Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai festival that is celebrated annually and is also known as the ‘festival of lights’.
The date of the festival is marked by the appearance of the full moon. This means that the dates vary from year to year. However as a general guide, Loy Krathong is held in November.
Loy Krathong Festival of Lights 2018 Lantern Dates, Chiang Mai Thailand
Traditionally, krathongs were designed from banana trunk pieces to ensure buoyancy. Modern krathongs however, are made from either bread or modified plastic (although the latter is discouraged due to water and environmental pollution). The highlight of the event is the inclusion of candles in the krathongs so that the floating baskets create an amazing array of lights that gives Loy Krathong the name ‘festival of lights’.
Locals and visitors alike are enthralled by the sheer delight of setting the baskets afloat. This is usually done as one makes a wish. A number of individuals toss a coin to appease the river spirits and bring good luck their way. Watching the krathongs float away is an exciting experience, especially for first-time visitors. The sight of thousands of lights, drifting away and the gentle breeze causing the flames to flicker in the calm of the night is a breathtaking experience.
To best enjoy Chiang Mai Loy Krathong, head to anywhere along the moat where you will see people letting off lanterns. The biggest crowds gather along Tha Phae Road on the night of the full moon with the biggest crows along the Ping River between Nawarat Bridge and Iron Bridge. Just make sure to buy your lantern in advance, as they do sell out. You may be hard pressed to find a vendor selling them on the street. If you do find lanterns for sale on the evening of Loy Krathong, they may be at wildly inflated prices, so it is best to purchase in advance.
If you are coming to Chiang Mai just for the festival, there is countless accommodation choices available. There are too many hotels, hostels, apartments and guest houses to mention, but you can find a bargain anywhere in the city. If you are interested in browsing the range of accommodation options, click the links below.