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A Guide to Thailand Lantern Festivals: Yi Peng & Loy Krathong

A Guide to Thailand Lantern Festivals: Yi Peng & Loy Krathong

By CindyUpdated Dec. 27, 2023

Thailand Lantern Festivals, also known as the Thai Festivals of Lights, refer to two festivals in Thailand: Yi Peng Festival (also written as Yee Peng) and Loy Krathong Festival (also written as Loi Krathong). Both these festivals are known for creating beautiful displays of lights and take place on the same day.

Quick Facts about Thailand Lantern Festivals

  • During the lantern festivals in Thailand, you will see two iconic scenes: swarms of sky lanterns flying into the night's sky — that is Yi Peng Lantern Festival; thousands of lotus-shaped baskets with candles and flowers floating on the rivers at night — that is Loy Krathong Festival.
  • The two Thai lantern festivals usually occur on the full moon day in November. In 2024, Loy Krathong will take place on November 16 and Yi Peng will take place on November 15–16.
  • Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated nationwide while Yi Peng is only celebrated in northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai.
  • Chiang Mai is the only place where you can see both Thailand's lantern festivals on the same day.
Yi peng sky lantern festival Yi Peng: Thousands of lanterns rising into the night's sky
Loy krathong water lantern festival Loy Krathong: A girl is releasing a lotus-shaped basket on the river.

Yi Peng — Sky Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai

Yi Peng (or Yee Peng), known as Thailand's floating lantern festival, is celebrated in Northern Thailand. It is a Lanna festival with the largest celebrations held in Chiang Mai (the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom).

Yi means 'two' while peng means 'full moon day'. It is an annual festival celebrated on the full moon in the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar and usually falls in November. It is believed that Yi Peng originated in India with the legend of the candle-carrying bird that once visited the Gautama Buddha.

The highlight of this festival is the numerous sky lanterns that are released and 'float' up into the sky. So Yi Peng is also known as the Thailand Sky Lantern Festival.

These sky lanterns are called khom loi in Thai, which means floating lanterns. The release of lanterns is believed to release negative energy and wish for good luck and good fortune in the coming year.

Chiang Mai CAD is one of the most famous sky lantern mass release events in Chiang Mai.

Tickets for Chiang Mai CAD Yi Peng Festival 2024

Tickets for Chiang Mai CAD 2024 are on sale now – reserve your spot today! Join the 10,000+ clients from around the world who have trusted us to make their festival dreams come true.

Since 2019, we've proudly held the position of Premium Partner with Chiang Mai CAD, and we're thrilled to be the largest agent for premium tickets for 2024, offering an unparalleled selection. (Notably, Chiang Mai CAD does not have an official website, and all ticket sellers are agents, with us proudly being one of the largest among them.)

Here are the prices for three kinds of tickets:

  • Premium ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 199 
  • VIP ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 169
  • Standard ticket + transfer + dinner: US$ 129

*Book a premium ticket for Exclusive Benefits! Be a part of a select few who will be closest to the stage and the chanting monks. Enjoy exclusive services with a dedicated photographer and indulge in a buffet dinner at a designated special food zone.

Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 2023 Ticket Booking

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

Loy Krathong Festival — Lights Festival, Water Lantern Festival

Loy Krathong Festival, known as the Thailand Lights Festival, occurs on the night of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. It is celebrated to give thanks to the Godness of Water by releasing lotus-shaped baskets decorated with candles and flowers onto the rivers and waterways. It is also regarded as an annual celebration to mark the end of the rainy season and welcome the cool reason.

In Thai, loy means to float and a krathong is a small container. Loy Krathong literally means 'to float a basket'. Krathong is traditionally made from banana leaves and a slice of the banana tree. Krathongs often contain a candle, incense sticks, and flowers.

On the night of the festival, Thai people make a wish as they launch their krathongs onto the rivers, canals, and lakes. Some people place hair and fingernails inside the krathong to symbolize letting go of their past mistakes and negative thoughts. It is a purification ceremony to enlighten the mind and bring good fortune.

Where to Celebrate Loy Krathong Lantern Festival

Thailand celebrates the Loy Krathong Lantern Festival nationwide, but there are several notable places where you can experience its grandeur. Here are some top destinations for celebrating Loy Krathong in Thailand:

Chiang Mai hosts one of the most spectacular Loy Krathong celebrations in Thailand. The festivities here include the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, where thousands of illuminated lanterns fill the sky, creating an enchanting spectacle.

Sukhothai: As the historical birthplace of Loy Krathong, Sukhothai holds a special significance during the festival. If you value historical and cultural significance, Sukhothai is the best place, as it has deep roots in the festival's traditions and offers a more traditional atmosphere.

Bangkok provides a mix of modernity and tradition. The city's riverside parks and iconic landmarks offer a distinctive Loy Krathong celebration amidst a bustling metropolitan backdrop.

Phuket: If you don't want to deal with the crowds and prefer a beachside experience, head to Phuket for a more relaxed and laid-back celebration. You can float your krathong in the sea while enjoying the scenic coastal views.

Loi Krathong is celebrated across Thailand as well as other countries in Southasian such as Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.

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