Living the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng in Chiang Mai

In 2019 the dates for the celebration of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng are November 11-13, with November 12 (full moon) being the strong day.

Living the feast of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng in Chiang Mai is something that should be lived by all travellers at least once in their lives, or twice like us!

It is very exciting to see thousands of lanterns furrowing the sky with the dreams of thousands of people placed in them.

We can say that of all the festivals we have lived around the world, Loy Krathong and Yee Peng are the most emotional and special.

And although I have to admit that the first time we lived it with more intensity and emotion, the second time was also very special because I was lucky enough to live it with my parents.

Here we go with all the facts to live the Loy Krathong and the Yee Peng in Chaing Mai!

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THE LOY KRATHONG AND THE YEE PENG

Many people call Loy Krathong al Yee Peng because in Chiang Mai they are celebrated at the same time but they are not the same.

THE LOY KRATHONG FESTIVAL IN CHIANG MAI:

“Loy” means to float and “krathong” means raft or lotus-shaped boat left in the water.

That night thousands of krathongs with flowers, incense, candles are released into the river and with them (in addition to worshipping Buddha) it is said that they symbolize the renunciation and overcoming of all the negative parts of each one by letting them go downstream.

Krathongs are left in rivers, ponds and any flow of water, it’s especially nice to see Chiang Mai’s Ping River full of illuminated krathongs.

For years krathongs have been banned from being built with materials such as polystyrene because of their polluting effect, and today they are made from banana tree trunks and other biodegradable materials.

They say that the festivity could have its origin in the Hindu ritual “Deepavalee” where offerings are also deposited in the river.

Loy Krathong is one of the most important festivities in Thailand and is celebrated almost all over the country.

Leaving our krathong in the river

THE FEAST OF YEE PENG IN CHIANG MAI:

“Yee” means second and “Peng” means month in the Lanna language.

The Yee Peng is celebrated with more intensity in the north of Thailand and specifically Chiang Mai is one of the places where you can live it in all its splendor.

That night the lanterns, lanterns or khom loi “floating lantern” as it is called here, are thrown into the sky to attract good luck and wishes are asked before releasing them into the air, but as a good Buddhist tradition they say that they are only fulfilled if during the year you perform good actions.

The whole city is dressed in gala decorated with candles, all temples and streets are decorated with colorful lanterns, the “bad” part is that the city is completely crowded with tourists during those days.

Everyone wants to live Yee Peng up close!

Throwing a lantern into the sky during the Yee Peng festival

WHEN IS LOY KRATHONG AND YEE PENG IN CHIANG MAI CELEBRATED?

The big day of the Loy Krathong coincides with the full moon of the twelfth lunar month of the Thai calendar and the Yee Peng with the full moon of the second month of the Lanna calendar, so that we understand ourselves are the same day and in Chiang Mai are celebrated together.

It usually falls in the month of November of our calendar, and there are events the days before and after.

In 2019 the dates for the celebration of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng are November 11-13, with November 12 (full moon) being the strong day.

If the dates don’t match, don’t worry, here’s a post with many other things to do in Chiang Mai.

WHERE CAN I ENJOY LOY KRAHONG AND YEE PENG IN CHIANG MAI?

The night of full moon thousands of lanterns are thrown into the air by all Chiang Mai, it is only allowed to do so from seven in the afternoon and in the places designated for it, which comes to be almost everywhere, if there are local people throwing them you are in a good place!

However, peak hours are from eight to ten at night and Nawarat Bridge is one of the places where most people gather.

You can throw your lantern without fear of being hooked in a house and in the same place you can throw your krathong to the river.

As we taught you through Instagram Stories, no matter where you look you will see lanterns in the sky with a magnificent full moon in the background.

Each one is throwing his lantern and his krathong when and where it seems to him, now, what happens to that image that comes to the head of hundreds of people throwing them at the same time?

Well, that same question we asked ourselves the first time we lived the Yee Peng until a Thai girl clarified it for us.

Near Mae Jo University, about 20km from Chiang Mai is held the Yee Peng Lanna International a multitudinous event, and we could say that every day more tourist, attended by more than 4000 people.

At a certain time everyone throws their flashlight into the air at the same time.

The pack includes entrance to the site, a dinner and the lantern, and costs from 150€ to 200€ per person.

It is promoted by a Buddhist centre and the money raised goes to the development and education of the Thai Hill tribes (the so-called giraffe women of northern Thailand) so although it is expensive the money has a good end.

Be careful! There are other events of this type (although not so multitudinous) that are simply touristic, don’t get confused!

We haven’t gone either time because we think it’s a little expensive and you can live it perfectly on the street.

Perhaps the photo is not so spectacular but it is very emotional to live it from one of the temples where you can throw the lanterns, with monks around you and Thai families throwing their flashlight together.

The two years we went to the Wat Lok Moli temple which is beautifully decorated and we launched our lantern with a unique and special background.

Wat Lok Moli Temple during the festivities of Loy Krathong and Yee Peng

WHERE DO I BUY MY KRATHONG AND LANTERN TO THROW INTO THE SKY?

Don’t worry because there are hundreds of small places where you can buy the krathong and lantern.

The lantern ranges from 40THB to 70THB depending on the size and the place where you buy it (the most expensive tourist).

And the krathong from 30THB onwards, the bigger, the more sophisticated, the more flowers, the more expensive.

HOW DO YOU LIGHT A LANTERN?

It may seem silly but if you turn it on badly it can go sideways or you can even get burned, we were taught last year by a Thai guy how to do it well.

If it’s big, it’s best to do it between two people:

1. Extend the lantern that will have sold you well folded, the best thing is to take it of the circle and move it with a firm gesture so that all the air enters inside and unfolds.

2. Put the lantern in the final position, as if you were going to throw it, the paper is not held very upright so your companion should hold it from above so it does not bend and burn when you turn it on.

3. The circle that is lit is made with a kind of flammable cotton (it is not cotton, but I didn’t know what to call it), pinch 4 corners in the four cardinal points so that they stick out a little and light them with a candle or a lighter. That way it’ll ignite everywhere the same.

4. Once turned on hold between two (if large) from above until it begins to fill with hot air and only have to hold it from the ring below.

5. You will notice how it fills completely and starts to pull up (this happens in about 3 minutes, if it’s big) it’s time to let go! Don’t forget to ask for your wish with all the emotion of the moment.

Yee Peng in Chiang Mai

HOW DO I MOVE THE NIGHT OF LOY KRATHONG AND YEE PENG BY CHIANG MAI?

Of all the months we have spent in Chiang Mai is the night that more people have seen on the street, is the big party and everyone, locals and tourists, go out to the street to celebrate with the consequent traffic jam everywhere.

ON FOOT: It is the cheapest way but also the slowest, if you do not plan to move much that night this is your best option.

IN SONGTHAEW or RED FURGO: Right now the journey costs 30THB per person, they are a kind of shared taxis, you tell the driver where you’re going and if he goes to the same direction will tell you to get on, when you get off you give him your 30THB and fixed.

The bad part is that that night there are many streets cut and even if you tell him to leave you “here” he will probably end up leaving you “there” we tell you from our own experience.

RECORD: We use this application a lot to move around Chiang Mai, it may be the most expensive option but also the most comfortable, it also depends on how many people you are can get out to account.

The bad thing is that the night of the Loy Krathong and the Yee Peng there is a lot of demand for so few cars and the price compared to a normal day gets to triple. This is the way we chose to move the last time we went with my parents and was the best option.

TUK TUK: The tuk tuk in Chiang Mai are quite expensive and that night they take advantage of the situation, we do not recommend you to take one unless you are very, very good dribbler, does not usually go cheap.

Events during the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng at the Three Kings monument

OTHER INFORMATION TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT TO ENJOY LY KRATHONG AND YEE PENG EN CHIANG MAI:

To walk that night by Chiang Mai is sport of risk, thousands of lanterns fly by the sky, more than one can that touches your head and surely you will see fall some extinguished one to your side.

Not to mention those who get stuck in trees, light wires or who have taken too long to throw and end up on fire. That night you see with a thousand eyes and a lot of care!

Beware also of your own lantern, if you take too long to release it will generate a black smoke and then rise staggering, most likely it will end up burning as it rises and is quite dangerous.

Even if you throw it too soon, it won’t reach height and is likely to get stuck in a tree as soon as you release it. Be careful throwing it under trees or light wires!!!

Enjoy Loy Krathong and Yee Peng in Chiang Mai and don’t forget to make your wishes! 🙂

RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN CHIANG MAI

We stay in Chiang Mai in an Airbnb apartment (here’s a 25€ discount for your first booking on Airbnb).

The Nimman area in Chiang Mai for us is the coolest, it is a new area, with lots of cafes and restaurants, in a moment (with the songthaew or with Grab) you plant you in the old area which is where most temples are.

Some recommended hotels:

And so far our post about the Loy Krathong and the Yee Peng in Chiang Mai

I’m sure it’ll be a few days you won’t forget jam!

If you have any questions or think we’ve left something in the inkwell, feel free to leave us a comment below.

And don’t forget to take out your Thailand travel insurance with a 5% discount!

Other articles about Thailand:

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