Thailand is famous for its unique and vibrant festivals, and most Thai festivities are rooted in the traditions and beliefs of the ancient Thai people from the past. The Yi Peng festival is absolutely no exception, as it started with the ancient Lanna Kingdom (1292~1775).
Every year, a spectacular scene in the sky unfolds in Chiang Mai for the Yi Peng festival, and you can be sure that this festival will leave you breathless. If you want to know what to expect at Chiang Mai’s most beautiful festival, be sure to read on!
1. What is the Yi Peng Festival?
| Where: Northern Thailand (mostly in Chiang Mai)
| When: The full moon day of the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar, so the exact date changes every year. This year, it will be celebrated on November 22~23, 2018.
Yi Peng is a sky lantern festival that mainly happens in northern Thailand, and it coincides with the nationally celebrated Loi Krathong festival. During the festival, thousands of rice paper lanterns called Khom Loi are released into the air, decorating the sky with a warming glow.
Sending the lanterns off into the sky is meant to symbolize sending away bad luck. It is particularly considered a good luck if your lantern disappears from sight before the candle goes out. Some people also make a wish as they launch their lantern.
2. How is Yi Peng different from Loi Krathong?
Many people often misunderstand that the Yi Peng festival and Loy Krathong are the same, as these events coincide with each other. In fact, the Yi Peng Festival is actually a smaller part of the Loy Krathong Celebrations.
Loy Krathong also only lasts for one night on the full moon of the 12th month of the traditional Thai calendar, while the Yi Peng festival is celebrated over 2~3 days.
In the Yi Peng Festival, lanterns locally known as Khom Fai or Khom Loy are lit and released up into the sky with the hopes of all misfortunes to disappear with the lantern. It is believed that if the lantern disappears from sight, you’re definitely healed from the misfortune and will be free of any bad luck the next year!
Similarly, during the Loy Krathong celebrations, a krathong, which is a “boat” or “basket” made of banana tree trunk and wrapped in banana leaves are sent afloat a river or a body of water, with a similar meaning to wish away all the bad luck, grudges against others and worries so that one can start fresh. Hence the name of the celebration being Loy Krathong. In Thai, the word “Loy” means “to float” and “krathong” is a “basket”.
In ancient times, this festival was to pay respects to the Goddess of Water. The krathongs would be decorated as much as possible with fancy decorations and flowers. It will always have a candle to venerate Buddha as well. People would often put strands of hair, nail and toe nail clippings or strips of cloth from old clothes in the belief that grudges and bad luck will be washed away.
As you can see, the only difference between these two celebrations is the method of wishing away any bad luck in hopes to start a fresh life clean from sin.
Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated all throughout Thailand, but the festivities and beauty is at its best in Chiang Mai. So if you’re hanging around Chiang Mai during the time of the festival in November 22nd ~ 23rd, check out the festival tour we offer you at the Pink Nakorn Riverside Hotel!
Enjoy an unforgettable moment watching hundreds of lanterns illuminate the sky as they float up and also float your own krathong and wish all the bad luck away! After that enjoy a delicious Thai style buffet dinner!
Don’t miss your chance to take part in these wonderful festivals!
3. Can I attend the Yi Peng festival as a tourist?
One of the main reasons people want to go to the Yi Peng festival is to launch their own lantern and snap a photo of the mass release of lanterns.
However, what many people don’t really know is that the main Yi Peng event is exclusively put on for locals only around Mae Jo University. If you want to go there as a non-local, the ticket price would be around THB 5,600~12,500, which is about USD 170~380. Even if you are willing to pay that much money, it will be almost impossible to get the ticket for the Mae Jo event.
But don’t worry, as there are some private Yi Peng events that tourists can attend as well, and they are considerably cheaper (USD 90~130) than the Mae Jo event.
They are basically the same event as the Mae Jo but on a smaller scale. They are about half the size of the Mae Jo event. It is still a spectacular event and a good option for people who don’t want to pay minimum USD 170 for a ticket.
At these private Yi Peng events, you can release your own lantern into the sky. The experience simply wouldn’t be the same if you couldn’t launch the lantern by yourself. You will also get to take tons of magical photos.
Tip: The Yi Peng Festival is the most popular event in Chiang Mai, thus it’s best to plan as early as possible. Undoubtedly, tickets will sell out quickly. If you’re sure that you will attend the event, purchase your tickets here today!
4. What else happens during the Yi Peng Festival?
Of course, the launching of the lanterns might be the most important part of the festival, but there are plenty of other activities going on to complete the festivities, including traditional Thai worship rituals, lantern decoration contests, and the Miss Yi Peng pageant. There are also bazaars, parades, and fireworks.
If you buy the ticket for the Yi Peng festival, you don’t have to pay extra for dinner as it is included in your ticket price. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised to find many vendors offering different types of Thai food at the event.
The event venues for Yi Peng are normally not close to the city center as those flying lanterns can be hazardous to people and airplanes. Thus, make sure if your ticket includes round-trip transfer service to the event venue unless you’re okay with making your way to the venue on your own.
We hope this post was helpful for you to make an unforgettable Yi Peng festival trip in Chiang Mai. 😊 Last but not least, don’t forget to visit Trazy.com for more travel tips and ideas for your next trip to Thailand!