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Chiang Mai Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festival photo special

For one week around the full moon of the 12th lunar month, visitors to the Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai could be forgiven for thinking they had been transported into a war zone instead of the heart of the ancient Lanna (one million rice fields) kingdom.

Decorative Krathong in Chiang Mai

Decorative Krathong in Chiang Mai. Photo: john Le Fevre

Day and night the percussion of constantly exploding fireworks echo overhead as Chiang Mai celebrates the largest annual festival held in Thailand – Loi Krathong (floating raft) – and the traditional Chiang Mai Yi Peng (Festival of Lights).

Nowhere else in Thailand are these two coinciding festivals celebrated, and nowhere else are festivals celebrated with such enthusiasm as in Thailand’s North.

The festivities begin with a traditional Buddhist ceremony at Mae Jo University which is the prelude to the mass release of thousands of Khome Loi (sky lanterns).

Fireworks. floating Khome Loi and the burnt remains of Khome Loi that plummet to Earth, often in a fiery mass, are a common site and sound for visitors to Thailand’s second largest city.

Chiang Mai "sky lanterns" at Mae Jo University

Chiang Mai “sky lanterns” at Mae Jo University. Photo: John Le Fevre

The festivities conclude with a parade of giant Krathongs through the heart of Chiang Mai, while overhead Khome Loi battle for airspace.

This pictorial feature attempts to capture the enthusiasm, culture and traditions of Chiang Mai residents and visitors celebrating the Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festival in November 2008.

Launching Khom Loi at Mae Jo University, Chiang Mai

Launching Khom Loi at Mae Jo University, Chiang Mai. Photo: John Le Fevre

A parade of giant Krathongs heralds the end to the festival in Chiang Mai

A parade of giant Krathongs heralds the end to the festival in Chiang Mai. Photo: John Le Fevre

More on the Chiang Mai Loi Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals can be found here: Loi Krathong Festival and Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival – floating festivals of light

Video of the 2008 Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival can be found here: Newsblog video gallery

© John Le Fevre, 2008

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Thailand; Thailand tourism; Thailand travel; Loi Krathong Festival; Yi Peng Festival; Festival of Lights; Thailand Festivals; Buddhism festivals; sky lanterns; Chiang Mai
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John Le Fevre

John Le Fevre

Deputy editor, Thailand & GMS editor at The Establishment Post

John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 35 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and copy editor.

He is currently deputy editor and Thailand / GMS region editor for The Establishment Post

Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me

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One Response to Chiang Mai Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festival photo special

  1. Thailand Traveler Reply

    August 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Great Photos. I arrived in Bangkok a day before Loi Krathong on my first trip to Thailand several years ago. I was unaware the festival was going to take place, but felt so fortunate to have been there to see it.

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