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Yee Peng Festival 2013

Loy Khratong Festival – Chiang Mai 2013

Loy Krathong, or Yee Peng as it’s called in Northern Thailand is Chiang mai’s second biggest festival after the Thai New Year festival of Song Kran in April. Yeepeng lasts over several days and is a lunar festival with the main day falling on the full moon night of the twelfth Lunar month which this year falls on Saturday 17th November.

Loi Krathong is one of the most beautiful festivals of the year and a time to give thanks to the Goddess of Waters, seek forgiveness and float bad luck away. Loi means “to float” and Krathong are the small banana leaf floats containing candles, burning incense and flowers. The main tradition of the festival is to launch the Kratong down rivers and waterways to float away. Also popular in Chaing Mai are Khom Loi or fire lanterns which float upwards into the sky. Watching the sky fill with hundreds of Kom Loy all silently floating skywards and, in accordance with Thai beliefs, taking with them everyone’s bad luck is a magical part of Yeepeng. Down on the Ping River hundreds of little lights from Krathongs slowly drifting downstream makes a magnificent site.

Khom Loy LaunchFloating Khratongs
Launching a Khom Loy Fire Lantern and floating Kratongs on the Ping River during Yeepeng festival

Far less peacefully, fireworks are let off in abundance in celebration and the constant explosions last well into the night for several days providing a constant noisy background.The center of Loy Kratong activity in Chiang Mai is Narawat Bridge where Thai’s gather in large numbers to float their Kratongs down the river, launch Khom Loys and party. It can seem like a war scene with so many people launching fireworks, and throwing firecrackers though the authorities are clamping down more on anti-social behaviour than they did in the past.

Other attractions for Loi Krathong include:

  • The Krathong Parades
  • Lanna lantern displays all over town
  • Beauty contests
  • Fireworks displays


Event’s officially run from 10th-18th November with the nights of 16-18 being the main festival. These include the mass lantern launch near Mae Jo University, San Sai on 16th November. The official opening ceremony for Loy Khratong is on 16th November at Thapae Gate from 6.30 p.m.

Yee Peng - Khom Loy
Khom Loy Launch at San Sai

Lantern Displays

There will be Lantern displays at several points around the city. These displays run from 10th November until 18th. The Opening Ceremony for the Lantern Display is on 10th November at 6pm until 7.30pm ‘Colour of the Miracle Night at Yee Peng Chiang Mai Festival’ at the Lanna Folklife Museum (opposite the Three Kings Monument). Chiang Mai City moat will be decorated with floating Krathongs with displays at the various gates and around the moat.

The displays will run from 6 p.m. until Minight at the following locations:

  • ‘Miracle of Lanna Lantern in Honour of HM The King’ – Lanna Folklife Museum (opposite the Three Kings Monument)
  • ‘Chiang Mai the Most Splendid City of Culture’ – Chang Puak Gate
  • ‘Celebration for the Auspicious Year of HM The King’ – Sri Phum Corner of the Moat
  • ‘Sawadee ASEAN’ – Thapae Gate
  • ‘12 Zodiac Animals’ – Chiang Mai Gate
  • ‘Fantasy Elephant Herd’ – Gu Huang Corner of the Moat
  • ‘Miracle Lantern Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival’ Suan Dok Gate

From November 8 – 18 there is the Wualai Handicrafts Fair (Silverware) at Wualai Road.

Main Loy Khratong events -16-18 November 2013

For the main events schedule on each day check out our events calendar for the following days:

16 November
17 November
18 November

Gay Yeepeng

So what should us gay folks do to celebrate Yeepeng? As this festival is important to Thai’s most head down to the river and Thapae Gate areas of town including all our favorite guys. Restaurants are very popular, especially those near the river and downtown which will all be packed. Our best recommendations are to eat early in other parts of town then head off to see the parades and beauty contests. These are quite noteworthy for admirers of the male body with many handsome young Thai guys clad only in traditional sarongs.

Soho Bar is having a Loy Khratong Special night on 17 November, whilst Adam’s Apple Club has a special show on each night of 16 -18 November. Check out our events calendar for other parties.

The two main parades are on the 17th and 18th November and the route is from Thapae Gate to the Chiang Mai Municipality offices on the river. The 18th is the night of the large Khratongs.

Loy Khratong boys in paradeBoys in Loykhratong parade
Handsome Thai guys clad only in lanna style costumes are a great attribute of the parades

Photos by our friend Frank at who has posted some great photos of previous year’s Loy Khratong parade on his blog – visit it to checkout the full slideshow.

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