Sakon Nakhon in November is when the rice fields transform from a lush green to harvest green, and the cool season officially begins, with temperatures toward the end of the month sometimes falling to around 60 degrees (15C) at night. The Sakon Nakhon weather takes on a decidedly autumn feel (for Thailand), with a lovely fall scent sometimes lingering in the air (although we don’t get color changing leaves like countries in cold climates). This autumn feel is something you won’t experience in more central Thai provinces such as Bangkok or the islands.
All the rice fields will be harvested by the end of the month, with most farmers now using a rice harvest machine. In years past, machine harvesting was rather expensive, with small farmers continuing to harvest rice by hand. But the price for renting a harvest machine has now fallen to 800 baht per rai, so most people in Sakon Nakhon now let the machine do the hard work.
The rice needs to be dried before it is bagged, so you’ll see rice cast out upon blue tarps throughout the Sakon Nakhon countryside, including on temple grounds. With the rice now harvested, you’ll also see picturesque scenes of cows and water buffalo grazing in the rice fields.
The Sakon Nakhon harvest moon is beautiful at this time of year, which relates in part to the famous Thai festival Loy Krathong which is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar (which is usually November). During this festival, Thais float candle-lit wreaths onto ponds, lakes, and rivers, asking for forgiveness for their transgressions the past year, and ask for good fortune in the coming year.