If you have ever seen pictures of Yi Peng lantern festival in Chiang Mai, you are probably as enchanted as we were. Thousands of lanterns floating into the sky, all around you – just like that one scene in Tangled. Okay, admittingly, that’s how we found out about this festival in the first place. The idea of something so magical happening in real life was too good not to check out ourselves!
We dove deep into the web to find everything about this sensational event and unfortunately, instead of magic, we found a struggle. There is surprisingly little information on this increasingly popular event and the information that is out there is very vague… Our mission, aside from experiencing our Disney moment, became to collect the best information and tips for YOU to experience the magic!
A couple of days before the festival starts, we arrive in Chiang Mai. Surely locals can tell us more about the festival and where to go!
YI PENG (OR YEE PENG?) AND LOY KRATHONG
Yi Peng is also known as Yee Peng, the local name of the lantern festival in northern Thailand. Yee means two and Peng means full moon day, which relates to the night of the festival: during the second full moon of the Lanna calendar. Usually, this is in November. In 2018 it takes place from November 21*. This full moon is also the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar, which means Loy Krathong is also happening: a 3-day festival celebrated throughout all of Thailand and surrounding countries.
The two festivals, Yi Peng and Loy Krathong, are celebrated simultaneously during the period of the full moon. Both are light festivals (see how this can be confusing?), but Loy Krathong means ‘to float a basket’ and is celebrated by lanterns on the water, whereas Yi Peng is all about sky lanterns.