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Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival 2024: CAD & Insider Tips

By CindyUpdated May. 14, 2024

Yi Peng (sometimes written as Yee Peng) in Chiang Mai, Thailand is renowned worldwide for its mesmerizing display of thousands of illuminated lanterns ascending into the night sky over the city. In 2024, it will take place on Nov. 15-16. 

Curious about why sky lanterns are released and the best way to experience the festival? Look no further, as we've compiled all of the essential information you need to know about this captivating celebration.

1. What Is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival?

The Yi Peng Festival, also known as the Sky Lantern Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in northern Thailand, with the biggest celebration taking place in Chiang Mai.

1) When is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival 2024?

In 2024, the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival will take place on November 15-16. Its date changes every year.

The name Yi Peng means the second full moon day and refers to the date of the festival. It traditionally occurs on the full moon day in the second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar, which usually falls in November in the Western calendar.

yi peng festival

2) Why is it celebrated?

Historically, Yi Peng has been associated with the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest season in Thailand. As a result, it is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest that sustains communities.

Additionally, the festival holds religious significance as it is celebrated as a way to pay homage to the Buddha.

3) How Do Thai People Celebrate Yi Peng Lantern Festival?

Traditionally, the most popular practice to celebrate the festival is the launch of khom loi, or flying lanterns, into the night sky. However, due to safety concerns, it has been forbidden to float sky lanterns in the downtown area of Chiang Mai since 2020.

Instead, several privately organized mass lantern release events take place on the outskirts of the city, such as the famous Chiang Mai CAD. Continue reading to learn how to select an event.

In the downtown area, various activities abound, coinciding with the renowned Loy Krathong Festival. These include traditional Thai dance performances, cultural displays, and ceremonies and rituals held at temples.

4) Why do they release sky lanterns?

Khom loi, the sky lanterns released during the festival, symbolize good luck, health, prosperity, and fortune. The launch of the lantern symbolizes letting go of worries and negative energy, as well as hope and renewal. 

chiang mai yi peng festival, release sky lanterns

Official Tickets for Yi Peng Festival 2024

yi peng festivalAsia Highlights team at CAD Yi Peng Festival in 2023

Book with us for a truly magical experience. Since 2019, we've been deeply involved in the Yi Peng Festival, going beyond ticket sales to enhance event processes and service levels (especially for the CAD events), including optimizing shuttle services and advocating for entry through QR scanning instead of paper tickets.

We collect customer feedback to find out what you care about and enjoy, and we use this to enhance your experience, from providing exclusive services with a dedicated photographer to offering immersive activities like water lantern making.

This year, we are Authorized Travel Agent to the following two Yi Peng lantern release events:

  • Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lantern Festival, renowned as the largest-scale and most spectacular event. 
  • Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns, offering a smaller-but-less-crowded environment and better pricing

Chiang Mai CAD will take place on Nov. 15th and Nov. 16th, while Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns will be held exclusively on Nov. 15th. Both events offer similar schedules and activities for an unforgettable experience.

Click the following button to select an event.

  • Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival
  • Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns

Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival 2024

Prices for the three kinds of tickets:

  • Premium ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 179 (6400THB)
  • VIP ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 169 (5900THB)
  • Standard ticket + transfer + dinner : US$ 129 (4600THB)

*For any booking of 10 tickets or more, you'll enjoy a discount of 5% off. If you're a travel agent, please contact us to benefit from our exclusive agent rates.

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng FestivalChiang Mai CAD Khomloy Yi Peng Festival
Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival seating map

What is the difference between PREMIUM, VIP, and STANDARD?

  • Seat allocation: Premium seats are positioned closest to the Holy Pagoda show stage, spanning the first 1-8 rows, while VIP seats occupy rows 9-17, with standard seating in rows 18-28.
  • Dining area and food: The premium zone offers a richer food selection and a better ambiance than VIP, while standard ticket holders have fewer food choices and dine on blankets. Premium and VIP dine in less crowded buffet zones, and standard ticket holders in a designated area.
  • Transportation: Both Premium and VIP ticket holders will be transported by a business van, while standard ticket holders will be transported in a local open red cab.
    * Meeting Point A for Premium & VIP: Maya Shopping Center (Fountain area).
    * Meeting Point B for Standard: MORe SPACE car park

Premium Tickets

Chiang Mai CAD transfer car and dining area, yi peng festival

Vip Tickets

Chiang Mai CAD transfer car and dining area, yi peng festival

Standard Tickets

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival 2024 - Secure Your Exclusive Tickets While You Can!

Select a Venue:

Select Date:

Select an Available Ticket Type

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Adults and older children (8+ years old)
Total price: $129

Please provide correct personal information for your ticket booking. Double check.

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Once we receive your payment, our travel advisor will contact you within 24 hours and send you your e-ticket.

*Children Policy

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.

*Cancellation Policy

  • 30+ days before: cancellations fully refunded
  • 0–29 days before: no refunds (canceled festival revenue goes to charity)
  • No ticket name/date changes
  • No lost ticket refunds/compensation

Timeline for the Celebration

The schedules at the two venues are similar and the activities on November 15th and 16th are the same. The following is the schedule at CAD for reference:

✔ 15:30 - 16:30: Transfer to the Venue.

Arrange your own transportation and meet us at the meeting point. Show your e-ticket to get on the free shuttle to the venue (about a 50-minute drive). Our shuttle leaves every 5 minutes from 15:30 to 16:30, and the last one departs at 16:30. (Arrive at the meeting point early to avoid long queues and traffic jams caused by the large crowds.)

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival

✔ 16:30 - 18:30: Check-in. DIY activities and cultural performances.

Arrive at the venue, and present your e-ticket to register your ticket at the main entrance. You'll receive a lanyard badge and a souvenir. Then explore the Craft and Art zone and 'tribal village'. Watch cultural arts performances and enjoy activities, including releasing a traditional water lantern of the Loi Kratong.

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival
Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival

✔ 18:30 - 19:30: Dinner time.

Enjoy an authentic Thai Lanna Buffet Dinner, snacks, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages. (Vegetarian food is available.)

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival
Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival

✔ 19:30: Shows and religious ceremonies.

Enter the ritual area in from of the great pagoda. Witness an awe-inspiring display of drumming, candlelight shows, religious ceremonies, and monks chanting.

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival
Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival

✔ 20:15: Launch your lanterns.

Launch your lanterns, watch fireworks, and enjoy the breathtaking spectacle.

Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival
Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival

✔ 20:45: End and transfer back to the city downtown.

At the end of the celebration, transfer back from the venue to the city. You can select a drop-off point at the venue to drop off at Maya Shopping Center or Chiang Mai Night Bazaar (depending on traffic conditions).

Elevate Your Yi Peng Festival Experience with Asia Highlight!

Besides individual ticket bookings, we also offer tour packages including the Yi Peng Festival.

What sets us apart from other ticket providers? We offer:

  • WhatsApp communication support
  • Expert travel consultants
  • Exclusive festive experience
  • Experienced guides and drivers, with ample resources already secured, while other agencies may struggle during the surge of festival visitors.

For our tour-booking clients, we have secured the best seats in the front three rows of the Chiang Mai CAD and the finest riverside restaurant along the Ping River, privileges that other companies cannot offer.

Unlike other attendees, our tour clients will enjoy private transfers to the venue, guide accompaniment into the venue, and on-site support from our staff, making your trip smoother and more enjoyable.

Choose Asia Highlight for an unforgettable, immersive Yi Peng Festival experience!

How to Choose between November 15th and 16th in 2024?

Both dates feature the same activities. If your schedule allows, we recommend selecting November 15th.

This would afford you the opportunity to be among the first to experience the ceremony and share it with your friends on instant apps. Additionally, you'll then have the chance to partake in the downtown folk activities that are exclusive to November 16th, such as the city center parade near Tha Phae Gate, candle ceremony at Wat Pan Tao, and releasing a 'floating lantern' on the Ping River.

The second day on November 16th also offers benefits. Based on the experience from the previous day, the activities might be better organized, and there may be fewer people.

How to Choose a Lantern Release Event?

This year, more than six Yi Peng mass lantern release events are scheduled on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Here, we would like to highlight three of them. 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.

Two events are the most famous: Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival (Chiang Mai CAD for short) and Yee Peng Lanna International (more commonly known as Mae Jo). Are you wondering which one to choose?

Among these events, Chiang Mai CAD stands out as the premier choice, with its unmatched scale, boasting the highest number of lanterns and fireworks, diverse array of food and activities, and a commitment to safety demonstrated through experienced staff and standby emergency teams.

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.

(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.

Event Name Chiang Mai CAD Khomloy Sky Lanterns Festival 2024 Yee Peng Lanna International 2024 (Mae Jo) Chiang Mai Heritage Sky Lanterns 2024
Recommend Rate ★★★★★ ★★ ★★★★
Features The most spectacular event; rich activities,abundant food choices Famous but falls short, simple food options, few activities Cost-effective,rich activities, abundant food choices; less crowded.
2024 Date Nov 15-16, 2024 Nov 15, 2024 Nov 15, 2024
Capacity 8000 seats 5000 seats 4500 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
Ticket Premium USD179
Standard USD129
Standard and Premium  USD 200-300 Premium USD159,
Dinner Snack+Lanna Thai food buffet Set box Thai Dinner Snack+Lanna Thai food buffet
Received lantern per person 2 sky lanterns 1 krathong 1 sky lantern 2 sky lanterns 1 krathong
Location East 30km from Chiang Mai downtown, a 35-minute drive Northeast 25km from Chiang Mai downtown, a 30-minute drive East 19km from Chiang Mai downtown, a 30-minute drive

Is There Any Free Event?

No. Due to safety concerns, free mass lantern release events were canceled by the local government in 2015.

You might find some information online suggesting that sky lanterns can be released in downtown Chiang Mai. That information is outdated or misleading. In fact, since 2020, for safety reasons, releasing sky lanterns has been prohibited in the downtown area. It is illegal to release sky lanterns in the city center.

The privately organized lantern release events usually occur on the outskirts, approximately 30km (20 miles) from the city center. This is primarily for safety and the convenience of collecting the lanterns afterward.

However, even if you don't attend a lantern release event, there are still many free activities in downtown Chiang Mai. You can release water lanterns on the Ping River, watch parades, and enjoy cultural performances in the old city area.

What Is the Difference Between the Yi Peng Festival and the Loy Krathong Lantern Festival?

The Yi Peng Festival and Loy Krathong are both celebrated in Thailand, particularly in the northern region, but they are distinct events with different customs and meanings.

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival (or Yee Peng):

  • Yi Peng is predominantly celebrated in the northern region of Thailand, particularly in Chiang Mai.
  • It is characterized by the release of khom loy, or sky lanterns, into the night sky. These lanterns symbolize good luck, prosperity, and the release of worries and negative energy.
  • Yi Peng is deeply rooted in Lanna culture and traditions, dating back to the ancient Lanna Kingdom.
  • The festival has strong Buddhist connections, with lantern releases serving as a way to pay homage to Lord Buddha and seek enlightenment.
yi peng festivalRelease Sky Lanterns in Yi Peng Festival

Loy Krathong Festival:

  • Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout Thailand at a similar time of year to Yi Peng, with significant festivities in various regions, including Bangkok and Sukhothai.
  • The highlight of Loy Krathong is the floating of krathongs, which are small lotus-shaped vessels made from banana leaves, flowers, and other natural materials, onto rivers, canals, and lakes.
  • Krathongs are floated as offerings to the water goddess, Mae Khongkha, to express gratitude, ask for forgiveness, and symbolically release negative emotions.
  • While Loy Krathong also has Buddhist roots, it incorporates animistic beliefs and customs related to water worship.
create loy krathong & riverside dinnerRelease Water Lanterns in Loy Krathong Festival

Yi Peng Festival vs. Chiang Mai’s New Year Eve Countdown Festival

In recent years, alongside the mesmerizing Yi Peng Festival, Chiang Mai's New Year Eve Countdown Festival has been increasingly in the spotlight.

In this year, Chiang Mai CAD is scheduled to take place on December 30-31, 2024. (We are the authorized ticket provider, and feel free to reach out to secure your tickets in advance.)

What sets these two festivals apart? In reality, the activities and experiences at both events are quite similar. The key distinction lies in one significant difference: the New Year Eve Countdown Festival does not feature the mass lantern release activity. This tradition is exclusive to the Yi Peng Festival due to local government regulations.

So, if you are seeking to partake in the grand lantern release activity, be sure not to miss the Yi Peng Festival. If you are still wondering where to celebrate New Year's Eve, consider coming to Chiang Mai this year.

How to Plan a Chiang Mai Trip with Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festival

Chiang Mai is a city full of various unique experiences. It is easy to spend 3 nights there. Here is a sample itinerary for your reference:

Day 1 (November 14): Arrival

Arrive in Chiang Mai and settle into your accommodation.

Day 2 (November 15): Chiang Mai Highlights and Yi Peng Festival

CAD yipeng lantern festival

Begin your day by exploring the highlights of Chiang Mai. Visit the spectacular Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, which offers breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.

In the late afternoon, go to attend the Yi Peng Sky Lantern Festival.

Day (November 16): Elephant Encounter and Loy Krathong Festive Parade

elephant farm

Embark on a half-day elephant tour, caring for these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. (Insider tip: Kanta Elephant Sanctuary is ideal for families or elderly couples, while Elephant Rescue Park caters more to young couples.)

Alternatively, indulge in a cooking class to master the art of authentic Northern Thai cuisine.

Later in the afternoon, join the Loy Krathong Festival's parade near Tha Phae Gate and partake in the tradition of releasing krathong on the Ping River.

Additional Days:

If you have more time, consider exploring the picturesque Mae Wang area with a scenic trek and bamboo rafting adventure.

Alternatively, embark on a day tour to Chiang Rai, where you can marvel at iconic landmarks such as the White Temple and Golden Triangle.

See our hand-crafted Thailand lantern tours, or contact us to customize a tour for you.

Tours Including Yi Peng Festival 2024

Here are the recommended small group tours including Yi Peng Festival 2024. We are also happy to customize a private tour including the experience of the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival according to your interests and schedule.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai for the Yi Peng Festival?

In Chiang Mai, we recommend three accommodation areas:

where to stay in chiang mai

(1) Old City: best area for first-time visitors

This area is perfect for exploring the ancient city as it's just a few minutes' walk away from most cultural attractions. It boasts a central location, making it convenient for travelers.

While it's the most commercialized part of Chiang Mai, there are plenty of affordable accommodation options available. A recommended 4-star hotel in this area is the Smile Lanna Hotel.

(2) Riverside: best area for families and luxury

This area offers a more upscale experience with many 5-star hotels, such as the recommended Maladee Rendezvous Hotel. It's known for its tranquil ambiance, making it suitable for families and older travelers seeking a relaxed stay. Most hotels there cater to luxury resort seekers.

You'll find numerous waterside restaurants, bars, and cafés, along with reasonably priced luxury resorts and hotels. The atmosphere is quiet at night, and you can enjoy picturesque views of the River Ping. However, shopping and nightlife options are limited.

(3) Nimmanhaemin: great for nightlife

This area is known for its boutique shopping scene, trendy restaurants, and cafés. It is an ideal destination for those who enjoy vibrant nightlife and a modern urban vibe. It is close to Maya Shopping Center and conveniently located to the airport. It's less congested compared to other areas and relatively cheaper.

Recommended hotels in this area include the Cross Vibe Chiang Mai Decem and Makka Hotel.

Festive Activities in Chiang Mai during the Festival

Apart from attending the mass sky lantern release, there are many things to do in downtown Chiang Mai. These are some top activities you should not miss:

1. Join the locals to float your krathong on the Ping River.

The best spots to release floating lanterns (krathongs) are Nawarat Bridge and the Iron Bridge along the Ping River. You can buy a krathong on site to experience releasing it. Alternatively, you can choose one of our customizable Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Tours that includes a krathong-making experience.

Dining in a fancy riverside restaurant to watch the river lanterns floating by during dinner is also very nice.

2. Don't miss the 'big krathong parade'.

The big parade is a highlight of the Loy Krathong festival. This year, it will take place on November 16th.

Giant illuminated krathongs are paraded with candidates for an upcoming beauty contest perched on top. Groups in traditional dress line up, cheered on by lively flute and drum music.

Starting at around 6pm, the parade goes from Tha Phae Gate to the Chiang Mai Provincial Municipality building, passing through Tha Phae Road.

It is free. Make sure to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot.

3. Visit Wat Phan Tao.

For a serene and reverent festive experience, consider visiting Wat Phan Tao (located just west of Tha Phae Gate). The temple is adorned with colorful lanterns in the traditional northern Thai style, as well as traditional oil lamps. There, you can participate in lighting an oil lamp and receive a blessing from the monks.

Below is the official program from 2023 for your reference. The activities are similar each year. Typically, the Tourist Authority of Thailand publishes the program about one month before the festival.

Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festival Agenda

Events in the city Time Date Venue
1. The Ceremony of Worshiping the Spirit House and the White Pagoda 08:00 a.m. Nov. 26, 2023 Chiang Mai Municipality Office, White Pagoda
2. The Ping River Apology Ceremony 09:00 a.m. Nov. 26, 2023 Pier at Sri Khong Temple
3. Yeepeng Lanna Lanterns Contest (Big Hanging Lanterns) 04:00 p.m. Nov. 26, 2023 Tha Pae Gate
4. Opening Ceremony Yeepeng Festival 2023 in Chiang Mai " 06:00 p.m. Nov. 26, 2023 Tha Pae Gate
5. The Yeepeng Festival Queen and King Pageant in Chiang Mai 07:00 p.m. Nov. 26-27, 2023 Tha Pae Gate
6. The Forest Gate Ceremony Yeepeng Lanna Chiang Mai For the duration of the event Nov. 26-28, 2023 Community and temple in municipal area
7. Ping River Krathong Release Ceremony 6:00 p.m. Nov. 26-28, 2023 Ping River Bank at Municipality Office
8. Lanna Arts and Culture Performance 6:00-9:00 p.m. Nov. 26-28, 2023 Tha Pae Gate
9. The Happiness of the River: Yeepeng Festival in Chiang Mai 6:00-9:00 p.m. Nov. 26-28, 2023 The Ping River, Mae Kha Canal
10. Light, sound, and multimedia show 8:00 p.m. Nov. 26-28, 2023 The Stage at Wat Sri Khong Pier
11.Royal Celebration Fireworks Display 8:30 p.m. Nov. 26-28, 2023 Wat Sri Khong Pier
12. Phra Mahachat Sermon Ceremony 5:00 a.m-9:00 p.m. Nov. 27, 2023 Sri Don Chai Temple
13. Handmade Lotus Leaf and Fresh Flower Krathong Contest 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Nov. 27, 2023 Municipality office
14. The Chiang Mai Yeepeng Little Miss and Mister Contest 6:00 p.m. Nov. 27, 2023 Municipality office
15. Lanna Yeepeng Lantern Boat Procession Contest 7:00 p.m. Nov. 27, 2023 Tha Phae Gate – Municipality office
16. Luk Thung Singing Contest with Tail Dancers, Preserving Thai Culture 4:30 p.m. Nov. 28, 2023 Municipality Office
17. The Toyal Procession of Large Floating Krathong Competition 7:00 p.m. Nov. 28, 2023 Tha Phae Gate-Municipality office
18. Award Ceremony of The Royal Procession of Large Floating Krathong Competition 10:00 p.m. Nov. 28, 2023 Municipality office

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