Yi Peng: Sky Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai Thailand 2024 / 2025

In the tenderness of night, beside the waving river and teeming bridge, bright lanterns leave the crowds and fly up to the sky. Thousands of lanterns light up the canopy of the dark night, whose glitters can rival any bright stars. Such a scene appears at the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Do you want to spend a beautiful night with others releasing lanterns and praying for happiness, at the same time enjoying a traditional performance? Then you can't miss the Yi Peng Lantern Festival!

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is where people release sky lanterns and pray for happiness. It is mainly celebrated in the northern part of Thailand, and the best place to fully enjoy the fun is Chiang Mai. The sky lantern, which is called Khom Fai by the locals, is usually made of a bamboo frame with a thin layer of rice paper glued to the outside. Inside the lantern, there is a smallholder with a candle on it. After you light the candle, the lantern will slowly rise to the sky and become a bright spot in the air. The festival has also become a favorite among young lovers. Couples like to light sky lanterns together and pray for long-lasting happiness under an ocean of romantic lanterns.

Yi Peng Lantern FestivalYi Peng Lantern Festival

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival will be on November 15-16, 2024, right behind the Water Lantern Festival on November 16. This Sky Lantern Festival in 2025 will be on November 05-06, 2025.

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival falls on the day of the full moon in the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar and lasts for 2-3 days, which means the exact date changes each year. It is the time when the rainy season in Thailand ends and the cool season comes, which is suitable for lantern release.

Perhaps you have heard of both the Yi Peng Lantern Festival and the Water Lantern Festival(Loy Krathong). These two festivals are very similar in that they both feature lantern releases and prayers. The biggest difference is in the way of releasing lanterns. During the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, lanterns are lit and released into the air, while at the Water Lantern Festival, lanterns, which are made of banana leaves and decorated with flowers, are released into the water. The two are actually separate festivals that overlap in time, which means that you can enjoy the Water Festival first and then take part in the upcoming Yi Peng Festival. So, if you choose to celebrate the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, you can enjoy both the water lantern and the sky lantern at the same time. Find a spot near the river, release a lantern into the sky, and then place a lotus lantern in the water, making for an unforgettable night and a romantic experience.

It is believed that the festival dates back to the Lanna Kingdom about 800 years ago. From then on, people started to worship Buddha for peace and wisdom and light lanterns to release them into the night sky.

The Three Kings Monument

Before the lantern is released, there will be an opening ceremony at the Three Kings Monument. From anywhere in the old city, you can easily get there by tuk-tuk, a special taxi in Chiang Mai. All kinds of beautiful, exquisite lanterns are decorated on the trees, in the streets, and by the temples - of course, these are not lanterns for flying. People visit the temple to worship and then hang lanterns on the ceiling. The warm lanterns and teeming crowds make it cozy everywhere. Besides, you can also see traditional musical performances, when people dress in their traditional clothes, play drums, and bring passionate dance. There are also beauty pageants and traditional Thai worship rituals in the opening ceremony.

Traditional Musical PerformanceTraditional Musical Performance

Nawarat Bridge

The Nawarat Bridge offers a perfect view of the lanterns, and there is no admission fee to enjoy them. You can easily find sky lanterns sold on the bridge at a price of $2-$3 each. When the release begins, you can see countless golden lanterns, like twinkling stars in the sky, converging into a river and slowly moving toward the horizon. It is said that if the lanterns disappear from your sight before the candles go out, you will be spared any misfortune in the next year. In the distance, there are also gorgeous fireworks, one after another in full bloom. Every place has a comfortable atmosphere. People take out their cameras to record the moment's awe and pray in their hearts.

Also, if you are lighting the lanterns for the first time, friendly locals will gladly help you lift them and teach you how to release them successfully. Actually, it's essential to seek help from them. If you don't get it right, the lantern may fail to fly or flip in the air.

Wat Buppharam

Wat Buppharam is close to the Nawarat Bridge. It is an ancient temple brilliantly painted gold and decorated with colorful lanterns. It feels sacred to release lanterns beside the golden temple. Many monks are coming and going to the temples, and if you don't know how to fly the lanterns, you can ask them for help. Also, you can pray in the ancient temple for good luck in the coming year. Lantern releases plus religious rituals may bring you double luck.

Yi Peng Lantern FestivalYi Peng Lantern Festival

Mae Jo University

Mae Jo University, about half an hour away from downtown, is also a very famous location to experience a large-scale lantern release. Unlike the previous free viewing locations, Mae Jo University holds a private lantern release and requires an admission fee of at least $100. It's quite expensive, but it still attracts a lot of visitors. And you don't need to worry about food because food is available around Mae Jo University.

The celebration at the Mae Jo University usually begins with a main chant and procession of monks, which is followed by a religious Lanna ceremony to make merit and pay respect to Buddha. People sit by the burning candles and listen to the monks murmuring in a solemn atmosphere. At last, the biggest attraction comes: everyone lights lanterns and releases them at a specific time, and there are thousands of bright lights flying up at the same time in front of your eyes. It is truly a spectacular scene, and each year, the lantern release at Mae Jo University has left many amazing photos.

Tha Phae Gate

On the last day of the Sky Lantern Festival, a grand float parade will be held. The float parade drives from the Tha Phae Gate to the Nawarat Bridge, celebrating the end of the festival with enthusiastic audiences. The floats drive slowly, one by one. Each is decorated with gorgeous lanterns, blooming flowers, and colorful statues. Pretty girls sit on the floats, smiling and greeting people. Following the floats are the performance teams, such as drummers wearing colorful feather saltires, guards throwing batons, etc. You can experience a strong Thai culture at the site.

Mae Wong

About an hour's drive from the city center, this is a place where you can enjoy both the Water Lantern Festival and the Yi Peng Festival at the same time. You can begin with a Thai-style buffet dinner at a special venue and then fly your lantern, or sit back and enjoy authentic Thai food and drinks while watching the lanterns appear like stars overhead, or head to the ceremony area and watch the amazing drumming of the locals against a backdrop of lanterns.

Watch for Fire

When you look up at the burning lanterns, don't just lose yourself in their beauty. Beware of any tipping lantern or the melting candle liquid. Also, fly your lanterns in open areas and stay away from dry items.

Watch for Fire While You Enjoy Yi Peng Watch for Fire While You Enjoy Yi Peng

Write Down a Wish on the Lantern

Remember to write down your wish or message on the lantern and set it free. This is the key step to helping your wishes come true!

Watch for Overcrowding

There must be a lot of people when the lantern starts to be released at night, so we recommend that you watch for overcrowding and keep your safety. Also, keep your valuables safe. Pay attention to carrying your own bag well, and don't lose your passport or money.

Follow the Timing

Visitors should follow the timing of lantern release and not release any lanterns after the festival, as large numbers of lanterns in the sky can pose a safety threat to aircraft. Flights to and from Chiang Mai will be stopped during the festival.

Pick up Several Abandoned Lanterns

Although the ocean of lanterns is so beautiful, there is no denying that they do have a negative impact on the environment. On the second day after the Yi Peng festival, you will see lanterns on rooftops, yards, forests, rice fields, and almost anywhere else. The government will arrange for cleaners to pick up these lanterns, but it will take a long time. Therefore, when you go out after the Yi Peng Lantern Festival and see lanterns on the ground, please pick up a few and throw them into the trash.

Thousands of people flying Yi Peng lanterns - it's one of the seven wonderful views to see Thailand. The little golden lantern carries your wishes, slowly rises, and floats away into the distance, bringing your expectations to somewhere high up in the sky. As you see thousands of sky lanterns, there are also thousands of glittering expectations. The lanterns may be one of the most romantic, touching memories of your life. So if you are interested in the festival, don't miss it!

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