Our experience at Yi Peng and Loi Krathong festival
We were lucky that we could experience the bucket list event of Yi Peng on invitation of filmmaker Brandon Li. We we helped him creating his Chiang Mai travel film during this event and releasing a lantern was part of one of the scenes.
The next day we went to the old town to take part in the unpaid event. It had a completely different vibe and was much more fun to walk around in the beautifully decorated streets with lanterns. In the old town they release the lanterns unorganized. You could still take magical shots of the lanterns, but you have to be a bit lucky to get a perfect shot with a large concentration of lanterns in the sky.
The Loi Krathong festival also takes place during Yee Peng festival but is a different type of festival. A Krathong is traditionally a small floating container made of leaves and a traditional Thai dish to thank the Goddess of Water. The Mae Ping river is during this event magically lit with all the small floating krathongs. A biodegradable krathong will disintegrate after a few days and can be eaten by fish.
Read our complete guide to the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival here!
Practical information about Yi Peng and Loi Krathing festival
Getting there: With a rental scooter, car or taxi. Keep in mind that the city will be very busy and that some streets will be closed, so taking the scooter or a taxi is recommended.
Entrance fee: In the city it is free, the tickets for the organized festival starts at $100.
Best time for photos: At the paid festival, the best timing is when all the lanterns are being released. In the city you can take pictures of the lanterns being released unorganized all night long.
Photo tip: Make sure you have all the settings of your camera right before the lanterns are being released. Put your ISO up, open your aperture and set your shutter speed right, not too slow of course because that will blur the lanterns. Take some tests shots, and then go for it and enjoy the evening!