In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong is preceded by Yee Peng (The Lantern Festival), during which people release floating lanterns into the sky. It is during Yee Peng that you see locals’ homes and public places decked out in colourful hanging lanterns and flag decorations. The word loy (or loi) means to float, whilst krathong are small rafts or baskets. Traditionally made from banana leaves or the bark of a banana tree, the krathongs usually contain a candle, incense and flowers. The person who will be floating the krathong will often take a small clipping of their hair or fingernail which will then be added to the krathong together with some coins. The candle and incense are then lit and a wish is made before the krathong is placed on the nearest stretch of water. It is believed that the krathong carries away bad luck and signals a fresh start.
As part of this festival of lights, there are plenty of other activities that happen all over Chiang Mai. These include traditional Thai dance shows, the official ‘Yee Peng Parade’ around the Old City gate and down Tha Phae Road, live music and handicraft sessions. You can also expect lots of food vendors setting up, firecrackers, fireworks, and hordes of tourists with selfie sticks (particularly around the Tha Phae Gate area).
In 2022, Loy Krathong and Yee Peng will take place in Chiang Mai over the dates of 8 – 9th November 2022.
Check out the four most popular places to celebrate Loy Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai.
The most well-liked location for locals to celebrate Loy Krathong is beside the Ping River. If you want to get a glimpse of Chiang Mai living away from the typical tourist hotspots, stroll down the river and join in the lively celebration there. Nawarat Bridge and the Iron Bridge are the ideal places to watch the celebrations.
The highlight is unquestionably when locals and visitors get together to release their khom loy (flying lanterns) into the sky and float their krathong (decorative flower rafts) down the river. The sellers there sell krathongs and sky lanterns for 30 to 100 baht (1-3 USD), depending on the size.
Tha Phae Gate, located to the east of the city, is another well-liked location to celebrate Loy Krathong. Like the heart of Chiang Mai’s old city, Tha Phae Gate is a gathering place for both tourists and residents to unwind, take pictures, and enjoy themselves.
It is quite busy during Loy Krathong. The festival’s opening ceremony, the Loy Krathong parade’s starting point, and the beauty contest are all hosted there. Tourists frequently let off sky lanterns in the large public square near to Tha Phae Gate.
When Loy Krathong and Yee Peng festivals are in full swing, the Three Kings Monument in Chiang Mai is unquestionably the city’s most lively place. It is the location of the Lanna Traditional Dance performance and The Lighting Candle Tray opening ceremony.
In front of the monument are thousands of candle trays, colorful hanging lanterns, and flag decorations.
If you don’t like battling with the crowds, a temple like Wat Phan Tao or Wat Lok Moli would be a better option for you to enjoy a respectful festive atmosphere.
You may observe monks at Wat Pan Tao blessing people and lighting lanterns in front of a statue of the Buddha. There will also be candles, lanterns, and lighting throughout the temple.
Sky lantern releases can be enjoyed by both villagers and visitors at the larger, more tranquil Wat Lok Moli temple.
5. Loy Krathong Festival at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort
Activities for the celebration include a rich buffet with Japanese, Italian, Thai, and Chinese gourmet treats, free krathongs, and a Lanna dance performance.