If you get the chance to witness Loy Krathong or Yi Peng lantern festival, you will surely count it among the most magical moments in your life. Scenes of thousands of glowing paper lanterns set aloft on the night breeze and of countless miniature flotillas laden with flowers, candles, and incense drifting downriver will etch themselves onto your memory to be recalled again and again. As November approaches, we at Backyard Travel find ourselves waiting with anticipation for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng.
During the Loy Krathong festival, Thais symbolically ‘let go’ of all the year’s bad luck and misdeeds by releasing loy (sometimes spelled loi), or paper lanterns, and krathong, boats traditionally made of a slice of a banana tree trunk.
On the night of Loy Krathong, which depends on the lunar calendar, Thais in the center and south of Thailand travel to a nearby lake or river in the evening to set their krathong afloat. The little boats are lit with candles and carry beautiful arrangements of marigolds, orchids, and banana leaves. When thousands of krathong are released, they light up the water with light and color.
In regions north of Sukothai, Thais will also set off a loy into the night sky. Fueled by a burning wax wick, the lanterns float silently into the air. Seeing or releasing one yourself really does bring a peaceful feeling of release.
The Yi Peng festival, a similar celebration, historically took place in the Lanna Kingdom of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai, the ancient Lanna capital, holds a Yi Peng festival every year featuring a mass lantern release, where thousands of paper lanterns simultaneously take flight. The result is an absolutely jaw-dropping, unforgettable sight that sets your spirit flying.
This year, the Lanna Dhammakaya Foundation will host a Yi Peng 2558 (year 2015) festival on Saturday, November 21, and Wednesday, November 25. (The Saturday observation will not include a lantern release.) A guided Yi Peng tour that includes your own paper lantern, dinner, and cultural explanations can be arranged by Backyard Travel.
Festivals can be observed throughout the country from November 24 to 26. Locals often set off fireworks to accompany the paper lanterns, and most cities organize parades, live music, and other events. Some of the best places to see Loy Krathong are the Ping River and the Old City of Chiang Mai, the ancient city of Sukhothai, and the beautiful parks of Bangkok, including Lumphini, Benjasari, and Benjakiti.
To take part in Loy Krathong or Yi Peng this year, don’t hesitate to contact one of our local Travel Specialists. They’ll help you book a Thailand Loy Krathong trip you won’t forget.