The one event I will definitely be coming back to Chiang Mai for is its annual Loi Krathong/Yi Peng Lanna Festival. It is, by far, the liveliest, most vibrant celebration I have witnessed.
Every year, on the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai Lunar Calendar, the whole country celebrates the Festival of Lights. It features beautifully illuminated lanterns that are either carried, displayed in houses and temples, and even launched into the river and the night sky. While the festival is held in different parts of Thailand, the one in Chiang Mai is particularly stunning, especially the timed mass lantern launch held in Mae Jo University. Remember that lantern scene in the Disney movie “Tangled”? That was inspired by the Yi Peng Lanna Festival.
Now because I was
a little really disoriented by our red eye flight to Chiang Mai from Manila, my friend J and I ended up missing the mass lantern launch at Mae Jo. I had thought it was already Sunday when we arrived and I knew the Mae Jo launch was happening on a Saturday so I thought we had already missed it. But it turns out we were actually there Saturday morning. So…
*Head meets desk*
It took several bottles of ice cold beer the following evening for me to get over my teeny tinny massive booboo. (Argh)
Anyway, moving forward…we still got to make the most out of the festival weekend because our hotel was located right in front of Thaphae Gate, the starting ground for the festivities.
Every evening spent here was a visual feast :D
There was a parade every night of the festival that featured these beautifully lit floats and lanterns…
And of course, there was also the nightly launch of khom loy (sky lanterns) into the evening sky.
We may have missed the simultaneous launch in Mae Jo University, but literally everywhere in Chiang Mai, hundreds of khom loy were being launched into the sky and it was truly a magical sight.