After moving to Chiang Mai, I was lucky to enjoy the best it can offer – Yi Peng festival!
A lantern festival is that type of event that ANYBODY in the world like, in my opinion. Really, how can you not? Just look at the picture!
I was really lucky to catch that festival, it took place just a week after I moved to Chiang Mai. Before I did not know that festival existed, but now I understand how much would I miss if I would not be here to the the magic happening in real life!
I will tell you all about it now. Basically, there are 2 festivals:
Loi Krathong is a festival observed yearly in Asia in various regions such as Burma and Laos. It depicts a floating basket derived from the culture of making buoyant and festooned baskets made to hover on a river. While releasing the baskets, participants make a wish to be lucky and their wishes fulfilled.
However, in Chiang Mai, this light festivity also known as Yi Peng lantern festival is unique. For instance, instead of using water vessel, people release these lightened lamps in the skies as they make a wish.
This second one is way cooler in my opinion.
Here is why:
The atmosphere transforms into a superb and surreal sea of lanterns hovering away. It is simply a mesmerizing spectacle! The local festivity of Yee Peng is a Thai religious ceremony that seeks to pay homage to Buddha. Normally, the precise date is kept in a secret and never announced until it is few weeks leading to the occasion. In my case it was September 25th 2014.
The Loi Krathoung festival in its turn is made specially for tourists (so that they don’t ruin the sacred tradition of the first one I suppose ;)). Usually, it takes place a week or two after Yi peng and with a cost of 100$. (Wow, that’s super expensive for Asia! But the tickets are apparently sold out already). the only advantage is that the foreigners can understand everything since the rite is in English.
Despite that I would definitely recommend to go to the real one Yi Peng (hosted by Mae Jo university yearly) – it is free and you can really feel the spirit, the original purpose of releasing all your fears, dark thoughts in the sky!
- As the event is religious, dress appropriate – covered shoulders and knees.
- You should know that there are numerous lantern sellers on the way to the field where the festival is held. They have different shape and colors and they cost very cheap (around 30 baht each). You can totally release it before, but remember, you won’t be allowed with those to the field! You will have to buy the classic shape lanterns there and it will cost you no more no less but 100 baht for one.
- Remember the event is crowded – people from all the places around come to participate. My advice – try to get there with your own motorbike (the rent of one day is maximum 200 bahts), otherwise getting back will be a nightmare.
- Try to get there in advance, the main show starts at around 7 pm, but by the time there will be no place probably.
- there are tons of food stalls everywhere, so you do not have to worry about food!
It is truly an unforgettable experience, try it out!
WHERE TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI
I hope by now I have convinced you that Chiang Mai is definitely a place to stop for a while. Except the abundance of adventurous stuff, Chiang Mai is considered to be the cultural capital of Thailand. There are tons of things to do, tons! That is why you should definitely stay for a while!
But where? Patience, I have some tips for you depending on your budget. Click the links to see the rates for your specific dates:
- Luxury stay – a 5* hotel named X2 Chiang Mai Nimman Villa has it all – great location, stylish decor and amazing reviews, I suddenly want to stay there too! Baan Saen Fang Chiang Mai can be a great alternative to X2 as it is luxurious as well, and it offers very attractive rates if booked in advance:
- Medium price range – zzziesta Chiang Mai is located very close to everything, offers free bikes and comfortable rooms with a kitchenette. Alternatively, BED Phrasingh Hotel is located literally in the heart of the old center, offers outdoor swimming pool and daily complimentary local breakfast snacks, great reviews!
- Budget stay – if you want to stay in the center and on budget, D-Well Hostel is your ideal place! 9.9 out of 10 is truly something! Book in advance! If you want to stay near the best Chiang Mai’s the night life, you should go for Wow’ House, the vibe there will definitely leave you speechless!
BONUS – WHERE TO RENT A MOTORBIKE IN CHIANG MAI
I recommend Chiang Mai Scooter Rental – they are the best on the market at the moment!
These are just some of the perks you will get by renting from them:
- free motorbike delivery to the airport, railway station or your accommodation in Chiang Mai etc.;
- free bike pick up as well – if, say, you leave at 5 a.m. you can still use the bike to drive to the airport and just leave it there locking the keys;
- if something breaks you will only have to cover the dealer price of the broken part, not more;
- more then 60 bikes in perfect condition to choose from (including special ones for tall people)
- an anti-theft device;
- first-aid kit with everything you might need in case of emergency and a health insurance;
Oh, and if you mention “Miss Tourist” you will get the full fuel tank for free!! 😉
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