Have you ever wished you could step into a real life fairy tale? Welcome to Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai!

And bring lots of SD cards because you will take about a gazillion photos (see the gallery at the bottom of this post for proof!).

Lantern Decoration in Lamphun Yi Peng


When I first came to Chiang Mai I did not know much about what events there were. Being a pantser, not a planner, as per NaNoWriMo speak, I usually book a one-way ticket to somewhere and figure it all out when on location. Stumbling through the world, so to speak.

So I just happened to stay in Northern Thailand when November came up, and with it one of the most enchanting events ever (at least in my travel book).

Lonely Yellow Lantern
Loy Krathong Lee Peng Lantern Festival Chiang Mai Thailand

The lovely sky lanterns have been banned from Chiang Mai as they put houses on risk for fire. As fascinating and emblematic as they are, this is also a good decision ecologically…

Loy Krathong and Yi Peng – the traditional Festival of Lights and the Lantern Festival which usually happen together – are seriously one of the most magical experiences.

The festival lasts several days with thousands (or maybe millions) of lights and lanterns.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival Lamphun

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many lanterns!

There are dances, parades, temple ceremonies – you can hardly close your mouth from the awe overload.

So much ornament, so much color, so much beauty!

Thai Lady at the Loy Krathong Parade


The krathong are little floating baskets made of leaves, flowers, and candles. Some have incense sticks, coins or food added.

Krathong Ready To Be Released


They are released onto rivers and ponds to thank the Goddess of Water. Also, symbolically, all negative emotions can drift away (we need more krathong in our lives, y’all!).

Floating Basket on the River Ping


On one of the markets I stumbled into a free krathong making workshop:

Free Krathong Workshop


So I sat down with many Thais and created my very own krathong. First you cover a banana stem with banana leaf. That is the base for the float. Then you cut and fold banana leaves and fix them on the base in patterns. You cut the stems off flowers, replace them with toothpicks and then pin them into the leaves.


Et voilà!

Finished Krathong


Not to forget THE iconic Loy Krathong song


But beware – the chorus has high earworm potential. When you are in Chiang Mai for the festival you will hear the song about every 5 minutes on every corner, so brace yourself!

But enough words, let’s hop right into the (pre-pandemic) pics. Enjoy this visual feast!