Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand

We were lucky enough to take part and witness one of the most famous festivals of Thailand while traveling up north to the city of Chiang Mai – the annual Lanna celebrations of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng! Although celebrated throughout the entire country this festival is particularly beautiful in the north, attracting many local and foreign tourists to take part during the evening of the full moon in the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, usually falling in the month of November. This year it happened to be on November 15 – right in time when we visited Chiang Mai.

We moved our way to the main bridge in the East of town and bought our self a lantern on the way as we really wanted to take part in this unique celebration. The celebrations as such already started during the day where we were able to see a large parade moving its way from one side of the city to the other. Food stalls and vendors positioned themselves along the streets, monks were chanting in the temples and there was a certain rhythm leading people slowly down to the river. Preparations were made all over town until the actually release of the Krathongs by nightfall.

loy krathong preparations by monks
Monks preparing colorful lanterns around a Buddha statue in the old town
…same place at night
Floating Krathongs along the Ping River of Chiang Ma
Festival parade

 During the Loy Krathong festival people release decorated baskets into the river, known as Krathongs, making offerings to the Goddess of water as well as symbolizing a „letting go“ of evil spirits and negative thoughts. Also, making it particularly interesting in the city of Chiang Mai, they release so-called Khom Lois – thin fabric lanterns propelled by the heat of a lit candle into the sky.

We also were able to light up ours and enjoyed the moment it finally lifted up! Unfortunately, the street lights ruined the perfect picture but we still tried to take a few shots. Swarms of thousands of sky lanterns floated up into the sky, slowly fading away into the dark of the night.

It was not that easy at first since you really have to wait for that right moment to let go…

loy krathong celebrations lights

And there it goes…may it bring us luck and all the best!

We were mesmerized by the beauty of this celebrations and truly impressed by the amounts of lanterns in the sky. Although it became quite a tourist attraction we felt very happy to be able to participate in this event! It was a great opportunity to experience this cultural and religious ceremony and made our stay in Chiang Mai unforgettable!

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