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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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user feature, Global Instagrammers, Moldova, United States, Thailand, Latvia,

Global Instagrammers: From Moldova to New York, Thailand and Latvia

Through Instagram, it’s possible to visit every corner of the world. In our Global Instagrammers series, we travel the world by asking people to share their favorite Instagrammers from another country.

@spatari: Chișinău, Moldova

Alex Spatari (@spatari) is a 26-year-old television producer living in Chișinău, Moldova, who joined Instagram shortly after it launched in 2010.

"I’ve met a lot of amazing folks from different countries," says Alex. "I love Instagram accounts that have some theme or idea. I truly admire people who can find a subject and build the whole story around it."

When asked to pick his favorite Instagrammer outside of Moldova, Alex chose @visualmemories_. “Great atmosphere, simplicity, faded colours make you feel nostalgic about New York even if you’ve never been there.”

@visualmemories_: New York, United States

"Photography has always been a hobby of mine," says Jomayra (@visualmemories_), who is 28 and works in real estate. “But thanks to Instagram I definitely developed a deeper love for it while allowing me to open up and be confident.”

Jomayra chose Thai Instagrammer @rockkhound. “I’ve been following him for the longest time. He has a creative eye for new perspectives.”

@rockkhound: Bangkok, Thailand

As a 25-year-old flight attendant based in Bangkok, Thailand, Tom (@rockkhound) has a chance to travel and explore new places for work. “I’ve had a chance to meet so many people I found through Instagram that I now call friends.”

Tom chose Latvia Instagrammer @contour7. “He is a minimalist. His work is cool, clean and always fresh.”

Want to find more great people to follow? Check out these posts from The New York Times Magazine's “The 6th Floor” blog: Instagram Envy Chain: Sochi Edition and Down the Instagram Rabbit Hole.

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current events, chiang mai flower festival, thailand,

Exploring the 2014 Chiang Mai Flower Festival

To see more photos and videos of this year’s flower festival, explore the สวนสาธารณะหนองบวกหาด (Nong Buak Hard Public Park), ประตูท่าแพ (Tha Phae Gate) and สะพานนวรัฐ (Nawarat Bridge) location pages and browse the #flowerfestival and #chiangmaiflowerfestival hashtags.

The 2014 Chiang Mai Flower Festival started yesterday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Often referred to as the “Rose of the North” by Thai locals, the city of Chiang Mai is home to a wide range of rare and exotic flowers. The flower festival is held annually on the first weekend of February, which is the best season to see these flowers in full bloom.

During the flower festival, Buak Hard Park, located on the southeast corner of Chiang Mai’s moat, turns into a theme park full of flowers. Magnificent floral displays are arranged throughout its garden and numerous pop-up shops line up to sell local flowers and plants. The highlight of the event is the Flower Festival Parade held on Saturday. Traditional Thai dancers and elaborately decorated floral floats work their way from Nawarat Bridge to Buak Hard Park, handing out flowers to spectators. The floats also carry contestants of the Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival beauty pageant, another much anticipated event of the three-day festival.

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current events, Loi Krathong, Yi Peng, khom loi, thailand,

Celebrating Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง) and Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง) 2013

For more photos and videos from the 2013 Loi Krathong and Yi Peng celebrations, browse the #ลอยกระทง (Loi Krathong), #ยี่เป็ง (Yi Peng) and #โคมลอย (khom loi) hashtags.

On the evening of the full moon on the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, people from Thailand and parts of Laos and Burma come together to celebrate the Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง) festival. Taking place during a time when rivers traditionally flood, the festival is celebrated with the construction of small, elaborately decorated floats, called krathongs, that people set loose in rivers to float away with the current. For some, the festival marks a moment to honor Buddha and a chance to let go of negative thoughts as you set your krathong afloat. For others, the krathong stands as an offering of thanks to the goddess of water, Phra Mae Khongkha (พระแม่คงคา).

The Loi Krathong celebration coincides with the Lanna holiday of Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง) that occurs in northern Thailand. For this night, which is a time for Buddhist meditation or “merit-making,” celebrants launch thousands of paper lanterns, or khom loi (โคมลอย), into the air. The latnerns, often set off in great numbers simultaneously, create giant glowing clusters that drift through the night sky.

The city of Chiang Mai is known for its elaborate celebration of both holidays, resulting in one of Thailand’s most iconic sights: a city aglow with lanterns floating through both the water and sky.

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Bangkok’s Wat Pho: Temple of the Reclining Buddha

To see more photos of Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha, visit the วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลารามฯ (Wat Pho) location page!

In Bangkok, Thailand, directly adjacent to the Grand Palace, sits Wat Pho (วัดโพธิ์), known popularly as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

The Reclining Buddha—measuring 160ft (43m) long and 49ft (15m) high—is the largest of the temple’s more than 1,000 Buddha images.

Prior to Wat Pho’s founding in 1788, the site was home to a center of education for medicine. To this day, the temple houses a Thai massage school and displays dozens of plaques inscribed with therapeutic diagrams and instructions.

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thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, current events,

Thailand Celebrates King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 85th Birthday

To see more of the festivites in Thailand, visit photos posted from the Royal Plaza (ลานพระบรมรูปทรงม้า) in Bangkok.

Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s king and the world’s longest-serving head of state, turns 85 years old today. King Bhumibol, also known as Rama IX, has ruled Thailand for more than 66 years, and is a popular figure throughout the country.

Many Thais, clad in yellow—a color symbolizing devotion to the monarch—have camped for days at the Royal Plaza in anticipation of the day’s festivities, which include fireworks, thousands of vividly colored marigolds, and a performance by Korean pop singer Psy.

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loi krathong, yi peng, thailand, photo feature, current events,

Thailand Celebrates Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง) and Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง)

Want to see more photos of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng? Visit the ธุดงคสถานล้านนา, สะพานนวรัฐ (Nawarat Bridge) and Chiang Mai location pages.

Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง), one of Thailand’s most beautiful annual festivals, is in full swing. Thai celebrants, as well as some Laotians and Burmese, pay homage to the goddess of waters in November each year to coincide with the full moon of the twelfth lunar.

The name Loi Krathong means floating cup of leaf, and describes one of the festival’s biggest events. Participants release small rafts, or ‘krathong’, decorated with flowers and topped by a flickering candle into the waterways of Thailand as a way to seek forgiveness for past sins.

Perhaps the most photogenic part of Loi Krathong is the Lanna (northern Thai) festival Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง) that coincides with it. Thousands of floating lanterns, or khom loi (โคมลอย), are launched into the air in unison, lighting up the sky. The khom loi are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, and have a candle in the center which, when lit, creates enough hot air inside the lantern to lift the khom loi into the sky. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations take place in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom.

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current events, thailand, wax castle festival, sakon nakhon,

Wax Castle Festival of Sakon Nakhon

Spotlight Explore more photos from the festival by browsing the hashtags #waxcastle and #SakonNakhon.

October marks the end of Wan Awk Pansa (วันออกพรรษา), the Thai and Laos observance of vassa (commonly referred to as the “Buddhist Lent.”)

Few people celebrate the end of vassa in a more spectacular fashion than those of Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. Each year, the event is marked by street celebrations, long illuminated boats, and unbelievably ornate castles sculpted from beeswax.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visits Thailand

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand, current events, photo feature,

Want to see more photos of Suu Kyi’s visit? Check out pictures tagged with #assk and #suukyi

Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi left Myanmar for the first time in 24 years yesterday when she took a surprise visit to Thailand. Local Instagrammers captured some stunning images of “Mother Suu” addressing a crowd of Burmese migrant workers in the gritty town of Mahachai earlier today. More than two million Burmese workers are estimated to live in Thailand.

In 1990, Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide election but was denied power by the military junta that had ruled the country since 1962. She was then put under house arrest, and was only released 20 years later in November 2010. She ran for office again in 2012, and she now serves in a Parliament that remains controlled by the military-backed ruling party.