How to Plan for the 2019 Yee (Yi) Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand

How to Plan for the 2019 Yee (Yi) Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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I had been wanting to go to Chiang Mai for the longest time, and the Yee Peng Festival was one of the main reasons why. Thousands of lanterns floating away into the night sky is a magical sight and one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Dreamy and surreal, it felt almost like a fairy tale.

After years of talking about it, it was in 2017 when Ren and I decided to finally scratch it off our bucket list. Planning for it however, turned out to be harder and more confusing than I expected. When I was doing research for the trip, I read about public events, free events, a Thai-only event, private events, and a big university event that sounded on the verge of collapsing. Much of the information online seemed outdated and there was no single resource to make planning for the Yee Peng Festival easy and headache-free.

After experiencing Yee Peng in 2017, I wanted to write an article describing the ins and outs of the festival, something that could answer all the important questions about the event in a single post. If you’re looking to attend the 2019 Yee Peng Festival, then you may find this guide useful.

COVER PHOTO: “Yee-Peng-Festival-floating-lanterns-in-Chiang-Mai-Thailand” by Guy Tetreault, used under CC BY 2.0

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Sky lantern

When is the 2019 Yee Peng Festival?

The Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival is celebrated annually on the evening of the full moon of the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar, so the exact date changes from year to year. When we attended in 2017, it was held on the 3rd of November. This year, it will be celebrated on Monday, November 11, 2019.

We bought tickets to the 2017 Doi Saket Private Event through CMStay and they recently announced that tickets are already on sale for the 2019 event. You can click on that link to purchase tickets or follow their Facebook page for event updates.

What’s the Difference Between the Yee (Yi) Peng and Loy (Loi) Krathong Festivals?

If you’ve been doing research for the Yee Peng Festival, then you may have read about Loy Krathong. The difference between the two was one of the things that confused me when planning last year’s trip. Apparently, many people are, including some Thais. From what I understand, both happen at around the same time and involve the release of lanterns or vessels. Where they differ is how and in what regions they’re celebrated.

Loy Krathong involves the making of buoyant leaf containers which are then floated down a river. The word krathong refers to the vessels fashioned from the trunks of banana trees or spider lily plants, which are then decorated with flowers and made to hold candles or incense, even small offerings. The Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated throughout Thailand.

Yee Peng, on the other hand, involves the release of sky lanterns made from a thin fabric like rice paper stretched over a bamboo or wire frame. A candle is attached to the frame, which when lit, traps hot air inside to create enough lift for the lantern to float into the sky. It works in the same way as a hot air balloon. Unlike Loy Krathong which is celebrated throughout Thailand, including the north, Yee Peng is a Lanna (Northern Thai) tradition celebrated only in Northern Thailand, with the biggest events being held in Chiang Mai.

The most confusing part for me is when they’re actually held. They’re celebrated at around the same time but not exactly. Loy Krathong takes place during the full moon of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar, while Yee Peng takes place during the full moon of the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar. I’m not familiar with lunar calendars but they do seem to happen at roughly the same time every year, perhaps just a day or two apart.

Just know that attending the Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai means that you’ll probably get to experience the Loy Krathong Festival as well. When we attended the Doi Saket Yee Peng Private Event, we were given both a sky lantern and a krathong. In our program guide, it explained that the purpose of Loy Krathong is to show gratitude to the Goddess of Water for a bountiful harvest, while the releasing of the sky lanterns for Yee Peng is meant to send away bad luck and usher in good fortune.

Where Can I Watch the Yee Peng Sky Lantern Release?

This was another thing that was causing me confusion. When doing research for our trip, I often read about free events and private events and some big main event held at a university with monks as part of the celebration. I was confused because before we went, I had always assumed that there was just one Yee Peng event, but that isn’t the case! There’s actually one big event celebrated at Mae Jo University with smaller private events held at other venues in Chiang Mai. They differ in cost and number of lanterns released. Here’s a quick description for each.

Mae Jo Event (YPLI)

Known as Yee Peng Lanna International (YPLI), this is THE lantern release event. It’s held at Mae Jo University and is known for being the biggest Yee Peng event in Chiang Mai. A total of 4,000 tickets are sold to the Mae Jo event which are usually snapped up within the first month or two of going on sale. If you’ve seen pictures or videos of thousands of lanterns blanketing the Northern Thai sky, then chances are they were taken at this event.

Seeing 4,000 lanterns being released into the sky at the same time is a spectacular sight and the reason why tourists flock to Chiang Mai every year for Yee Peng. If you’re one of those people, then this is the event you want to attend, if you can afford it.

In 2018, tickets to the Mae Joe event didn’t go on sale till around September and it cost between THB 5,600-12,500 per ticket. At today’s exchange rate, that’s about USD 175-392 per ticket! If you have money to burn, then this is the event you should attend because it’s the biggest and most spectacular. sells tickets to the Mae Joe event every year so you can check their website for updates. Kkday sells tickets to the Mae Jo event as well and they should be offering them again this year.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

003A8622” by John Shedrick, used under CC BY 2.0

Private Events

We attended the 2017 Yee Peng Private Event at Doi Saket. It was less than half the size of the Mae Jo event with a maximum of 1,600 tickets sold. It was still a spectacular event nonetheless and a good option for people who don’t want to pay at least THB 5,500 for a ticket.

We bought our tickets through CMStay which is one of many resellers to this Doi Saket Private Event. We purchased our tickets in May 2017 for THB 2,500 apiece. Still pricey for sure, but less than half the cost of a YPLI ticket. You can scroll down for pictures and descriptions of this event. I don’t know if there are other private events in Chiang Mai, but I’m assuming there are. I just didn’t hear or read about any others.

2019 is barely underway but tickets to the 2019 Doi Saket Private Event are already on sale. Surprising considering the 2019 Yee Peng Festival isn’t until the 11th of November. That’s how popular this festival is. Compared to just 1,600 lanterns in 2017, a maximum of 3,000 lanterns will be released this year. Tickets cost between THB 4,000-5,000 and can be purchased now on Please be advised that ticket prices tend to rise the closer it gets to the event. If you’re sure about going, then you may want to purchase them as soon as possible.

Nawarat Bridge

I didn’t know about this option until we were already in Chiang Mai. To the east of Chiang Mai Old City is Nawarat Bridge where you can buy lanterns and release them into the sky. It doesn’t have the visual drama of thousands of lanterns floating up to the sky at once, but it may be a good option for people who don’t want to pay for Mae Jo or private event tickets. You just need to pay for the sky lantern which costs about THB 40 each.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

nawarat bridge” by Gregor Dodson, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Yee Peng 2017 Private Event at Doi Saket

As described, we attended the 2017 Private Event at Doi Saket. If you’ll be attending this year’s event, then this is what you can expect.

Pickup at Prasert Land

The meeting point was at the parking lot of Prasert Land, which is about a ten-minute Uber ride from Chiang Mai Old City. Waiting for us there at 3PM were 150+ vans to take us to the event venue at Doi Saket, which is about an hour away.

Before we got there, I thought this was an exclusive CMStay private event but it isn’t. As described, CMStay is just one of many ticket sellers for this Doi Saket Private Event, so be sure to check in at the right table.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Food Stands

I wasn’t sure what the food situation would be, but we were pleasantly surprised to find many vendors selling different types of Thai food at the event.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

These were interesting. I thought they were eggs at first but they’re actually made with a coconut batter. Called kanom krok, these coconut-rice pancakes are made by pouring a batter of rice flour, sugar, and coconut milk into a hot pan with multiple indentations.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sprinkle some sugar and they’re good to go. They’re delicious and very coconut-y.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Event Stage & Seating

As described, there were 1,600 seats and lanterns at the 2017 event. Waiting on every chair was a sky lantern, a leaf vessel, and an event souvenir. There was a stage up front where cultural dances were performed throughout the night, including a fire-breathing dancer.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

There we are, seats 661 and 662.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Loy Krathong River Lantern Release

It was getting dark so we took our loy krathong offerings and walked to the river. Pretty right? Unlike the releasing of the sky lanterns which is coordinated and done at a specific time, you’re free to release your krathong on your own time.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Waiting for us there were torches where we could light our incense sticks before sending them down the river. There was a crapload of people there and not enough real estate by the river so it got pretty crowded.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

There’s our tribute to the Goddess of Water, floating downstream. Be sure to give thanks and make a wish before releasing your krathong.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yee Peng Sky Lantern Release

Needless to say, this was the evening’s highlight. Releasing of the sky lanterns began at 8:45PM. The emcee would do a countdown to get everyone to release their lanterns at the same time, but it didn’t really work out that way. It was much harder to get these lanterns to inflate so people were basically releasing them when ready. Still, it was a beautiful sight.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Apologies for the crappy pictures, but I was focused on releasing my own lantern so I couldn’t walk around to take better pictures. I only had one shot at this so I was recording video with one hand whilst helping Ren release our lanterns with the other. It wasn’t easy! 😆 But believe me when I say that it was much more dramatic than these pictures show.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

This Doi Saket Private Event may have had less than half the number of lanterns as the Mae Jo Event, but it didn’t lack in drama or impact. Visually, it was stunning. The sight of these giant lanterns slowly rising and floating away was both beautiful and moving.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the things that surprised me most about the event was the feeling of camaraderie between the festival-goers. It was harder than we thought to inflate the lanterns without burning so complete strangers would come over offering their help. It was a warm and infectious feeling that inspired you to do the same for the next person. That to me was every bit as beautiful as the sight of the lanterns themselves.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Make a wish, say a prayer, and just let it go.
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The releasing of the lanterns carried on until around 9:30PM. It wasn’t as coordinated as I was expecting but it was still impactful, and cathartic. Not to be (too) dramatic, but if you have any resentment, ill feelings, or emotional baggage that you need to let go, then this is the perfect time to do it. ♥
Yee Peng & Loy Krathong Festivals, Chiang Mai, Thailand

For more suggestions on attractions, check out this short video I put together of seven fun things to do in Chiang Mai.


As described, the Doi Saket Private Event had less than half the number of lanterns as the Mae Jo Event but it didn’t fall short in visual impact or beauty. Sure, it wasn’t as dramatic as Mae Jo, but 1,600 is still a LOT of lanterns which easily filled up the night sky. We certainly didn’t leave feeling like we had gone to a watered down Yee Peng event and missed out on something. We left happy and 100% satisfied.

With that said, Yee Peng Lanna International at Me Jo is still THE main lantern release event, so you should go to that if you can afford it. But if you find it too pricey like we did, then this private event at Doi Saket is a good alternative. Regardless of which event you go to, just be sure to plan your trip early enough to guarantee yourself a seat.

In parting, here are a few tips to help you plan for the next Yee Peng Festival. I hope you found this post useful and enjoy your time in Chiang Mai!

Yee Peng Travel Tips

1. Plan Early

The 2019 Yee Peng Festival isn’t until the 11th of November, but tickets to the Doi Saket Private Event have been on sale since January. The Yee Peng Festival is popular so it’s best to plan as early as possible. Without question, tickets WILL sell out. If you’re sure that you’d prefer to attend the private event, then I suggest purchasing your tickets now. You ca do so via If you’d rather go to the Mae Jo Event, then watch or Kkday for updates on ticket sales.

2. Remember Your Van Number

In 2017, there were over 150 vans that took people from Chiang Mai city to Doi Saket. When the event was over, we had to check every van to find ours. You have no idea where your van will park after it drops you off so the only thing you can do is remember its number. With more seats at the 2019 event, there will be even more vans so it’s important not to forget your van’s number. Otherwise, you may need to stick your thumb out to get home.

3. Rent a Pocket Wifi Device

Having a reliable connection to the internet is a must when traveling. You’ll need it to do research, convert currencies, or book an Uber should you forget your van’s number.

We rented a 4G pocket wifi device from Klook for THB 180 per day, which we picked up and dropped off at the Smile Wifi counter in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. You can pick it up and drop it off at Don Mueang Airport as well. Both counters are open 24 hours.

It was fast and we never had trouble connecting in our two weeks in Thailand. Aside from Chiang Mai, we spent time in Bangkok and Chiang Rai and it worked flawlessly there as well. The battery life was excellent. I’d switch it on early in the morning and it would last till about mid- to late afternoon. It came with a power bank too which was very handy.

4. Bring a Light Sweater or Scarf

Thailand, even up north, enjoys a tropical climate so it never gets too cold. It can get a little nippy out in the open though at night so be sure to bring a light sweater or scarf if you’re prone to feeling cold.

5. Relieve Yourself Before the Event

This was one of the things I was most concerned about so I made sure to relieve myself at our hotel before we went. There were two trucks loaded with porta potties so you never had to wait too long to use one, but 1,600+ people is still 1,600+ people. Number one is ok, but number two, maybe not so much. If you can, let it go at your hotel so you can let it go in comfort at the event.

For more Chiang Mai travel tips, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Chiang Mai, Thailand

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Chiang Mai, Thailand


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There are 53 comments for this article
  1. James Begg at 2:18 pm

    I have been to the lantern festival at Mae Jo University three times now. You do not need to buy tickets as entry is free, unless they changed it in 2017. There were way more than 4000 people there on each occasion.
    The organisers no longer allow you to bring lanterns in from outside, so you must buy from them, once at the venue. What is not mentioned is the audio entertainment, fantastic music and some singing that will give you goosebumps.
    It is a truly amazing event that should be on everyones bucket list.


  2. JB Macatulad at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing James. I believe they did change it in 2017. The Mae Jo event almost didn’t happen in 2017 and when it did, a maximum of 4,000 tickets were sold for the event. We went to the private Doi Saket event and the sight of 1,500 lanterns was pretty spectacular already. I can only imagine what 4,000 lanterns looks like.

  3. SHJ at 4:47 am

    I’m so happy to have found this information. I’m attending this year. I too was finding it confusing and overwhelming. I also thought the event was free. Now I’ll be watching for the YPLI ticket sales. Thank you sharing!

  4. JB Macatulad at 9:34 am

    You’re welcome SHJ! There were changes implemented in the last year or two it seems that makes it all the more confusing. Happy to hear you found our guide useful. Enjoy the festival! 🙂

  5. Bluettmoon at 3:39 am

    It’s very helpful! Thanks for your guide and video.
    I have a question. I watched your video and other videos of Yee Peng Lanna International 2017 ( It seems much better than Doi Saket Private Event.
    The point of event is the very moment that all people release their lanterns at one time, it will be awesome. But if people release lanterns one by one then it’s meaningless. I didn’t see that moment in your video. Did it fail?
    YPLI is truly much more expensive than Doi Saket Private Event. But for the effect(only from your video), it’s even more worthwhile. Double price, 10 times effect.
    And an anther question. I read James Begg’s comment. If it’s able to watch the event for free(even from the outside), it could save a lot of money. 5500 baht can allow me to buy a round flight ticket from my city to Bangkok lol.
    Hope you can answer my questions. Thanks.

  6. JB Macatulad at 11:11 am

    Hi Bluettmoon, yes I agree that YPLI would probably be much more spectacular. The sheer volume of lanterns in the air makes it more impressive.

    I do know what you mean about people not releasing their lanterns simultaneously during the Doi Saket event. Not sure if it happens every year but I did get frustrated at some people for not listening to the emcee about when to release their lanterns. In people’s defense, it isn’t that easy to light up the lantern and fill it up with hot air so that may have contributed to the poor timing. But whatever the reason, this is due to human error so I don’t think it’s the organizer’s fault. Not sure how they do it at YPLI but I’m assuming it can happen there too. When we went last year, there were only 1,500 lanterns at Doi Saket (likely less because many lanterns went unused) as opposed to the 4,000 at YPLI. Maybe having over twice as many lanterns makes the poor timing less noticeable? It’s possible.

    In any case, if you can afford the YPLI event then definitely go for that. I’ve never been to YPLI so I can’t speak about the possibility of watching it for free. But if you can arrange for your own transportation to Mae Jo and back, then I don’t see why not. Not sure how far that puts you but I’m assuming it’ll look less spectacular from a distance as opposed to standing from right beneath the mass of floating lanterns.

    Hope that helps and enjoy this year’s event! 🙂

  7. Bluettmoon at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for reply. Did you see the video i shared on last comment? From 30s on that video, it seems at least 70% of lanterns released synchronously.
    I wonder what look like in the other event cause you started records after the mass release. If i give 10 score for the effect on that Youtube video, what score will you give to Doi Saket event. You watched that moment:)

  8. JB Macatulad at 1:34 pm

    Hi Bluettmoon, yes I did watch that video. And from what I saw, it went pretty much the same as the Doi Saket event timing-wise. The big differene is the sheer number of lanterns at YPLI.

    Keep in mind that the Mae Jo event almost didn’t happen last year. The Doi Saket event was sold out but when YPLI was finally announced, many people who had Doi Saket tickets went to YPLI instead so there were a lot of empty seats. Let’s say only about 1,200 people were there instead of the 1,500 they originally planned for. If you apply the same 70% estimate to that, then that’s just 840 lanterns released in unison as opposed to 2,800 for YPLI. That’s over 3X as many and a huge difference visually.

    As advised, it really is all about numbers. They’ve increased the maximum number of tickets to this year’s Doi Saket event so it may be better. But like I said, if you can afford it, then definitely go to YPLI. Personally, I was satisfied with Doi Saket. I’m sure YPLI was much more spectacular but I wouldn’t pay that much for it. But that’s just me though, others may feel differently.

  9. Bluettmoon at 5:53 pm

    Yeah i understand. I decide to go to Doi Saket because YPLI hasn’t announce the date and i already booked the flight(bcause it’s very cheap on promotion). And 3000 lanterns are good enough.

  10. Lily at 2:49 pm

    Hi, JB. I am wondering how was the price of food sold on vendors? Can we bring our own food into that place?

  11. JB Macatulad at 11:14 pm

    Hi Lily, sorry but I don’t remember the prices exactly, but I don’t recall finding them too expensive. I’m pretty sure they were reasonable. But yes, I believe you can bring in your own food. I didn’t see any signs that forbade you from doing so.

  12. Ilse at 6:08 pm

    Thank you so much. My friend and I were planning to visit the festival this year but we didn’t know that we had to book the tickets in advance. Fortunately, we came across your page today and were able to book two tickets for the event! Thank you so much! We do have one question, when did you get your tickets? We just got a confirmation in the mail that our transaction was successful but no tickets yet. Do they come later?

  13. JB Macatulad at 10:39 pm

    Happy to hear that Ilse! Yes, you won’t get the tickets till the day of the event. I’m assuming you purchased tickets through CM Stay? If so, then you can email them to confirm. They usually respond quickly. Hope that helps and have a great time at the festival! 🙂

  14. Raph at 1:57 pm

    My wife and I just bought our tickets for Doi Saket after reading this story. Thanks for the insights! This year there are 2,400 tickets being sold, as I understand it, so we’re excited to attend. Are required to stay in your seat during the performances / throughout the day other than visiting the vendors? Just wondering how much flexibility there is to get around, because we were only able to get Section C.

  15. JB Macatulad at 6:36 pm

    Happy to hear that Raph! You’ll be assigned specific seats but you’re free to walk around. They’ll have torches throughout the venue so you can move and light your lanterns from different sections if you like. Many people were moving around and taking pictures from everywhere. Hope that helps and enjoy the festival! 🙂

  16. Lisa Damian at 3:04 pm

    Wonderful information. Thank you! It’s been on our bucket list for several years too, and we’re hoping to get there this year or next.

  17. Carina at 3:29 am

    Dear JB, thank you so much for this great insight report!! We are also planning to attend the event in Chiang Mai this year because seeing them laterns rise is also a bullet on my bucket list.
    I’ve been reading a lot about Yee Peng & Loy Krathong the last days but I still did not find out, why people do not just watch the flying laterns from outside of the festival – If there are tausands of light rising at the same moment, I guess you should even see this from far away – am I wrong?
    So I am still not sure if to buy tickets or not… We really want to see those rising laterns, but I am afraid that the ticket-events are an unauthentic “Fake” Tourism event – and not the traditional local “private” event I had in mind.. you understand what I mean?
    Another question: Is there any accommodation you can recommend in Chiang Mai?
    Would be really happy about your reply.
    Thanks again.
    BR Carina

  18. JB Macatulad at 10:26 am

    Hi Carina, these events are a bit far from the city center so it would be costly to arrange for a transfer to the event grounds and back. The private event we went to was in the middle of nowhere so there’s really nothing to do there but attend the event. Plus, observing the lanterns from directly underneath as participants is much more dramatic than seeing them from a distance.

    I do understand what you mean though. I guess these events do cater to tourists these days but I’m not sure if there’s an alternative. Personally, it was still a rewarding experience for us, even though the spirit of the event may have changed and become more diluted over the years.

    I’ve stayed at two places in Chiang Mai – the first in the Old City and the second in the Nimman area. Nimman is a nice trendy area but the hotel I stayed at was just ok. We loved the place we stayed at in the Old City. You can check my article on Sherloft for pictures and information. You can refer to my Chiang Mai guide as well.

    Hope that helps! Enjoy your time in Chiang Mai and let me know if you need help with anything else. 🙂

  19. Monica at 8:35 pm

    Thank you!!! This was very informative and cleared up a lot of confusion!

  20. Nicole Garcia at 9:23 am

    Do you know if there are alternatives to buying the official tickets through CM stay? I see they are sold out and I really wanted to go to this. Are there any resellers selling these?

  21. JB Macatulad at 4:18 pm

    Hi Nicole, keep an eye out on Kkday. The link is in the article. They may still release tickets if there are any left available. Good luck and I hope you make it to the festival!

  22. JOHN at 12:41 am

    Hi, BIG QUESTION…what day will they launch lanterns in Chiang Mai from the bridge…Nov 22nd or 23rd??? Very confusing…

  23. JB Macatulad at 12:50 am

    Hi John, the lantern releases from the bridge isn’t an organized event like YPLI or the private events. There are vendors there selling lanterns so I believe you can do it on both nights after 9PM. Scroll down to the “How to release a Sky Lantern in Chiang Mai” section of this article:

    According to the author: “In 2017, the sky lantern releases are acceptable only on the nights of Nov 3 and Nov 4, 2017 after 9pm*.”

    Hope that helps and enjoy the festival.

  24. Chanel at 12:06 pm

    Thank you!!! This whole thing is much more confusing than anticipated. I think we will try this event this year as we will be there the 22nd-24th. Thanks for writing and sharing 🙂

  25. Melissa at 10:26 am

    Have been talking about going to Thailand for this for a few years so I think in 2019 we may finally go. Thank you so much for the information because it has been as confusing to find anything out as you recalled. we were thinking of bringing our daughter with us when we go, is this an event you saw any children in attendance? Thank you!

  26. JB & Renée Macatulad at 9:29 am

    You’re welcome Melissa! I don’t recall seeing any children at the event but there’s no reason why you can’t bring your daughter. The event is in a huge open area with lots of vendors so I’m sure she’ll have a good time. Hope that helps and I hope you make it to Thailand soon! 🙂

  27. Cez at 5:44 pm

    The real festival is free and has always been free. The ticketed events have nothing to do with the real religious festivals. They have been created for tourists as a commercial activity. It is confusing with so many informations flying around but some real research need to be done depending on what you want to attend.

  28. JB & Renée Macatulad at 10:33 am

    Thanks for the information Cez. Do you have information on the real festival, the one that’s free? Where will it be held in 2018 and can foreigners attend? Any input would be helpful for people interested in attending. Thanks.

  29. Naiara at 6:57 pm

    Hello, I would like to use this post for a class work, can I use it to put the reference?

  30. Cez at 7:27 pm

    You’re welcome. Ok. The Loy Krathong and Yee Peng festivals are two different religious events and they are not commercial. They are celebrated every year. Loy Krathong is Lanna and is celebrated by releasing floating containers on the river and Yee Peng is Thai being celebrated by releasing flying lanterns in to the sky. One is celebrated for one day while the other for three days and they coincide in November of each year. Not celebrated only in all of Thailand but also in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, China and also Sri Lanka. Being celebrated by locals freely and it could happen anywhere at any time of the day(during the three days or one day). Foreigners are welcome to attend anywhere withouth paying because it is a holiday as any other holiday celebrated in other religions around the world(no schedule, no price, no publicity). Now, the ticketed events are created shows born out of tourism. And though it is nothing wrong in attending them if someone wishes to do so, they should know what they are attending to. So much confusion over the internet with so many information dumped randomly. Not only that these events are falsely advertised but are also creating tonnes of waste and pollution. The real festival is celebrated everywhere, in Thailand. Chiang Mai is well known because of the number of tourists the commercial shows attracts every year. One can go anywhere around the city and observe rituals, especially around the river, with many bridges being a good watching point. “Wats” or temples in the Old City and even around the gates in the ancient walls are also a good place to be. Inside the walls The Three Kings Monuments is another great spot. Hope this brings some fresh air to the existing information and please don’t get me wrong as I don’t come with bad intentions here and I’m sure you guys aren’t either. It is confusing for many and it was even for us before we talked to locals and read and watched a lot of materials. Thank you.

  31. JB & Renée Macatulad at 8:51 am

    Thanks for the lengthy explanation Cez. Yes, I was aware of the difference between the two festivals but I was wondering if there was a “real” event that featured a simultaneous mass release of lanterns, similar to the scale you see at the Mae Jo and private events. As touristy as they may be, that’s what people want to see, “real” or not. There doesn’t seem to be based on your explanation and what I’ve read on the internet.

  32. Rana at 5:44 pm


    this article helped me alot, but I have one question. Since the private event is selling tickets for Nov 11, 2019, Does that mean that the event in Mae Jo is also going to be at the same date? Just wanted to know if everyone celebrates Yee peng on the same day.

  33. Grace manek at 10:37 pm

    Hello,i’m from indonesia,is there any possibilty to attend this festival with free ticket?thank you.

  34. JB & Renée Macatulad at 8:29 am

    Hi Grace, I don’t think so. As far as I know, all private events and YPLI are paid events. If you want to release lanterns, then you can do so at the bridge.

  35. Nicole S at 11:02 am

    I have been wanting to go to this for a couple years but information was hard to come by. Thanks to you, I just purchased our tickets for this year! Thanks so much for the awesome information!!

  36. JB & Renée Macatulad at 9:31 am

    Happy to hear that Nicole! That’s exactly why I wrote it. Finding up-to-date information on the festival was difficult so I wanted to write one that was current and easy to understand. Glad to hear that it helped you. Enjoy the festival! 🙂

  37. Tammy brown at 9:16 pm

    I went in 2016 to the one near Mae Jo University. We drove ourselves there and found plenty of parking right outside the event grounds and then found a place outside the grounds to sit (arrived 3pm) and saw it for FREE (no ticket need because we were outside the grounds). It was wonderful. Lots of food carts by night fall and lots of people selling lanterns for cheap, 3 for 100 baht ($1).

  38. Mark Pochaw at 10:21 am

    I didn’t even realize that it was a paid event and that I had to book early. Thank you for the information.

  39. Shirley at 9:16 am

    Hi, my family is planning to go to the Yi Peng Chiang Mai Lantern Festival this year. We know that we need to pay for tickets to enter the festival, and we will receive 1 lantern per ticket. We would like to know if we can still enter the festival without paying for tickets for every single one of us if we only want 1 lantern (instead of 1 lantern per person)?

  40. JB & Renée Macatulad at 9:19 am

    Hi Shirley, I replied to your email yesterday. You didn’t receive it? In any case, you’ll each need to get a ticket to attend the festival. The ticket isn’t just for the lantern. It’s for roundtrip transportation and entrance as well. Hope that helps and enjoy the festival. 🙂

  41. Ben at 8:50 pm

    What’s the name of the exact location in Chiang Mai? We’d like to just go to the venue and take photos, no need to light the lanterns so was thinking no need to buy tickets. Is that possible?

  42. JB & Renée Macatulad at 8:14 am

    @Ben: YPLI is held at Mae Jo University. Not sure how close they’ll allow you to get without a ticket. Not too close I imagine.

  43. Hilary at 11:02 am

    I’m a little bummed and wish I’d seen this article sooner. I saw so many sites about buying tickets fast because they sell out, so I went ahead and bought some for Doi Saket thinking they were for the university. It says they are supposed to have 2,400-3,000 lanterns vs the University’s 4,000. How much of a difference do you think it’ll make visually? We will probably only ever go once, and I wanted to attend the best event. Think I jumped the gun!

  44. JB & Renée Macatulad at 9:06 am

    Hi Hilary, we know how you feel! We were in the same boat when we went. To be honest, there may be a noticeable difference. I’m basing this just on pictures I’ve seen of the Mae Jo event. Aside from the number of lanterns, they’ve been doing it longer so they may be more organized as well. People weren’t releasing the lanterns at the same time during the private Doi Saket event which was frustrating. The organizers may be better now though.

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