Loy Krathong & Yi Peng Festival – Thailand Lantern Festival

There must be nobody disagree that Loy Krathong Festival is the most beautiful festival in Thailand and perhaps the celebrations of it are one of the most amazing ones in the world. Loy Krathong (also spelled as Loi Krathong), Thailand Lantern Festival, is considered the second most important festival in Thailand and it is a favorite for Thais and visitors as well. It is the most popular festival for Thailand in fall, at the end of the rainy season. It takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month, in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In Western calendar, it is in November and it lasts 3 days. In the year of 2019, the dates will be 13-15 November. When the celebration begins, people gather around rivers, canals, and the rivers to pray to the goddess of water by releasing small lotus light boat decorated with candles, flowers and incense onto the water. Thousands of small, flickering candlelit floats on rivers and the light far into the horizon is truly awesome.   

On the same day, Yi Peng Festival, also called Yee Peng Lantern festival, is celebrated along with Loy Krathong in Northern Thailand and the most famous one is in Chiang Mai. When the night falls, people launch thousands of fire-powered paper lanterns into the air for good luck. When thousands of burning lantern appearing in the sky, it looks like burning stars sparking, creating a dreamlike world. 

Read more about planing a trip to Thailand to experience the culture you never experienced.

What is Loy Krathong Festival

What does Loy Krathong mean? Loy means “to float” and Krathong means “banana-leaf made boat with light on it”. Loy kratyhong means “floating your lighted boat or basket down the river.” Loy Krathong is not necessarily a religious holiday. But you will see many Thais praying to water goddess. Thais celebrate this festival for many reasons. It is said one of the main reason is that this time of the year marks the end of the rainy season and all of the bothersome downpour days have gone. Another main reason is the main rice harvest season has ended and it is time to thank the Water Goddess for her abundant supply for the year while some people are asking forgiveness for using too much or polluting the water. Thais believe that this is the right time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges one has been holding onto. They release their banana-leaf made krathongs with their hope for good fortune into rivers. If your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappear out of sight, it means you loy krathong wish will come true and you will get good luck all year round. 

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Picture: Thai locals floating their Krathong basket and wish on the river.

Intersting in there delicate handicraft works? Here you can get more information:

Ultimate guide of floating flower basket in Loy Krathong Festival - what's like and how to make

Loy Krathong Festival and Yi Peng Festival coincide on the same day in North of Thailand celebrated simultaneously with Loy Krathong by the Lanna people especially in Chiang Mai. People celebrate Yi Peng or Yee Peng by adorned temples, houses with paper lanterns, meanwhile monks, locals and tourists launch paper lantern into the sky. Once the sky is fulfilled the floating lanterns, the view of it is really awesome. That's why Loy Krathong & Yi Peng Festival are also called Thailand Lantern Festival. 

Loy Krathong History

The Loy Krathong Festival , Thai Lantern Festival is inseparable in Thai People's minds and the festival started some 700 years ago when Brahmin was the dominated religion in Thailand. It is originally a Brahmin festival dedicated to the worship of the Gods of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. There is a legend of a beautiful and talented lady called Nang Noppamus, the daughter of a learned Brahmin priest at the court of King Pho Khun Ramhamhaeng during the Sukothai period. She was inventive and skillful and she wanted to pay respect to Mae Kongka in her own way then she made the first krathong shaped like a large delicate lotus flower, then she presented it to the king who preceded to float it down the river with a lit candle on it. As time went on, Buddhism replaced Brahmin, however, the traditional festival was continued celebrated and its meaning was adopted to be a veneration of Buddhism. That's why Loy Krathong is important in Thailand and celebrated annually.

Where to Celebrate Loy Krathong Festival

Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated all over Thailand. You can enjoy the festival nearly everywhere in the country where there is water. There are some certain places holding various interesting celebrations and we recommend Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Sukhothai, Phuket, Pattaya, and Phi Phi Island. Each venue features its own unique traditions. 

#1 Sukhothai

Sukhothai is believed to be the birthplace of Loy Krathong Festival and it is still one of the best places to experience the colorful festival. In addition to floating lights to the river, you will see parades, beauty contest, folk music performances and light and sound shows in Sukhotai Historical Park.

Remember to book hotels in advance if you want to experience Loy Krathong in Sukhothai, as it is a popular tourist destination with a limited number of hotels. 

#2 Chiang Mai - When lights on the water meets the lanterns in the sky  

Chiang Mai is especially attractive because it is the right place where Loy Krathong meets Yi Peng Festival, a floating lantern festival in northern Thailand. The sights of thousands of candlelit lights floating down the river and the paper lanterns are flying in sky is really amazing. These two festivals attract lots of tourists every year to enjoy the celebrations of the city’s most incredible parades, firework display, launching sky lanterns, listening to Thai-Western fusion music and Traditional Lanna Dance Performance in public places. 

Read more about Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival: 

Ultimate Guide about Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai

#3 Bangkok

Bangkok is also a great Loy Krathong destination. The city has many waterways and ponds in the public area where families, lovers and friends gather together and release their krathongs. Wat Yannawa and Wat Arun are good places for releasing krathongs down the Chao Phraya River. Asiatique is one of the best areas for celebration as well. 

If you want to launch your own krathong, remember to buy them made of natural materials, including banana leaves, banana tree bark, spider lily plants and so on instead of glossy paper, plastics and Styrofoam. 

If you happens to arrive at Chiang Mai or Bangkok during the festival, seize the opportunity to immerse at local fesitval atmosphere! 

See more information about Loy Krathong Festival in Bangkok:

Ultimate Guide about Loy Krathong Festival in Bangkok

Feel confused of which city to visit? We have prepare the ultimate guide for you:

Which is Better for Loy Krathong Festival: Bangkok VS Chiang Mai

#4 Phuket

Phuket is the ideal place to launch your misfortunes along with your krathongs right to the ocean. People gather together in the most popular beaches such as Patong, Kata and Karan Beaches to release their krathongs.

Tour Thailand During the Loy Krathong Festival

Chiang Mai and Bangkok hold the largest celebration during Loy Krathong Festival. If you want to visit the places mentioned above or other destinations in Thailand to experience the authentic Loy Krathong Festival, UME Travel can offer you our proffesional assistance. Contact us and we can help you arrange a trip according to your requests. See these tours for inspiration:

Our most popular Thailand tours:

These two Thailand tours both include Chiang Mai and Bangkok. If you come for Loy Krathong Festival, consider them!

9 days Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai - Phuket Essencial Tours - Experience the heart of Thailand and all must-see in 9 days.

12 days Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - Ayutthaya - Sukhothai - Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Phuket Historical, Cultural & Nature Tour - Designed specially for culture and/or history lovers. This tour will show you authentic Thailand culture and Thai locals real life. Also have some days on beach!

When is Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong falls on the evening of the full moon date of 12th month of Thai Lunar calendar which is usually in November in western calendar. The exact date is different almost every year but it is always at the end of rainy season and the beginning of the dry season which is the best to time to visit Thailand.  

Loy Krathong Dates in this year and the following year

2018: November 23rd

2019: November 13th

2020: November 1st

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had announced the official events schedule for 2018 Chiang Mai’s Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals from 20 ~ 23 November. The schedule is very similar each year, so you can take it for reference.

Day 1: 

November 20, at 6:00pm:

The opening ceremony of Lighting Candle Tray, with traditional Lanna dance performances at The Three Kings Monument.

November 20, 7:30pm to 11:00pm:

Lighting candle trays around city moat at all city fortresses.

November 20~23, 7:00pm to 11:00pm:

Lighting candle trays to worship the Lord Buddha, at The Three Kings Monument. Also displayed here booth demonstrating Lanna handicraft.

Day 2:

November 21, at 6:00pm:

The opening ceremony for Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival 2018 at Tha Pae Gate.

November 21, at 7:00pm:

Yee Peng Kids Contest, at Chiang Mai Municipality Office.

November 21~22, 7:00pm to 11:00pm:

Mister and Miss Yee Peng Contest, at Tha Pae Gate.

Day 3:

November 22, 9:00am to 3:00pm:

The Krathong making contest, at Chiang Mai Municipality Office.

November 22, 8:00am to 10:30am:

Worshipping ritual to House Spirits, White Pagoda and Ping River, at Chiang Mai Municipality Office, Sri Khong Pier.

November 22, 7:00pm to 10:pm:

Floating the candlelit Krathong down the Ping River, along the Ping River in front of the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.

November 22~23, 7:00pm to 10:00pm:

Traditional Lanna Dance Performance, at Chiang Mai Municipality Office.

November 23, 7:30pm and 9:30pm:

Fireworks displays, along the Ping River in front of the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.

Read more information for ultimate Thailand Festival & event list all around the year:

Thailand Calendar and Festival 2018/2019

Loy Krathong Traditions

Loy Krathong Activities

In this great traditional festival, there are lots of celebration activities over all Thailand and especially in Chiang Mai, such as traditional Lanna dance performance, floating the candlelit Krathong down the river, fireworks display, and launching the paper Krathong lantern into the sky, Noppamas Beauty Contest etc. 

Read more about intersting activitiess happened on the festival:

Traditional Activities & Celebration in Loy Krathong Festival

What to Eat During Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong Festival is also a food feast. Delicious Thai dishes with some best wines will be fantastic. You will also find many food vendors along the streets, selling home cooked Thai food, green curry, pad thai, and papaya salad with various appearances.

Loy Krathong Art & Craft

Rice paper made floating lantern and banana leave made krathongs can be seen everywhere during Loy Krathong Festival. Do you know what is like and how to make it? Do you want to release one that made by yourself? Please read more information here:

Everything & Guides about Loy Krathong Lanterns in Thailand

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Thailand Lantern Festival is quite magical. when you lit your candle and watch your krathong float away down the river and your paper lantern fly into the sky, just think how lucky you are to be a part of it!

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