I’ve booked a flight to Chiang Mai at the northern tip of Thailand on November 28 and have just discover that’s the night of the lantern festival night. We’ll be staying in a hotel on Wualai Road, which isn’t too far from the airport and the city centre. Our flight doesn’t get in to Chiang Mai until 7pm. Will we have time to drop our luggage and join the festival? We really want to see it as it’s our first time in Chiang Mai.
Nationwide, the festival is known as Loy Krathong, and this year, as you’ve found out, it falls on November 28. In the Chiang Mai version, people also send lanterns into the sky, which are known as Yi Peng.
You will have more time to enjoy the festival than you might expect. The festival this year runs from November 27 to 29, so you will see the light from the lanterns as you arrive. If you land at 7pm, you should be at the hotel by 8pm and thus will have plenty of time to join the crowds, who happily release lanterns and fireworks until late, making the city sound rather like war zone. If you want to see the spectacular procession of krathong, head to Tha Pae Gate. Alternatively, you may go to the Navarat Bridge or anywhere along the Ping River to join the crowds releasing krathong on the river and lanterns in the sky.
If you want to rest that day, you can still attend the last day of the festival on November 29, which will see another grand krathong procession in Chiang Mai city as well as plenty of lanterns being released.
Hope you enjoy the festival!