Yee Peng at Mae Jo 2015 Photo Credit: Yone L
Yee Peng at Mae Jo 2015 Photo Credit: Yone L

An improvised FAQ for Loy Krathong & Yee Peng Festival

Last week was one of great festivities! There were so many things going on in this lovely city of Chiang Mai. It was noticeable the sudden traffic and influx of people that were roaming town.

During the 24th to the 26th of November there were two great festivals that were going on. Loy Krathong Festival & Yee Peng Festival. Which might be a little confusing as they are completely different things. One of the biggest holidays or major reasons to come visit Chiang Mai in this period is for the Lantern ceremony. Which is the one that most people will think of. Or very likely feature on your bucket list.

In a nutshell..

Yee Peng Festival (Yi Peng) Loy Krathong Festival (Loi Krathong)
  • Also known as the Festival of Lights celebrated during the same period as Loy Krathong.
  • Takes place in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai.
  • The people in Chiang Mai release thousands of hot-air-balloon like lighted lanterns while making a wish. The visual appeal of it is simply mesmerising.
  • Yee Peng


The local celebration of Yi Peng in Chiang Mai is a religious ceremony in Thai language paying homage to the Buddha. The exact date is not announced and is know only a few weeks in advance. A second lantern release specially catered for foreign tourists is held usually one week after the traditional celebration for a fee of 100USD. For the international Yi Peng, the ceremony is in English and the organizer provides lanterns, seating mat, dinner.

During the week end, many events will be held in the city of Chiang Mai: traditional Thai dance, Grand Yi Peng Parade,beauty pageants, fireworks, decorations in the old city… Traditional Lanna dance featuring women with long golden fingernails dancing in synchronized movements is one of the event to catch.

There are 2 lantern releases. The first one is the free traditional and local celebration in the Thai language. The second one (06 November 2014) is for tourists with the celebration in English language for a fee of 100USD (includes lanterns, seating mat, shuttle, krathong, dinner).

  • Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated all over Thailand.
  • Krathongs are lotus-shaped receptacles that are released onto any body of water to bring luck, cleanse any bad energy and fulfill wishes.

The history behind the festival is complex, and Thais celebrate for many reasons.  The main rice harvest season has ended and it’s time to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Some believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges you have been holding onto, and including a fingernail or a lock of hair is seen as a way of letting go of the dark side of yourself, to start anew free of negative feelings. If your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means a year of good luck.

Traditionally, Thais release their krathongs into rivers and small canals called ‘klong’. Today, a pond or lake is also good. Many places host a string of cultural activities, such as ‘Ram Wong’ dance performances, krathong-making competitions and a beauty contest. People have started releasing lanterns in Bangkok, but this is only a small part of the festival.

What I learnt from this 2015 edition:

This year the rules changed and they only held the paid version. HOWEVER, there were some people just

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