Looking Ahead to Loi Krathong 2015

Loy Ktrathong Lantern

Loi Krathong is celebrated throughout much of Southeast Asia and is among Thailand’s most important festivals. This beautiful and fun-filled Thai holiday occurs on a different day every year but always takes place on the full moon in November. It is a time for families and friends to celebrate their relationships with one another and to wish for good health and fortune.

Loi Krathong Festival

The holiday gets its name from the loi krathong, which is a special floating structure that contains flowers, candles, and incense. Some are made from elaborately folded banana leaves in boat-like shapes while others are created by stringing together coconut shells.
Loi Krathong is centered on the ritual of releasing loi krathongs into the local river, canal, or other small body of water. On the evening of November’s full moon, Loi Krathong 2015 will be celebrated around November 25th, families and groups of friends go together to “set free” loi krathongs while simultaneously making wishes for a prosperous future and letting go of past troubles. The event makes for a stunning sight as thousands of twinkling lights and glowing embers slowly float downstream.

The celebration can last several days and is also accompanied by parades featuring huge floats of various themes and designs, beauty pageants with women dressed in Thai traditional clothing, longboat races, performances featuring mystical Thai creatures, and displays of fireworks. It is not uncommon for school children to create their own loi krathongs for their families or even participate in loi krathong-making contests.

Yee Peng Festival

As the Loi Krathong festival is celebrated all over Southeast Asia, the northern region of Thailand also celebrates Yee Peng during the same full moon period in November. This festival is meant as a time to give merit but is renowned for the release of softly glowing Lanna-style paper lanterns during the evening. It’s an incredible sight to see the hundreds or even thousands of lanterns float away in the night sky and carried away by a gentle breeze.

Where to Celebrate

One of the most spectacular places to witness these two November festivals is Chiang Mai. Both Loi Krathong and Yee Peng are combined and celebrated as one big light-freeing and wish-making festival. Families and friends gather together and release loi krathongs in the waterways and lanterns into the sky. It is an unforgettable and magical site and one not found anywhere else in the world.

While you’re in Chiang Mai for these festivals, be sure to explore what the rest of the city has to offer. There are plenty of day trips to be taken within the city and around Chiang Mai’s stunning countryside. November is a particularly cool time in Thailand, so visitors can look forward to sunny skies filled with fluffy white clouds and comfortable temperatures.

Why not complete your visit to Chiang Mai and take a half day excursion to the Maesa Elephant Camp not far north of Chiang Mai’s Old City. Consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these majestic beasts in their home of northern Thailand. During your excursion, learn about the important relationship between each elephant and their mahout (keeper) and watch as the elephants dance, paint, and play musical instruments. For an additional fee, you can also ride an elephant barebacked! This tour includes transportation to the camp in an air-conditioned van, hotel pick-up and drop-off, an English-speaking guide, a trip to a nearby orchid farm, and all entrance fees.
Just remember to book your tickets for the Chiang Mai Elephant Camp and Orchid Farm excursion early on before it fills up. Loi Krathong and Yee Peng festivals attract tens of thousands of people from all over the world each year, so be sure to reserve your spot in advance for an unforgettable trip.