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Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival: 10 Things You Should Know

Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival: 10 Things You Should Know

By CindyUpdated Feb. 16, 2023

Yi Peng Lantern Festival (sometimes written as Yee Peng) in Chiang Mai is world-famous for its enchanting sight of thousands of lit lanterns rising into the night's sky over Chiang Mai. We've put together all things you need to know about this romantic festival in Chiang Mai. 

1. What is Yi Peng Lantern Festival?

Yi Peng Lantern Festival is an ancient festive event tracing back to the ancient Lanna Kingdom (in the late 13th Century). It was traditionally celebrated to mark the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the cool season. Thai people release lanterns into the air at Yi Peng Lantern Festival. It is celebrated in northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai. 

2. When is the Yee Peng Lantern Festival 2023 in Chiang Mai?

Yi means 'two' and Peng means 'full moon day', which refers to the date of this celebration. It takes place on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (usually in November in the Western calendar). Yi Peng Festival is usually celebrated in November every year. The date is different each year. 

In 2023, the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival will be held on November 27-28th, 2023. It usually coincides with Loy Krathong Festival

See How to Best Experience Chiang Mai's Yi Peng Lantern Festival this year (Expert Guide)

In only 10 days, enjoy Thailand’s Lantern Festival celebrations as well as plenty of beach relaxation and culture exploration:

3. Why is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival celebrated?

Besides celebrating the end of the monsoon sea, Yi Peng Lantern Festival is celebrated as a way to release negative energy and wish for good luck and good fortune in the coming year. The festival is also one of the ancient traditions to honor Buddha in order to gain merit.

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4. What's the origin of Yi Peng?

Yi Peng Festival was adapted from Brahmin origins and is closely associated with the Thai Lanna culture.

Deeply rooted in Buddhism, some people believe Yi Peng Lantern Festival originated in India with the legend of the candle-carrying bird which once visited the Gautama Buddha and spoke to him about merit. In Thailand, paying respect to Buddha is regarded as a way to be reborn into the next life to enjoy great popularity and purity.

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5. How do Thai people celebrate Yi Peng Lantern Festival?

The most popular practice to celebrate the festival is the launch of khom loi, or lanterns, into the night sky.

There are plenty of other activities that happen all over Chiang Mai during the festival. These include worship rituals, decoration contests, bazaars, parades traditional Thai dance shows, the official ‘Yee Peng Parade' around the Old City gate and down Tha Phae Road, live music, and handicraft sessions. You can also expect lots of food vendors setting up, firecrackers, and fireworks.

During the festival, some people also decorate their houses, gardens, and temples with khom fai, intricately shaped paper lanterns that take on different forms.

Suggested read: How to Best Experience Yi Peng Lantern Festival 2023 in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Make Thailand’s Lantern Festival part of a unique proposal, honeymoon, or anniversary celebration

6. What is the meaning of the lanterns to heaven during the Yi Peng Festival?

The act of releasing 'floating lanterns' (โคมลอย, khom loi) symbolizes letting go of misfortunes from the previous year and wishing for good luck in the coming year. If your lantern disappears into the dark before the light goes out, you will have an extremely good year.

Yi peng festival in chiang mai The amazing spectacle of thousands of lanterns floating in the sky

7. Where is the Yee Peng Lantern Festival celebrated?

Yee Peng Lantern Festival is celebrated primarily in northern Thailand, with the largest celebrations held in Chiang Mai. If you want to experience this festival, go to Chiang Mai where Yi Peng coincides with the nationally celebrated Loy Krathong Festival (the famous Thailand Lights Festival).

Take advantage of the most competitive tour with an awesome sky-lantern-release experience and Chiang Mai highlights

8. Where are the best places to experience Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai?

There are many places to join the festival, paid or free. If you want to enjoy the festival like the locals, you can go to the Ping River, Three Kings Monument, and Thapae Gate. 

  • Nawarat Bridge on the Ping River: This is where most of the Chiang Mai locals go to release their krathong floating lanterns on the nearby Ping River.
  • Three Kings Monument: It is the place where the majority of activities take place. You can watch a candle-lighting ceremony and a Buddhist worship ritual.
  • Thapae Gate: It is the place where many of the festival parades take place.
  • If you want to join in a mass lantern release and witness thousands of flying lanterns released at once, CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival and Yee Peng Lanna International (Mae Jo University)  can be great options. 

Besides lantern releases, you can experience many cultural activities, including worship rituals, decoration contests, bazaars, and traditional Thai dance shows. See more detailed information about Best Yee Peng Mass Lantern Releases in Chiang Mai. 

chiang mai yi peng lantern festival

9. How to Attend the Yi Peng Mass Lantern Release?

For those who want to experience the incredible scene of thousands of floating lanterns released into the night sky, it is a good idea to go to a mass lantern release event. 

The tickets for Chiang Mai CAD are on sale now. Asia Highlights — Official Partner of Chiang Mai Arts and Design (CAD) since 2019.  

Here are the prices for three kinds of tickets. Premium tickets are most recommended, as you will get closest to the stage and the chanting monks, receive priority shuttle transport with a business van, and have a buffet dinner for a special food zone.

  • Premium ticket: US$ 199
  • VIP ticket: US$ 179 
  • Standard ticket: US$ 139 
Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 2023 Ticket Booking

Click to see the celebration timeline and questions you might have about experiencing the Yi Peng Festival

Get Your 2023 Chiang Mai CAD Lantern Mass Release Tickets Here!

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Adults and older children (8+ years old)

Children under 8 years old enter free; 8-year-olds and above are charged the same as adults. You can buy a ticket for your child under 8 if you would like her or him to enjoy the same provision.

Total price: $122

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10. What is the difference between the Yi Peng Festival and Loy Krathong? 

One major difference is that during Loy Krathong raft-like krathong lanterns made from banana leaves are released to float on rivers and lakes whereas during Yi Peng bamboo paper Khom Loi lanterns are released into the sky.

Loy Krathong is celebrated all across Thailand while Yi Peng is celebrated mainly in northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai. 

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