The Festival of Lights is celebrated all around Thailand with Loi Krathongs (lotus-shaped receptacles) released on water to bring luck and fulfill wishes. In Chiang Mai, the observation of the festival of lights, called Yi Peng, is uniquely different. Instead of water vessel, Chiang Mai people release thousand of lighted lanterns in the sky while making a wish. The sky transforms itself in a wonderful and surreal sea of little lanterns floating away. The spectacle is mesmerizing.
The local celebration of Yi Peng in Chiang Mai is a religious ceremony in Thai language paying homage to the Buddha. The exact date is not announced and is know only a few weeks in advance. A second lantern release specially catered for foreign tourists is held usually one week after the traditional celebration for a fee of 100USD. For the international Yi Peng, the ceremony is in English and the organizer provides lanterns, seating mat, dinner.
During the week end, many events will be held in the city of Chiang Mai: traditional Thai dance, Grand Yi Peng Parade,beauty pageants, fireworks, decorations in the old city… Traditional Lanna dance featuring women with long golden fingernails dancing in synchronized movements is one of the event to catch.
Chiang Mai is an regional aviation hub in South East Asia: Chiang Mai Airport serves a large number of airlines from South East Asia. Taxis and car rental are available at the Airport.
Bus routes exist between Chiang Mai and major cities in Thailand. A motorbike is recommended to go to the event area as the place is completely jammed.
There are 2 lantern releases. The first one is the free traditional and local celebration in the Thai language. The second one (06 November 2014) is for tourists with the celebration in English language for a fee of 100USD (includes lanterns, seating mat, shuttle, krathong, dinner).