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Experiencing Yee Peng Lantern Festival

Yi Ping Lantern Festival


Yee Peng, (or Yi Ping Lantern) festival just outside Chiang Mai, engulfs your senses in a dreamesque state.

Thousands of glowing lanterns drown out the darkness covering the entire temple grounds in a fiery glow.

The crowds hold their lanterns in eager anticipation, waiting for the signal to release them into the air.

Suddenly, the signal is given, and all at once; they envelop the night sky with an amber glow of floating lanterns. As people watch their wishes float away, they filled the air with cheers, smiles, and tears of joy.

I shudder to use this “flowery adjective” to describe Yi Peng, but in this case, it fits perfectly……Yi Peng Lantern Festival is magical. (Slap hand against forehead)

Yi PiNG LANTERN FESITVAL | Everything You Need to Know


Yee Peng is the Buddhist festival of lights where lanterns are released to Buddha. Buddhists believe that this washes away bad Karma and makes wishes come true. It is one of the top things you should do when backpacking Thailand.

Yee Peng festival usually corresponds with Loi Krathong. Another festival in which little lotus-shaped floats made of paper are released in a river to bring good luck.

A lesser-known fun fact example about Yee Peng is that are two celebrations.

The first one is in late October. This is the local Yi Peng and is free to attend.

The second festival, in early November, is about one week later and requires a ticket.

The celebrations are practically identical, though the second one is geared towards tourists. This is the celebration that also corresponds with Loi Krathong.

Both these festivals take place at Mae Jo University near Chiang Mai.

I choose the local one for a couple of reasons.

1- I always want the local experience.

2- The $100 ticket for the tourist Yee Peng wasn’t too appealing to me.

The great thing about Thailand, and especially Chiang Mai, is the friendliness of locals. 

For example, even though it’s their local festival, a lot of tourists took part. 

The Thai people were as friendly as ever and if any of them minded us crashing their festival for the Yi peng lantern release, they didn’t give any sign.

Where Does Yi Peng Take Place

The Yi Ping Lantern Festival takes place in the Thai province of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, and it’s one of those festivals that you’ll never forget.

They hold the festival on the first full moon in November. And features hundreds of thousands of floating lanterns that are set adrift on the Ping River, which runs through Chiang Mai.

The celebration is at the Doi Saket Temple and it has been there since 2009. The Yi Ping Lanterns in Chiang Mai Thailand were originally built to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is also known as Tet Trung Thu.

If you’re planning to visit Thailand during this time, you’ll find that there’s so much to see and do at the festival. Including watching the lanterns float down the river, enjoying live music, and shopping at local markets. As well as eating street food and exploring temples.

A Quick History Behind Yi Ping Lantern 

The origins of Yi Peng can be traced back to the Sukhothai period (1238-1438) when it was celebrated by the townspeople of Sukhothai. In those days, people lit firecrackers, floated krathongs (baskets), and released sky lanterns to show that they were happy. and wanted their King to return home safely from war.

The floating lanterns represent good luck and fortune throughout Thailand. With people floating them up into the sky in hope that their wishes will come true.

There are celebrations all over, but the major celebration is in the northern Thai area.  And a event you can’t miss when backpacking Thailand.


Ye ping lantern Festival Chaing Mai is an event that celebrates the tradition of lanterns in Thailand. They hold the event every year on the night of the full moon in February.

Lanterns are lit and float down the Mae Ping River. They say the event brings good luck and fortune to those who take part.

Ye ping lantern Festival Chaing Mai is a beautiful event that should be experienced by all. Not only is it a celebration of Thai culture, but it is also a time to reflect on the year that has passed and to set intentions for the year to come.

EXPERIENCING Yi Peng Lantern Festival

In my paranoia of getting a good spot, I arrived way too early. Although throughout the day the grounds of Mae Jo University are buzzing, arriving at 1:30 would have been boring if I wasn’t with a group of friends.

People have stalls giving away free food, ice cream, and cold drinks. The festival starts at 6 p.m. so getting there around 3 p.m. would still give you plenty of time to get a suitable spot and enjoy the atmosphere.

The festival starts with a massive procession of monks carrying candles through the crowd while chanting. Once they reach the golden buddha, the ceremony starts. At certain times during the ceremony, they instruct you to bow in a few different ways; all of which they teach you before they begin.

As the service concluded, we began lighting our lanterns. I felt the energy pulsating through the crowd as excitement grew for the grand finale.

Traditionally, three lanterns are lit. Afterward, fireworks close out in the evening.

My Yi Peng experience was one of the most peaceful, glorious, and beautiful experiences in my life.

You are filled with wonderment at the pure beauty of many lanterns floating around you before drifting up and eventually out of sight.

Yi Peng was on my bucket list for years, and it was more wonderful than I could have imagined. The festival embodies some things I love most about traveling in Southeast Asia and Thailand in particular. So I started a Thailand Travel Blog

Your Questions About Yi Ping Lantern Festival Answered

What do these floating lanterns symbolize?

In Chiang Mai, you will see many people floating Yi Ping Lanterns on the Ping River. What do these floating lanterns symbolize?

The Yi Ping Lanterns festival is also known as the Yi Ping Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand. The Yi Ping Lanterns festival is celebrated on the full moon night of the 12th month in the Chinese calendar (which falls in November). Yi Pen Lantern is commonly known as a sky lantern and khom loi in Thailand or khom bai sua (คำใบสวย) in Laos.

Yi Ping Lanterns are made from a thin sheet of paper with a candle inside that burns while it floats down the river. These paper lanterns are lit by placing them on a bamboo frame and then tying them off with string so that they can float free down the river at night.

A Yi Ping Lantern symbolizes freedom, peace, harmony, and goodwill for all people around the world!

What is the Legend Behind Yee Peng

An ancient Chinese legend about a man named Yi. Who had fallen in love with a fairy princess named Peng popularized the idea of sending wishes up into the sky? He used paper ships to deliver his love letter to her but she didn’t accept him because she thought he wasn’t good enough for her.

Yi died of heartbreak and turned into a star called “the Small Dipper”, which is part of the Ursa Minor constellation. In Thai culture, they also known Ursa Minor as “The Little Girl” because it looks like a young girl carrying a jug on her shoulder.”

What do you write on sky lanterns? 

The sky lanterns are a beautiful sight. The festival is about letting go and releasing worries and problems into the air. Writing something positive about your lantern will help it achieve its purpose.

The tradition of writing messages on a sky lantern has been around for centuries.

In ancient China, people wrote their wishes or hopes on paper and attached them to balloons made from rice paper. The Chinese called these messages “paper ships” (飛船). Upon the lantern release, you are letting go of all those things.

What is a sky lantern made out of?

The Yi Ping lantern is a handmade product. It is a paper lantern made from rice and bamboo sticks. The paper looks like tissue paper, but it is much stronger and more durable. It is also fire-resistant and non-toxic so it is safe to use outdoors.

The Yi Ping lantern has a center hole that allows air to flow in through the bottom of the lantern. And up through the top opening where you can light your candle or taper stick.

The round shape allows for a gentle floating motion when released into the air. Burning candle tapers. Or incense sticks can be used to create beautiful glowing effects during evening celebrations. Such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or other special occasions. The Thailand lantern festival is one of the best festivals of the year. 

What is the Difference Between Yi Peng Lantern and Loi Krathong Festival?

The Loy Krathong festival is a beautiful celebration that has been held in Thailand for over 700 years, long after the Lanna Kingdom.

They celebrated it to thank the river goddess. And ask her to release the water levels so that people can work on the rice fields without getting wet. The festival also celebrates the beginning of a new year and is often referred to as the Thai New Year.

The Loy Krathong festival is held annually on November 11th and lasts for three days. On the first day, people set out decorated floats in rivers and lakes throughout Thailand.

The second day involves releasing these floats into the water along with candles, incense sticks, and flowers. The third day sees people visiting temples to pray for good luck during the coming year.

These are both wonderful Chiang Mai Lantern Festivals to visit. The floating lantern festival happens all around the old city and Mae Rim river. While Yee Peng Doi Saket happens at the temple near Maejo University. And 

The Yi Ping Lantern festival is with flying lanterns. 

The festival takes place over 3 days. Where the Yi Peng Lantern festival takes place over one day. 

Other Things to do When Visiting Chiang Mai for Yi Peng Festival

Chiang Mai is a bustling city, with a lot to see and do. It has an old city that is worth exploring, as well as plenty of temples, parks, and markets. North Thailand is my favorite area of the country. Here are some of the best things to do in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is famous for its low cost of living in Thailand.

Visit Wat Phra Singh

They built this temple in 1345 and is one of the most important in Chiang Mai. It’s also one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the city and it has some beautiful murals inside. You can find out more about this temple here.

Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This temple is on top of Doi Suthep mountain which makes for a very picturesque setting. You can either climb up or take a cable car from the bottom of the mountain.

Depending on how much time you have available. The views from up here are incredible, so don’t miss out!

Take a walk around Thapae Gate Market

The Tha Phae Gate market is one of Chiang Mai’s most popular attractions. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint! There’s everything from food stalls to souvenirs here. So make sure you stop by if you’re in Chiang Mai during evening hours!

Shop at Central Plaza Chiang Mai Mall

If shopping is your thing, then Central Plaza

Visit the Old City

They fill the Old City with markets, shops, and tons of places to explore. It is the highlight of visiting Chiang Mai. 

Other places to visit include Chiang Rai, the King’s monument, Wat Phan Tao, and Khom Loy.


7 thoughts on “Experiencing Yee Peng Lantern Festival”

      1. Hi!
        This is also in our bucket list! But we are having trouble finding a site, of when it is this year, but want to plan a bit a head 🙂 Let us know if you happen to know when this years festival is, or a site that you happened to check out!


  1. The Lantern Festival is celebrated in Chiang Mai on the night of the full moon which falls somewhere in mid-November. The location of Maejo University is on Route 1001 about 15-20 minutes north of Chiang Mai.

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