Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, offering loads of things to do and see. The country is renowned for its rich culture, historical monuments, and colorful events. Buddhism is the main practice in Thai culture.
If you are planning to visit Thailand in October, Yi Peng Lantern Festival is an event you shouldn’t miss! It's one of the most awe-inspiring cultural and religious festivals attracting thousands of visitors every year.
Here’s my guide that'll help you enjoy the celebrations to the fullest, from viewing spectacular sights of colorful lanterns to engaging with local traditions.
What Is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival?
Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a spectacular religious event native to the Lanna culture in Northern Thailand. It falls on the full moon day of the 12th month of the Thai lunar year, marking the end of the monsoon season and the start of the cool season.
So, the date of the festival changes every year. This year, it'll be held from November 27th to 28th, 2023.
The ancient celebration includes lighting up different types of lanterns and candles. The highlight of the festival is the lighting of sky lanterns. Thousands of sky lanterns adorn the sky during the event, and locals believe the practice carries away bad luck.
Where is Yi Peng Lantern Festival Celebrated?
Yi Peng is unique to Northern Thailand and is celebrated throughout the region. However, Chiang Mai is the best place to experience the festival. Every home, shop, temple, and street will be lit with candles and lanterns.
You can view lamp shows in the Three Kings Monument, Tha Phae Gate, and Nawarat Bridge on Ping River. The celebrations go on for 3 days, but the main event is on the evening of the full moon day. It's popular among locals and tourists alike.
Why is Yi Peng Lantern Festival Celebrated?
As I mentioned above, the Yi Peng is a festival that marks the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the cold season.
The religious event marks the locals' devotion to Buddha. The festival is conducted to ward off bad luck and seek blessings in the coming year. The sky lanterns are released, wishing the prayers to reach the highest of heavens.
Do Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Refer to the Same Festival?
No. Although both festivals involve similar traditions and are celebrated on the same day, these 2 festivals have different origins.
Traditionally, Yi Peng was celebrated separately to mark the end of a season. At present, it's celebrated simultaneously with Loy Krathong, a festival devoted to water spirits.
During the Loy Krathong Festival, locals thank the Water Goddess for providing water and seek forgiveness for polluting water.
Yi Peng is more about sky lanterns, known as khom loy in Thai, and the latter is about floating lanterns and other offerings on water. Also, Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout the country.
As long as you plan your trip during the right timeframe, you get to enjoy both these celebrations together on the same day!
Do I Need Tickets to Attend the Festival?
You don’t need to buy tickets to attend the celebrations and can enjoy the magnificent views free of charge.
However, there are guided tours and mass lantern release events you can partake in for a more personalized and hands-on experience.
The Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Khomloy Sky Lantern Festival 2023 costs ~122 USD to ~169 USD, which is about ฿4,600 – ฿6,400. It includes performances, local food varieties, activities, and releasing a sky lantern by yourself. If you are interested, book tickets here.
The other popular venue is Mae Jo University.
Where Can I Buy Sky Lanterns?
If you want to send a sky or floating lantern, you can purchase it from one of the local vendors. They are readily available. A large sky lantern costs around ~2.64 USD, or ฿100. Once you have lighted it successfully, make a wish and let it go up into the sky!
Take part in the Loy Krathong festival as well by purchasing a "Krathong", or flower offering, to float in the river.
What to Know Before Attending the Yi Peng Lantern Festival
If you want to send a sky or floating lantern, you can purchase it from one of the local vendors. They are readily available. A large sky lantern costs around ~2.64 USD or ฿100.
The sight of thousands of sky lanterns in the sky is magnificent. But, there are also concerns regarding its impact on the environment. For this reason, there could be some limitations on the amount, time, and place in which the lanterns are released.
There has also been an increase in lanterns made using biodegradable materials. Foreign visitors are encouraged to buy them and be aware of the local laws on how to release them into the air.
What Are Some Other Things to Do During the Yi Peng Lantern Festival?
Releasing lanterns isn’t the only special activity during the festival time.
You can take a walk in the streets and see how locals have decorated their homes and shops using different hanging lanterns. There are also lantern decoration contests held at this time.
In addition, you can see local dancers in traditional costumes performing in the street parades. There are many stage performances that you can watch too.
Visit temples and observe different processions taking place in them. Some temples even release sky lanterns with firecrackers attached to them.
There will be many stalls set up by local vendors in the streets. Purchase local handcrafts, souvenirs, and clothing while enjoying Thai street food on the go. The atmosphere is very lively and warm at night.
After the festival, you can tour other areas in Thailand, including its capital, Bangkok. Read this article on tips on staying safe while exploring this populous city. You can also join the Thailand Full Moon Party!
Need a place to stay in Bangkok? Discover these affordable hostels in Bangkok.
Celebrate Yi Peng With Pilot
Are you ready to take part in the Yi Peng Lantern Festival? Then, it’s time to get to planning. You'll have loads of destinations, activities, and sights to cover in Thailand. Don’t worry. We have got just the right trip planner to make planning easier for you!