Coming to Chiang Mai in November this year, you’ll have the opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful scenery in the world voted by Lonely Planet, that’s the colored lantern festival of Chiang Mai.
Yi Peng or Loy Krathong?
These two names are often mistaken by visitors when searching for information about Chiang Mai’s Lantern Festival. Although when being translated into Vietnamese, both means that the festival of lantern, but here are two completely different festivals.
Loy Krathong festival in Chiang Mai
With Loy Krathong, “Loy” means letting it float on the water surface, while “Krathong” refers to a boat in the lotus shape. This is a Buddhist festival and is usually held on December 15th according to the Thai lunar calendar. On this day, indigenous people will lay lotus-shaped rafts on the water surface, put in the rafts fresh flowers, candles and incense, then let it float down the river to pay homage to the Buddha. Not only that, it is believed that when the rafts are floated, all sorrows and unfortunate things of the old year will be eradicated.
Meanwhile, Yi Peng (or Yee Peng) is a long-standing festival, very important in the Lanna culture of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is the old capital of Lanna Kingdom. So Yi Peng is still considered to be the biggest festival of this city and held solemnly. However, as the days of Yi Peng and Loy Krathong often coincide, in addition to that, the manner in which the festivals are held is similar, so, people are often confused between the two festivals.
Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai
On the day of the Yi Peng Festival, you will be able to admire one of the most magnificent scenes that no festival has ever had, that’s when the ritual ends, hundreds and thousands of lanterns will be released into the sky with the meaning of offering the respect to the Buddha. And this is where a fairy scene is created. The warm candles glittering in the dark, with sky full of lanterns looks like stars shining all over. Surely, once you witness that gorgeous scene, you will never forget.
Some notes when attending the lantern festival in Chiang Mai:
If you plan to enjoy these festivals in Chiang Mai, you’d better book tickets and hotel early. Prices can rise very high if you book too close to date.
The backyard of Mae Jo University is known to be one of Chiang Mai’s most popular destinations to release the lanterns. This area is also known as Lanna Dhutanka. On the day of the festival, this area will be extremely crowded. So if you want to have beautiful place you should come here early, about 16h.
The backyard of Mae Jo University is very crowded in the festival
Normally, at the entrance of the area that the festival held, you will find lots of offers to buy the lantern. However, you should know that the festival organization board won’t allow the use of this kind of lantern. The reason is that these kinds of lanterns sold at the entrance of the area are primarily made from the materials that are unfriendly to environment and using these lanterns will make it difficult to clean the area after the festival ends. It is best to only buy the lanterns sold inside the festival area. Normally they are not very expensive, a lantern will cost for about 100 Baht.
A lantern in the festival
It is a good idea to dress appropriately when attending the festival, however, it is still a Buddhist festival.
The last thing that is important is not to be addicted to photography. Of course, no one will forbid you to record the marvelous images of this festival. However, it will be wasteful if you can not spend some time enjoying this wonderful moment.