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Chiang Mai and the North celebrate Loy Krathong in traditional style

All they need is love! Time sponsors needed for hugs

Chiang Mai and the North celebrate Loy Krathong in traditional style

Festival is a major revenue earner for the province

 Queen Sirikit trophy presented for the giant krathong winner.

Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong

Yee Peng or the Loy Krathong festival is always hugely popular in Chiang Mai, and this year was no exception. Thai and foreign visitors alike flocked to the city and residents came out in crowds to see the sights.

Governor Suwat Tantipat presents a plaque to Junnapong Saranak, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1, for supporting the Loy Krathong festival at Thapae Gate.

There was a giant hot air balloon or kom loy competition and a contest to make krathongs from banana leaves. Other competitions were organized as well, such as bamboo rafting, diving, and water bucket paddling.

The main gates of the 13 temples along Rachadamnern and Thapae roads were decorated beautifully.

This giant Krathong decorated with lights at Khatum Corner attracted many tourists.

Residents enjoyed floating their own krathongs on the Mae Ping River to the water angel Phra Mae Kong Kha, and some released kom loys on Yee Peng night. Sound and light performances in the middle of the river were a big attraction.

A big highlight was the giant krathong parade, with almost 40 organizations taking part.

Estimates are that this festival brought about 2,000 million baht into Chiang Mai.

Many Chiang Mai students joined the banana
leaf Krathong making competition.

Other Northern provinces such as Mae Hong Son had their own festivals. Small krathongs were floated at Nong Jong Kham Public Park so that visitors could experience Tai tribe culture. Krathong Sawan floating took place at Wat Doi Kong Moo, which was the only place organizing this kind of krathong in Thailand. A krathong competition, a Miss Noppamas contest, music performances and a Tai tribe ceremony were organized at Border Patrol Police Company 336th located beside the Pai River.

In Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, several thousand Burmese people joined the Loy Krathong festival due to the Thai-Burma border being open until midnight. The two countries jointly held Loy Krathong on the Sai River. There was also a Miss Noppamas contest with contestants from both nations.

All they need is love! Time sponsors needed for hugs

Help needed for the orphans of Baan Kingkaew

Marion Vogt
Photos: Steve Yarnold, Michael Baer

Twelve babies from the age of three months upwards, slept in their small beds, while over 30 toddlers greeted the eyes of Chiangmai Mail reporters as we entered Baan Kingkaew Orphanage.

Some of the people responsible for the orphanage. (Standing in the back) teacher Mrs Rattanaporn and operations manager Mrs Srisawat. The two ladies (front far left) Mrs Darunwan and Mrs Nongluck (far right). The two nuns in the middle are Mayuree Meunarpai and Srinuan Bunyorod.

The nurses and nannies who take care of these small children, often abandoned or orphaned through AIDS, introduced us to the little ones.

Baan Kingkaew Orphanage will be one of the charities to benefit from the upcoming rooftop party on January 14. (Entrance tickets and t-shirts will soon be available, and we will keep you updated.)

Nap time from 12 – 2.30 pm.

This orphanage was named after Miss Kingkaew Wiboolsanti, a Thai lady who donated her home, her land and a financial endowment for the benefit of local orphans. Baan Kingkaew was opened in 1966.

In the early days only 25 children could be taken care of, but the capacity doubled over the years and now they even have the facilities to take care of 12 babies.

We want to play now!

What the orphanage urgently needs is volunteers to help with bottle feeding and the much-needed playing. Like many organizations in the wake of Asia’s financial crisis, the foundation did not have enough money to meet the annual costs of serving all the needs of the little abandoned children and had to ask the Chiang Mai Provincial Authority, the welfare department, the social welfare council of Thailand and private donors for help.

The English speaking administrator, Srisawat Suwan, said that Baan Kingkaew welcomes visitors and volunteers, as the nannies, nurses and helping hands are often overloaded with work. Miss Srisawat just asks for a telephone call in advance and no visitors during “nap time”.

MY bottle! Don’t even think about taking it from me!

She said that the center is keen on having orphans adopted to ensure that they can grow up in a consistent loving environment, either in Thailand or overseas.

Donations, especially toys towards the Christmas season, even household appliances and of course sponsorships for children are highly appreciated. It might sound like “peanuts” to be the sponsor for one child, as it is just 4,000 baht per year (USD 100) but it means the world for those who need it.

Please! It is my turn to be picked up!

Even without money, there will be people in Chiang Mai who have an extra hour or so and could volunteer to play with the babies (even one afternoon per month) to give them the feeling of being loved, so important in their development.

By the way, volunteers to feed the babies are needed! Bottle feeding three times a day, 7 - 7.30 / 11.30 - 12 / 4.30 - 5 p.m.

Playtime is 10 a.m. until 11.30 a.m. Please call the volunteer coordinator on 0 5327 5650 prior to visiting.

Volunteer Mary Bear enjoys the cuddle time as much as the little infant.

Shoes, shoes, shoes

It breaks one’s heart to imagine that there are people who abandon infants but luckily there are also people out there who are willing to give much needed love and warmth where it is needed.

Thanks for playing with me. I will have sweet dreams today!