Yesterday was Loi Krathong, a holiday here which takes place on the full moon of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in our November. It is the festival of lanterns that you have likely seen a photo of if you've ever flipped through a guidebook of Thailand. Thousands of lanterns are released, creating the most beautiful scene. Loi means "to float" and Krathong is a lotus-shaped vessel made out of biodegradable materials. It usually contains candles, incense sticks, flowers, and coins. Under the light of the full moon, everyone releases a lantern to give thanks and also ask for forgiveness from the Goddess of water: Phra Mae Khongkha. This is a very joyous holiday because everyone sends their suffering away with their float .

Mae Haad last night was a spectacle. The entire island's population was gathered at the pier to celebrate. We left our bikes in Sairee and walked over and were grateful we did, because every street within a mile was lined, bumper to bumper with everyone's parked bikes, hundreds of them.

A stage was set up with traditional Thai music and dancers. The music could be heard across most of the island. Everyone we knew was out for the festivities. The parking lot near the pier was crowded with spectators watching the performers on stage. The beach was swarming with everyone lighting their lanterns. Little floats made out of bread and flowers were sent away into the ocean. Floating lanterns were released into the night sky.

You can look up nicer pictures on google. I only had my iPhone on me.

This was my krathong. There were ladies all over Mae Haad making them right there and then selling them. One lady waved me over and handed me this one. It was the prettiest one I saw so I gladly paid her the 50 baht for it. She also gave me a flower to put in my hair. So we all bought little floats such as this one, wrote our names on the little flags, lit the candles and the incense, stuck a baht and a hair in the middle and sent them out to sea, giving thanks for everything water gives us.

After we had had our fill of watching lanterns float out to sea and up into the night sky, we decided to go for a night snorkel to see the bioluminescence. We hopped on our scooters and drove to Aow Leuk in the dead of the night. When we arrived it was to find a completely deserted beach, glowing under the light of the full moon. Several large bats flew across the sky completing the setting for an otherworldly experience. No one had any torches, the moonlight was enough to light our way. The water was fantastically warm and as we began to swim out into the bay the water began to glow blue around us. Bioluminescence is one of the most amazing phenomena that nature has to offer. When the microorganisms in the water are agitated, they become phosphorescent, and glow like neon blue stars. 

We snorkeled through the sea of glowing blue lights long enough to put smiles on all of our faces, waving our hands around like mimes, and diving down under the surface to turn around and stare back up at the moonlight. This beautiful country never ceases to leave me in awe.