Top of the bucket list. A thousand wishes and skies of fire. An incredible sight watching thousands of lanterns rise in to the air at the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai provide, Thailand.
Yi Peng is celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month ever year (which is normally in mid-late November) and is truly an incredible time in the city’ parades, ceremonies, and of course the water and sky lanterns that glow throughout the city. The Lantern festival is actually part of the wider “Loy Krathong” celebrations which locals celebrate by making and floating a traditional krathong (decorated baskets) in the river.
MUST DO: For the best experience make sure to head to the university which is 45 minutes away from the city. This is where thousands of lanterns are released simultaneously in to the sky, and it really is the most incredible site to be seen. They happen a few times over the span of about 30 minutes, so participate by setting some off in the first few sessions, and take the next to snap some incredible photos and videos.
On the other nights, the parade through the town is great to see but be warned it gets tight with thousands of people lining the streets. The main bridge is where people set off lanterns and that starts from sunset (about 6:30pm) through till midnight.
Big ups to JubrilAgoro for the amazing footage, and for sure this needs to be added to your travel bucket list!
What I liked Most
The lanterns all rising to the sky at the same time!
How did you get there?
You can catch the 'red trucks' which are the local public transport system. Just hail one down on the side of the road - they are everywhere. They will drop you as close as possible given crowd sizes
- Remember to hold the lantern for a while before releasing it! Hot air will build up and naturally take it up. Stay patient :)
- Head to "bus bar" at some point in the night. Great place to listen to live music and watch the lanterns be set off by the river
There's a small fee to enter the university grounds on the first night. Everything else is free to watch. Lanterns are about 30 Baht (under $1 USD)