This 2018, Chiang Mai (Thailand) will be celebrating Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals from 20-23 November, 2018.

The Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals are probably the most charming festivals celebrated in the Kingdom of Thailand.

This is the time you will see twinkling lights wandering downriver, hanging from trees, buildings, and temples, and soaring high in the night sky.

Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand on the full moon day of the 12th month of traditional Thai calendar.

While in Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong coincides with the Lanna (Northern Thai) festival of Yee Peng which falls on the full moon day of the 2nd month of traditional Lanna calendar. Yee Peng is mostly about lanterns hence the name The Lantern Festival, also known as The Festival of Lights.

In the western calendar of 2018, Chiang Mai will be celebrating Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals from 20 to 23 November 2018.

During Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals, you’ll see locals’ homes and public places decked out in colourful hanging lanterns and flag decorations.

Expectantly the city of Chiang Mai will be receiving hundreds of thousands of local and foreign tourists coming for this much anticipated annual festivals. The city will be absurdly packed and hotel rooms get snapped quickly by tourists.

It would be wise to plan your vacation trip ahead and book the necessary experience you want to have in advance. This is because the air ticket will be most expensive during the festival season, and without advance reservation, a train ticket to Chiang Mai might be difficult to get.

This article will tell you when and where you could go for the most lights, fun and joyful festivals celebration in the area of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

In Chiang Mai, Yee Peng is mostly about the lanterns hence the name Lantern Festivals, also known as The Festival of Lights.

The best place to celebrate Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals is around the city of Chiang Mai itself, and it is absolutely FREE.

Every year the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will announce an official schedule of activities for the celebration of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng in Chiang Mai, usually 1 month before the actual date.

Read The 2018 Official Events Schedule For Chiang Mai Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Festivals.

The entire festival of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng take place over three days, though there will be events scattered over five or six days.

The programmes include traditional dance show, the official “Yee Peng Parade” around the Old City, live music, pageant contest, fireworks display, respective ritual ceremonies etc.

A “Krathong” is a lotus-shaped raft that floats on water. It’s made of the banana trunk and decorated with leaves, flowers incense and candle before being released down the river.

Posted by Chiang Mai Traveller on Thursday, 2 November 2017

How Krathong is Made

Lots of Banana Trunks & Leaves

“Loy” means to float and a “Krathong” is a small handmade boat traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk.

The act of releasing the lanterns symbolizes letting go of all ills and misfortunes in the previous year.

The most happening place in Chiang Mai is around the river bank of Ping River. The area of Nawarat Bridge and the Iron Bridge are the best spots to watch the celebrations.

This is where the locals and tourists gather to release Krathong down the river and lanterns into the sky. If you like the crowd and party atmosphere this is the place to come.

You can purchase Krathong and lanterns from the vendors here, each cost between 30 to 100 Bahts depending on their sizes and designs.

Beautiful scene at the Ping River where the crowd gathered to release Krathong and lanterns. The sky is full of small dots from the floating sky lanterns.

As part of the festivals, there are plenty of other activities happening all over Chiang Mai. In the heart of the old city is where most of the activities take place. At Three Kings Monument, hundreds of dancers of all ages will be performing Lanna Traditional Dance at the opening ceremony of the festival.

If you don’t like the crowd a temple might be a better place for the spiritual factor and probably a little more organized. The surrounding gardens of Wat Phan Tao and the neighbouring Wat Chedi Luang will be decorated with hundreds of lanterns and lights for their outdoor ceremonies.

Tourists can also release lanterns at temples with big garden ground such as Wat Lok Moli and Wat Suan Dok.

The festival’s opening ceremony and traditional Lanna dance at Three Kings Monument.

The whole temple of Wat Phan Tao is lights, lanterns, and candles for the outdoor ceremonies.

Monks released lanterns in front of a Buddha statue at Wat Pan Tao.

Tourists can release lanterns at Wat Lok Moli. This temple with a nicely decorated big garden is located on the north side of the old city.

Another popular place to release lantern is Tha Phae Gate, which is at the eastern side of the old city.

Tha Phae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai and the spacious public square is the site of many cultural activities and festivals celebration.

The area around the gate will be decorated and probably with a stage set up as this is where the Yee Peng Parade begins. This is definitely one of the best spots to feel the great vibes for the festivals and celebrations.

At Tha Phae Gate, the spacious public square opposite Starbucks and McDonald’s is popular with tourists releasing sky lanterns.

Feel The Magic of Yee Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Feel the magic of Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand this November 21-23🎇✨🎊. . ⭕Don't have ticket for the lantern events? No problem. There're many free events in the city😊. ⏬Read More⏬: ✅ . ⭕Here's the official events schedule for 2018 Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) ⏬Read More⏬: ✅

Posted by Chiang Mai Traveller on Friday, 2 November 2018

The lantern is made of thin rice paper stretched over a bamboo or wireframe which when ignited, traps the hot air from fuel cells and creates enough lift for the lantern to float up in the sky.

Please note that for air safety precautions, the date and time people allowed to release lanterns are regulated, typically from 7:00 p.m to 1:00 a.m, for two days.

The aviation authority will also advise airlines to avoid landing and taking off from Chiang Mai International Airport during this time, which in 2017 affected over 90 flights.

Wandering around the city at night you will see people releasing sky lanterns from wide open space, everywhere in the city.

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The celebrations of Yee Peng Lantern Festivals outside the city of Chiang Mai is equally blissful as the events of Mass Sky Lantern Release take place, but they are NOT FREE.

The highlight of Yee Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai is, of course, the event of Mass Sky Lantern Release where thousands of lanterns are released simultaneously into the night sky.

Yup, that’s the moment captured in the emotional videos and Instagram photos that make people all around the world putting Chiang Mai in their bucket list for travel destinations and experience.

Thousands of sky lanterns were released simultaneously into the sky. A truly magical moment that makes you feel as you are lost in a wonderful land.

There are at least 5 different Mass Sky Lantern Release events of different sizes happening around the area of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Please note that these are ticketed private events with no historical significance and they are not part of the official events announced by The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The 4~5 hours’ programmes normally include cultural and religious activities as well as Buddhist ceremonies like the group prayers, meditation and monk procession. And then at the command of the organizer, everyone let go of their lanterns at the same time.

Ticket prices for these events could costs buyer anywhere from $90 (standard) to $350 (VIP). And due to their popularity, some of these events are held on both 22 and 23 November albeit with the same theme and activities.

The Magical Night

Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Here are the 5 different venues around Chiang Mai where you can join the Mass Sky Lantern Release activities.

1. Yee Peng Lanna International (Maejo, at Sansai District)

This is the oldest and the most popular of all Mass Sky Lantern Release events happening in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It takes place at the temple ground of Lanna Dhutanka, behind Maejo University, at Sansai District.

Due to its extreme popularity, tickets to this event must be purchased in advance and it always sold-out very quickly. And even without a ticket, the locals and tourists still love to gather at the compound outside the event area, playing with lanterns and waiting to witness that amazing moment of thousands of lanterns floating in the sky.

Date: 22 November 2018
Location: Lanna Dhutanka, behind Maejo University, Sansai District.
Capacity: 4,000 people
Ticket Price: $170 ~ $370

The moment is breathtaking. The whole sky is full of light with thousands of sky lanterns floating. A truly magical moment.

2. Yee Peng Doi Saket (at Doi Saket Hotspring)

Doi Saket District is a rural farming area located about 30km east of Chiang Mai city. Yee Peng Doi Saket is held annually since 2006.

Date: 22 November 2018
Location: Doi Saket Hot Spring
Capacity: 2,400 people
Ticket Price: $90 ~ $150

Yee Peng Festivals

at Doi Saket, Chiang Mai.

3. Northern Study Centre (at Maerim District)

Chiang Mai Sky Lantern Festivals will be held for 2 nights at Northern Study Centre,15km north of Chiang Mai city.

Date: 22 and 23 November 2018
Location: Maerim
Capacity: 4,000 people
Ticket Price: $120 ~ $180

Yee Peng Festivals will be held for 2 days at Northern Study Centre in Maerim District albeit with the same theme and activities.

Chiang Mai Sky Lanterns Festivals

at Northern Study Centre, Chiang Mai.

4. Cowboy Army Riding Club (at Maerim District)

This event will be held for 2 consecutive nights at Cowboy Army Riding Club,10km north of Chiang Mai city.

Date: 22 and 23 November 2018
Location: Maerim
Capacity: 4,000 people
Ticket Price: $90 ~ $120

5. Wat Doi Ti (at Lamphun)

Wat Doi Ti is located at the neighbouring province of Lamphun, which is a 30 minutes driving distance from Chiang Mai. Great choice if you want to explore the countryside beyond Chiang Mai.

Wat Doi Ti & Kruba Srivijaya Monument
Date: 22 November 2018
Location: Lamphun
Capacity: 750 people
Ticket Price: $90 ~ $120

This event is held at the neighbouring province of Lamphun, 30 minutes drive distance from Chiang Mai city.

The programme covers not only mass lantern release but also other religious and cultural activities.

Tickets for these events can be purchased from the local tour agencies at Chiang Mai city.

Typically the ticket price should include transportation to the event venue, dinner, lanterns and probably some souvenirs.

If you have to go there by yourself make sure you organize your transportation go and BACK to Chiang Mai city. This is because when everybody is leaving at the same time, the congested traffic renders it almost impossible to get public transport.

Swap contact with your driver and prearrange a pickup time as it can be a nightmare when leaving.

The easiest way is to arrange a chartered Songthaew. This shared taxi could hold up to 10 people. First time in Thailand? Read here about Riding A Songthaew Like A Local Thai People.

Coming back to Chiang Mai city at 10 p.m you still can join the celebration especially the party at Nawarat Bridge and The Iron Bridge.

The festivals’ joy and happiness bring old friends back together and the new friends closer.

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