Thailand is known for its exciting and colourful festivals, and the Yi Peng festival is one of the most beautiful and romantic festivals in the world.

Every November, on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, people from all over the country – and even from around the world – come together to release thousands of candle-lit paper lanterns are released into the sky in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

The sight is breathtaking, to say the least, as evidenced by the stunning photographs of this festival of lights. If you are in Thailand in November, this is an event that should not be missed.

What the Yi Peng festival is

Yi Peng is a mini-festival that precedes the nationally celebrated Loi Krathong festival. The exact date of the festival changes every year, but it usually occurs in mid-November and takes place over two or three days.

During the festival, thousands of people release lanterns made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, stretched over a bamboo or wireframe, with a candle or fuel cell attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air is trapped inside the lantern and creates enough lift for the lantern to float into the sky.

The act of launching a lantern symbolises the release of bad luck – and it’s considered good luck if your lantern disappears from sight before the candle goes out. Some people even make a wish as they let their lantern go.

Attending as a tourist

The main event of the Yi Peng festival takes place at the Mae Jo University and is put on exclusively for locals. There are private events, however, which allow tourists to attend for a fee and will allow visitors to release their own lanterns into the sky.

The festival is the most popular event in Chiang Mai, so tickets sell out quickly. It’s best to purchase tickets as early as possible if you’re planning to be in the area at the time. Dinner is included in the ticket price, and you will be pleasantly surprised to find many vendors offering different types of Thai food at the event.

Other events taking place during Yi Peng

While the launching of the lanterns might be the most important part of the festival, there are plenty of other activities going on to complete the festivities. These include traditional Thai worship rituals, lantern decoration contests, the Miss Yi Peng pageant, and various bazaars, parades, and fireworks.

Getting there

Various airlines offer daily flights from London to Bangkok Airport, where you can take a connecting flight to Chiang Mai. The cheapest tickets are available approximately 60 days before departure, with evening flights from London Gatwick offering the best prices on the route.

For a hassle-free trip to Chiang Mai, remember to pre-book an airport transfer, taxi, or rental car through hoppa to get you to your accommodation. Hoppa is the world’s top specialist in smooth, reliable transportation, comparing 1,000s of transport providers from around the world to get you where you need to go. Whether at home or abroad, with choices of taxis, car hire, and airport transfers, we search and compare the best deals so you arrive happy.

The event venues for Yi Peng are normally not close to the city centre as the lanterns can be hazardous to people, aeroplanes, and buildings, so it is important to ensure that your ticket includes a round-trip transfer, or be sure to pre-book a hoppa to get you to the event and back.

Planning a trip to see the festival, or do you have any suggestions we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.


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