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Loy Krathong is the second largest festival to be celebrated in Thailand and it is a festival where families and couples put on traditional dress and head on down to the river to release a Krathong or (floating baskets) onto the water. These are small containers made of banana leaves and trunk and highly decorated with flowers, incense, candles and flowers, they are to pay respects to the goddess of water and it is believed that all grudges and bad luck will be washed away before been released down the river.

Yee Peng or (Yi Peng) is another way of Loy Krathong, in Thai Yi (Yee) is two and Peng means full moon, this annual celebration occurs on the full moon night in the second month of the Thai lunar calendar, normally held in November but the days change slightly year on year.

Celebrated all around Thailand some of the bigger festivals are held in Sukhothai and Bangkok with the biggest of them held in Chaing Mai. To begin with, the festival was a very local affair with only locals taking part in the flower and lantern releases. As the event grew, a mass lantern releasing was introduced and after some visitors witnessed this, word quickly spread around. Now the event is bigger than ever and celebrated not only by the locals but visitors from all around the world. This is a sight to behold as hundreds and thousands of lanterns are released into the evening sky carrying the good luck wishes and prayers of whoever has released it.

There are plenty of places that you can witness and take part in the lantern releases for free but to get some of the best photo opportunities and memories to last a lifetime then you can purchase a ticket from these places:

Yee Peng Lanna Dhutanka behind Maejo university – this is the most popular place and where the photos and videos on the internet are from. It holds a maximum of 3000 people and the tickets can range from 200USD to 300USD (£163 to £244) for the seat and one lantern.

The second place is the cowboy Army Riding Club, this is a ceremony hosted by the local government and has 2 different dates and held 10km outside for downtown Chiang Mai. The capacity is 3500 to 4000 people and prices are from 90 USD to 120 USD (£74 to £98) a standard ticket includes 1 lantern where the VIP ticket includes 2 lanterns.

Other places are Yee Peng Doi Saket at the Doi Saket Hot springs this is more secluded as it is an out of city event where the lanterns are released into the surrounding countryside. The last place which holds two lantern releases on different days is the Northern Study Centre in the Maerim district.

Wherever you decide to visit for the festival of lights please note that there are rules attached if you do want to take part these are as follows:

  • You must buy a ticket
  • Attendees must wear acceptable clothing (long pants, no bare shoulders, white shirts are preferred)
  • No alcohol is allowed
  • Lanterns must be bought on-site (you cannot take your own with you)

As well as the festival of lights there is also numerous other things that happen all over Chaing Mai such live music, handicraft sessions and the official “Yi Peng Parade around the old city gate and down the Tha Pahe Gate road. You will also be able to sample some of the local delicacies as hordes of food vendors set up to feed the hundreds of tourists around. Firecrackers and fireworks are also popular to buy and set off during this celebration.

Plenty of companies offer packages to visit but if you want to sit back relax and put your feet up there are plenty of rooftop terraces to choose from.

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