Not long after we got off the night ferry from the mainland of Thailand to the island of Koh Samui, we were lost. We landed at around 9pm in Nathon, and we had planned on a rendezvous with our Canadian friends from the Welton School. We never found them.
It was a perfectly clear night with the full moon looming overhead as we made our way to the north shore of Koh Samui. Suddenly, from across the island, we were transfixed by huge fireballs heading into the air.
They glowed like giant orange flares. I thought they might signal the beginning of the full moon party. We kept watching them ascend into the sky, and waited for them to arc. They moved much too slow to be fireworks or flares and instead kept climbing higher and higher unimpeded.
Later, where these pictures were taken on the island of Phuket1, we solved the mystery of these slow moving rockets. They are actually large paper lanterns with a wire frame and a large candle inside. Street vendors call them â€˜lucky balloonsâ€™ and sell them for about 100 Baht, which is about $3 USD. You light them and make a wish and they float into the air. Often, large parties of tourists will be enticed to buy many at once and you can watch twenty float into the air over the islands. The effect is breathtakingly beautiful. The memory of seeing them for the first time floating over Koh Samui will stay vividly in my mind. I hope you enjoy watching the image sequence.2
- It is pronounced Poo-ket, you nerd. ↩
- Please let me know if the video does not play for you by emailing me. ↩