krathong festival. The previous evening, these guys had promised to take us to see the festival events. I had thought that they would simply take us to the place where the festival happens, but was surprised when they had taken pains to create the beautiful floating devices all decked up in flowers. We were told to put a piece of hair, a small nail and a coin to ensure that when we put it on the river, our bad luck floats away too.
Once all the devices were ready, me, my friend, a Japanese girl (another hostel inmate) and the two local owners walked to the banks of the Chao Phraya river where the main action was happening. As we entered the place, we were greeted with brightly lit colorful stalls of basically all food items, sparklers, floating devices, games and more. Just before we reached the river, we saw a live music band enthralling the audience. Basically, it was a festive atmosphere.
The river side atmosphere was even more beautiful. People were letting their devices float on the river (with a small prayer) while the fireworks show was going on in the sky and brightly lit boats were floating on the river. After immersing our respective floating devices, we took a tuk tuk to a more traditional part of the town where only locals could be seen. The agenda was to climb a monastery and offer our prayers. The crowd was a beehive with buzz everywhere. Be it locals, markets, game shows, astrology shops, they were all there trying to sell their wares. The passage through the crowd was disastrously slow, but we finally made it to the top of the temple and back to the hostel after a long evening. Our limbs were tired and we definitely needed a cold shower, but the events of the festival of Loi Krathong mesmerized all of us.