Yi Peng Lantern Festival

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Last May, I sat at a café in California covered head to toe in desert dust. It was another couple of hours’ drive to the campground where we’d spend the night, and I took advantage of the coffee break to check my email.

The first message I opened was an article pending my edits, but before I had a chance to read it, I flicked open its attached pictures. I was struck by the first photo I saw – hundreds of lanterns spilling into the night sky, stars dotting the horizon. Monks in orange walking amongst candles. Light lasting silently, steadily into the night.

‘That,’ I thought, as I sat there, looking out over our over-packed camping car and sipping coffee. ‘I want to see that before I die.’

It’s been a year and a half, but I made it to Chiang Mai. Somewhat coincidentally, somewhat sporadically.

It was magical.

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