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Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Release 2024: CAD or Mae Jo

By CindyUpdated Jun. 6, 2024

The Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, known as the Sky Lantern Festival, has long been a dream for many travelers. It's a magical experience to witness thousands of flying lanterns suspended in the sky.

In 2024, Yi Peng will be celebrated on November 15th-16th. 

As of March 2024, we're aware of six venues hosting lantern release events, with an expected attendance of over 40,000 people for the celebration. But which one should you choose?

Let's explore the features and advantages of these locations together to help you make a wise choice and ensure your Lantern Festival journey is even more memorable.

Yi peng sky lantern festival at mae jo

Top Yi Peng Mass Lantern Release Venues in 2024

This year, there will be six venues hosting the Yi Peng mass lantern release in Chiang Mai. The locations for these events are all in the outskirts of Chiang Mai, ranging from 10 to 30 kilometers away from the city center.

Ticket prices range from $100 to $350 per ticket, depending on the seating location and the level of services provided, such as dining options and the vehicle used for transfer.

The activities and procedures at each venue are similar, with distinctions primarily in the services offered, such as transportation, dining options, and on-site management and order.

The overview of the events:

Event Name Features Date Capacity Ticket
Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival 2024 The most spectacular event Nov 15-16, 2024 10000 seats US$120-180
Yee Peng Lanna International 2024 (Mae Jo) The event with the longest history; Nov 15-16, 2024 5000 seats US$200-300
Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns 2024 Cost-effective Nov 15, 2024 3500 seats US$110
Northern Study Center 2024 (Mae Rim) Mainly for large groups, especially Chinese groups   Nov 15, 2024 3000 seats US$120-180
Heaven Lantern Thailand 2024 A brand-new event in 2024 Nov 15-16, 2024 3500 seats US$120-180
Wat Doi Ti & Kruba Srivijaya Monument 2024 Small scale and good prices Nov 15, 2024 750 seats US$80-110

Which One to Choose? 

Based on our extensive industry expertise and thorough consideration of various factors, we recommend the following three events in 2024: Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival (Chiang Mai CAD for short), Yee Peng Lanna International (more commonly known as Mae Jo), and Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns.

Others may either have limited capacity, like the event at Doi Saket, be targeted at large groups of Chinese tourists, like the Northern Study Center event, or be new, potentially leading to issues like disorder or safety concerns.

The first question you might raise is that Chiang Mai CAD and Mae Jo are both popular; how do you choose between them?

Event Name Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival 2024 Yee Peng Lanna International 2024 (Mae Jo) Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns 2024
Rating ★★★★★ ★★ ★★★★
Features The most spectacular event; rich in activities; abundant food choices Famous, but more modest; simple food options; few activities Cost-effective; rich in activities, abundant food choices; less crowded
2024 Dates Nov. 15–16, 2024 Nov. 15, 2024 Nov. 15, 2024
Capacity 8,000 seats 5,000 seats 4,500 seats
Established in 2018 2013 2023
Activities Light and sound show,
cultural arts performance,
DIY, rituals, the Lanna Orchestra, lighting ceremony
rituals, meditation Light and sound show,
cultural arts performance,
DIY, rituals, the Lanna Orchestra, lighting ceremony
Tickets Premium US$179
VIP US$169
Standard US$129
Standard and Premium US$200–300 Premium US$159
VIP US$109
Dinner Snack+Lanna Thai food buffet Set box with Thai snacks Snack+Lanna Thai food buffet
Received lantern per person 2 sky lanterns, 1 krathong 1 sky lantern 2 sky lanterns, 1 krathong
Location 30 km east of downtown Chiang Mai, a 35-minute drive 25 km northeast of downtown Chiang Mai, a 30-minute drive 19 km east of downtown Chiang Mai, a 30-minute drive

Among these events, Chiang Mai CAD stands out as the premier choice. It is the most spectacular event due to its unparalleled scale, boasting the highest number of lanterns and fireworks. The dazzling displays create a truly awe-inspiring atmosphere. Additionally, the event offers a rich variety of food choices and an array of engaging activities, ensuring safety with experienced staff and standby emergency teams.

chiang mai yi peng festival, release sky lanternsThe large scale of lantern release at CAD

In contrast, the Mae Jo event, while famous, falls short in comparison. It offers simpler food options, lacks experiential activities, and features fewer lantern displays. One more downside is that the dates and ticket sales are typically confirmed very late each year, which can affect travel planning.

The scale of lantern release is smaller at Mae Jo.

(My personal experience attending both events in 2023 reinforced this contrast. At the Mae Jo event, long waits and basic food left much to be desired. Conversely, Chiang Mai CAD offered abundant food choices, engaging activities, and a breathtaking lantern release ceremony, solidifying its status as the preferred choice.)

Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns offers another option alongside Chiang Mai CAD. While its scale may not match CAD's, it provides a more affordable experience. Nevertheless, it still offers a rich array of activities and food offerings, making it a worthwhile choice for those seeking a less crowded and more intimate atmosphere. 

Tickets for Chiang Mai CAD 2024 are selling fast – secure your spot now before it's too late!

Book with us for a Truly Magical Experience! We have been deeply involved in the sky lantern festival since 2018. Apart from assisting guests in ticket reservations, we have also collaborated with festival organizers like CAD to enhance processes and services, such as ensuring smoother transportation arrangements. We understand your needs and concerns.

Additionally, by booking tickets and tour packages through us, you can enjoy exclusive services like professional on-site photography and assistance from guides upon entry. Please feel free to reach out to us for further inquiries or to make reservations.

yi peng festivalOur team on Chiang Mai CAD in 2023
chiang mai loy krathong 2023Our customers' photo shooted by our professional photographer.

Is There a Free Lantern Release in Chiang Mai?

No. Releasing khom loi sky lanterns in urban areas has been prohibited for safety reasons since 2014. Be cautious of outdated websites claiming that you can still witness lantern releases for free at Nawarat Bridge in downtown Chiang Mai. However, such releases are illegal, and at most, you may only see a few dozen lanterns.

However, releasing Loi Krathong on the water in Chiang Mai is not banned and occurs along the Ping River every year. You can experience it and other activities in the following places:

1. Nawarat Bridge

Nawarat Bridge is where most of the Chiang Mai locals go to release their krathong floating lanterns on the nearby Ping River.

Here you can catch great photos of the floating lanterns and release them yourself. You'll also find plenty of street vendors selling lanterns for around 30-50 baht each ($1 to $1.50).

2. The Iron Bridge

The second-best free spot to release your krathong floating lanterns during Yi Peng in Chiang Mai is the Iron Bridge.

3. Tha Phae Gate

The Tha Phae Gate is full of festivities during the week surrounding the Yi Peng celebrations. Here you'll find food vendors, festival parades, firecrackers, fireworks, and crowds of foreigners and locals who've all come out to celebrate.

4. Three Kings Monument

The Three Kings Monument is a great place to go for a more traditional Yi Peng ceremony. You can watch a candle-lighting ceremony and a Buddhist worship ritual.

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