Celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar, the Festival of Lights has been one of the most awe-inspiring cultural events in Thailand that attract a large number of both domestic and foreign visitors. The spectacular scene of thousands of lanterns lighting up the night sky will surely leave you breathless. If you want to know how to enjoy Chiang Mai’s most beautiful festival to the fullest, be sure to read on!
1. What is the Yee Peng Lantern festival?
Yee Peng, which is one of the two biggest lantern events come from the old Thai traditional Lanna calendar. Local people usually spend three days celebrating the event and they will release the lanterns into the sky at night to take away the misfortunes. While Loy Krathong is for releasing the lanterns into the water and takes place in every city in Thailand, Yee Peng is actually a smaller part of Loy Krathong Celebrations, when people release the lanterns to the sky.
Although many other towns and cities in northern Thailand celebrate Yee Peng, Chiang Mai is the best spot to truly experience this exciting cultural event.
2. Where to go for Yee Peng?
Yee Peng Lanna International at Maejo University
Maejo University is one of the two main places for the Yee Peng festival besides Doi Saket where a massive number of lanterns is up to 4,000 and the price for each ticket is not cheap. In 2018, Yee Peng reached to its 6th year and became the oldest event that held for international visitors.
Some information about the Yee Peng Lanna International at Maejo University
- Number of participants: 4000 – 6000
- Entry ticket:
- Standard: 5500THB (~ $172 USD)
- Premium: 7100THB (~ $222 USD)
- VIP: 12000THB (~ $376 USD)
- Inclusion: transportation from the city to Maejo University, 1 lantern and dinner. The VIP tickets give you extra experiences in which you are also invited to join in the Loy Krathong that takes place in the same location.
- Venue: Mae Jo University (25km far from Chiang Mai city center)
- Where to buy: Visit the official website of Yee Peng lantern festival
The tickets for the Lanna International event are usually available prior to the official events 4 – 5 months. Therefore, note down your plan and get access to the website regularly before they are all sold out after 2 weeks on sale.
Yee Peng Doi Saket
Yee Peng lantern festival in Doi Saket offers the same activities with the one at Maejo University yet on a smaller scale. It is called a private festival so the lanterns at Doi Saket were just about 3000 in 2018 and the prices were also much cheaper than the Yee Peng Lanna International.
In 2018, tickets included transportation fee, a lantern, a Krathong, and a small souvenir. If you want to experience the 2019 Yee Peng Doi Saket event, tickets are now available on the website.
Some information about the Yee Peng Doi Saket
- Number of participants: 2400 tickets – 3000
- Entry ticket price:
- Standard ticket: 4000THB ~ $125USD
- VIP Ticket : 5000THB ~ $156USD
- Venue: Doi Saket Hot Springs
- How to register: visit the official website of Yee Peng lantern festival
Free locations for Yee Peng festival
Besides the paid events, you can also enjoy some free locations in the city of Chiang Mai. However, they will not be as spectacular as the view at Mae Jo or Doi Saket.
One of the best spots to see thousands of sky lanterns and water lanterns is on the Nawarat Bridge. This is where you are officially allowed to release the lanterns into the sky from 7 PM till midnight on the second and the third night of the festival.
Tips to enjoy the best sky lantern view at Nawarat Bridge or near Nawarat Bridge
- You are not allowed to release the lantern right on the bridge but near the bridge. Head to the Wat Buppharam, a temple near Nawarat Bridge where you can freely release lanterns and admire the beautiful night sky in a serene atmosphere.
- The Nawarat Bridge is across the Ping River, you should visit the north and south side of the river where there will be more locals celebrating. More interestingly, on the third night of the Yee Peng festival, there will be a parade, fireworks and standing on the other bridges across the Ping river is also perfect to catch the view.
3. Where to stay while celebrating the Yee Peng lantern festival?
We suggest that visitors should stay inside and near the Old City Square as much as possible. Chiang Mai old city is surrounded by Ping river, you just need to search on Google Maps with the keyword “Chiang Mai Old City”, the exact square of land will show up. Staying inside that square is the best option for you to hype up your mood for Yee Peng festival and enjoy the signature dishes of Chiang Mai.
Due to a massive number of visitors coming to Chiang Mai during November, hotel and even Airbnb are usually fully booked. In order to have the best places to stay in Old Square, you should book earlier than the official dates around 2 – 3 months.
4. What to eat near the Yee Peng Lantern Festival
If you stay in the Old City, you should find something good to eat in this place. Chiang Mai is famous for Som Tum – a green papaya salad covered in the sweet and sour sauce. Enjoying the salad with a dish of fried rice, or Pad Thai is the best for the whole vacation. Try more desserts before and after dinner, just check it out at the food tour by bike with Inspitrip.
Some signature food of Chiang Mai that you should try
- Som Tam (Green papaya salad)
- Tom Yum Kung: Spicy soup with shrimps and seafood, a traditional food of Thailand
- Pad Thai
- Chicken Green Curry
That is a wrap for all the tips if you decide to see Yee Peng Lantern festival. Remember to take photos as much as you can, to capture the moments of blazing skies of lanterns that are only happened in a few places on the planet!