The Chiang Mai Yi Peng (aka Yee Peng) festival is one of many spectacular occasions in the Thailand event calendar. The Yi Peng festival is unique to Chiang Mai, and I suggest if you are planning a trip to Chiang Mai, visiting during the Yi Peng festival could be one of the best times.
What is the Yi Peng Festival?
You may have heard of Yi Peng, if you have I suspect you have also seen some breathtaking photos of hundreds of khom loi (floating lanterns) being released simultaneously into the night sky above Chiang Mai. It is this simultaneous release of the lanterns which creates the visual image we associate with Yi Peng, and this is the occasion you do not want to miss.
The Chiang Mai Yi Peng festival happens during the Loy Krathong festival period, which takes place throughout Thailand. Similar to Loy Krathong, Yi Peng has Buddhist and Hindu origins and is very much a spiritual event. The act of releasing khom loi into the sky and floating krathongs on the water is a veneration of Buddha and other deities.
The act of releasing a krathong or khom loi is also thought to cleanse the person of bad karma and fetch good luck and is often accompanied by a few words of prayer.
Chaing Mai Yi Peng Festival Dates
The Yi Peng festival coincides with the Loy Krathong festival on the day of the full moon in the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar, which is usually November.
IMPORTANT: Please check on-line closer to the time of the festival for official Yi Peng Festival event dates, especially for the dates of the mass khom loi release.
The name “Yi Peng” actually originates from the ancient Lanna Kingdom, of which Chiang Mai was the capital. Yi means two, in this case it refers to the second month of the old Lanna lunar calendar, Peng means full moon day.
The Chiang Mai Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festival often lasts several days, and a variety of other spectacles and shows such as boat races and beauty pageants will be held during those days.
Where Does The Mass Khom loi Release Take Place?
The mass khom loi release, what you might call the main event, takes place at Mae Jo University, at around 6:30 pm.
Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival Videos
The Yi Peng festival is on my list of must see and do things in Thailand. So for now here are some great videos I found on Youtube. The first one gives a description of what the Yi Peng festival is all about. The videos capture the atmosphere of the event very well, and I’m sure, like me, you will be itching to go.
More Ways to Enjoy Chaing Mai
There’s lots of great things to see and do in Chaing Mai. The last time I visited Chiang Mai I managed to tick a couple of items off my bucket list, the first of which was the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
The second, and one which rates among the best guided tours I’ve taken in Thailand was the Chiang Mai Hill-tribe tour.