Loy Krathong Festival is one of the most important festivals in Thailand and is celebrated all over the country. Chiang Mai is one of the best places to experience this impressive festival thanking to the beautiful coincidence that two lantern festivals (Loy Krathong and Yi Peng) falling on the same day.
During the period of the festival, in Chiang Mai, you will be treated to a superb display of thousands of floating lanterns rising into the sky as well as small rafts decorated with flowers drifting down waterways.
Continue to read to discover where you can go to celebrate Loy Krathong in the area of Chiang Mai, Thailand, as well as many more travel tips.
Where to Celebrate Loy Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai: 4 Top Places
During the festival of Loy Krathong, the whole city of Chiang Mai is immersed in the festive atmosphere. Celebrations can be seen everywhere in the city, from river banks and streets to temples.
Check out the four most popular places to celebrate Loy Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai.
1. The Banks of the Ping River
The Ping River is the most popular place for locals to celebrate Loy Krathong. If you would like to see a bit of Chiang Mai life outside the usual tourist haunts, walk along the river to participate in the vibrant festive party there. The best spots to watch the celebrations are Nawarat Bridge and the Iron Bridge.
The highlight is undoubtedly when the locals and tourists gather to float their krathong (decorative flower rafts) onthe river and release their khom loy (flying lanterns) in the sky. You can buy krathongs and sky lanterns from the vendors there at a cost of between 30 to 100 baht (1–3 USD).
2. Tha Phae Gate
Another popular place to celebrate Loy Krathong is Tha Phae Gate, which lies on the east of the city. Tha Phae Gate is like the central square of Chiang Mai's old city, where tourists and locals alike relax, enjoy taking photos and just have fun.
It is quite busy during Loy Krathong. The Loy Krathong parade starts from there, the opening ceremony of the festival takes place there, and the beauty contest is also held there. The spacious public square next to Tha Phae Gate is popular with tourists releasing sky lanterns.
3. Three Kings Monument
The Three Kings Monument is definitely the most colorful place you will see in Chiang Mai in the period of the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng festivals. It is the place where the opening ceremony of The Lighting Candle Tray and the performance of Lanna Traditional Dance take place.
You will see thousands of candle trays and colorful hanging lanterns and flag decorations in front of the monument.
4. Temples: Wat Phan Tao and Wat Lok Moli
If you don't like battling with the crowds, a temple might be a better place to experience a respectful festive atmosphere, such as Wat Phan Tao, Wat Lok Moli.
At Wat Pan Tao, you will see monks giving a blessing and releasing lanterns in front of a Buddha statue. The temple will be decorated with lights, lanterns, and candles.
Wat Lok Moli is a quieter temple with big grounds, which offers a great place for locals and tourists to release sky lanterns.
Where to Participate in a Mass Lantern Release in Chiang Mai
The above-mentioned places are free to enter and release lanterns. If you would like to see the magnificent view of thousands of people releasing lanterns at the same time, you can go to organized lantern release events, which cost US$150–300 and require booking in advance.
The most famous mass lantern release events in Chiang Mai are Yee Peng Lanna International (Mae Jo University) and Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival. The event program usually includes a meal, transfers, and lanterns.
Here are the top 5 places that offer Yi Peng mass lantern releases in Chiang Mai:
1. Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lantern Festival: East 20km from Chiang Mai downtown, this is the largest release likely to make the best photos. You can already buy tickets for the 2021 celebration!
2. Yi Peng International (Mae Jo University): This is the original “mass” lantern release and has been running since 2013.
3. Yee Peng Doi Saket: Good prices and offers a nice location outside of the city. Lanterns are made by locals as a way to bring money and work to villagers.
4. Northern Study Center: Second biggest release after the CAD Chiang Mai release.
5. Wat Doi Ti & Kruba Srivijaya Monument: Takes place at a temple and is hosted by a local Buddhist organization.
Events Schedule for Loy Krathong Festival and Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai
Every year the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) usually announces the schedule of activities for the celebration of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng in Chiang Mai one month before the festival. Here were the main activities of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Festival 2019 in Chiang Mai, for reference. (2021 dates, events, etc. TBC)
|Day 1||Three Kings Monument||The opening ceremony of The Lighting Candle Tray; traditional Lanna dance performances|
|Day 2||Tha Pae Gate||The opening ceremony of Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival; Lantern Procession Contest; Mister and Miss Yee Peng Contest; lantern displays|
|Day 3||Chiang Mai Municipality Office||Worshipping rituals at shrines of household spirits; The Krathong Making Contest|
|Day 4||Tha Pae Gate||Grand Krathong Parade contest|
During the festival period, there are many other activities you can experience in Chiang Mai such as beautiful candle ceremonies in temples, firework displays on the Ping River, and cultural performances.
We will continue to pay attention to this year's Loy Krathong Festival, and if there is any news, we will update this page. Please contact us if you need any other information.
Tips for Attending Loy Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai
1. Check the dates. Because the dates of the festivals are based on the Thai lunar calendar, the exact dates of the lantern festival in Chiang Mai change every year. Check the exact dates before planning your trip (though the forecast dates tend to be fairly accurate).
2. Book your flight early. During the period of the Loy Krathong Festival, air tickets to Chiang Mai are scarce and expensive. So, if you want to go during the holiday season, it is best to book your itinerary in advance.
3. Book your hotel early. The Loy Krathong festival is the busiest time in Chiang Mai. Thousands of tourists flock to the city and hotel rooms are often in short supply. Book yours as early as possible. The best place to stay for the festival is the old town area, where there are many hotels within walking distance of the many activities.
4. Release lanterns at a specified place within the specified times. People are allowed to release krathongs and lanterns only from 7 pm to 1 am at certain places during the Loy Krathong Festival. If released at other times, it is illegal.
5. Pay attention to your dress. Loi Krathong and Yee Peng are both Buddhist festivals. It is important to wear clothes that cover the shoulders and knees when you attend celebration activities and release lanterns.
Experience Chiang Mai Loy Krathong Festival with Asia Highlights
If you plan to go to Chiang Mai only once in your life, go in November! With the Loi Krathong Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai has become a well-deserved focus of Thailand travel in November each year. Take a look at some of our most popular lantern festival tours and start dreaming about your trip to amazing Thailand.
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