Photo Essay: Yi Peng – Thailand’s floating lanterns festival

Lost? Here's how you got here:://///Photo Essay: Yi Peng – Thailand’s floating lanterns festival

Photo Essay: Yi Peng – Thailand’s floating lanterns festival

A Photo Essay

Yi Peng – Chiang Mai’s floating lantern festival

Yi Peng may just possibly be my favourite festival – at least in terms of the sheer beauty one experiences being here! If you would like details on how to get here, please see my Where & When post for the festival. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the photos (make sure you see all the pages, as they keep getting better and better as the night progressed!)

Yi Peng Lanterns Festival Dance 1

Before the lantern ceremony begins, there are several cultural shows to observe around the festival grounds.


Yi Peng Lanterns Festival Dance 2

This was a traditional Lanna ceremony in which 16 woman danced down the center of the grounds on the red carpet.


Yi Peng Lanterns Festival Dance 3

The woman were all in traditional dress, and wore long golden fingernails, which were incorporated into the movements of their hands.


Yi Peng Lanterns Festival Dance 4

The 16 women danced in synchronized movements and it was hypnotizing watching them with the glittering fingernails constantly catching your attention.


Yi Peng Lanterns Festival Dance 5

They danced from the moment dusk broke, until night had finally fallen upon the crowd. A wonderful performance, and very representative of the ancient Lanna culture of Northern Thailand.


Continue following the event using the page navigator below!

WSE Travel - Best of Thailand banner

About the Author:

From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He's since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. Follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries!


  1. Vera November 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Beautiful post, beautiful pictures! My favourite is the last one on page 7, with the two monks who have just released their lantern. Although I don’t know you, I am sorry to hear about your Dad. It seems the ceremony was a good way to connect and let go at the same time. All the best to you and your family!

    • Ian Ord November 30, 2012 at 10:15 am - Reply

      Hey Vera! Thanks for the lovely comments 🙂 The monk photos are some of my faves too (save the best for last)! It was such a special end to the night getting in ‘backstage’ after the ceremony had ended, and having almost a second ceremony with them.

      I see you’re working with Finding the Universe! I love the site – are you travelling with Laurence? I hope to meet up sometime soon!

      Also, re: my dad! Thanks as well. I think it was a perfect tribute to him. I know he’d have loved it!! 🙂

  2. […] like to see the follow-up, illustrated in the form of a photo essay of this beautiful event, click here (stay connected – subscribe by RSS or email to get this and all future posts delivered to you […]

  3. Sean Russo November 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Amazing photos – so wish I was still in Chiang Mai on Saturday night! Must get back to do this festival.

    • Ian Ord November 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sean! I wish you could have stayed too – though the Mexican warm-up party was still pretty great 🙂 Glad you had a good time, and looking forward to seeing you out here on your next trip!!

  4. Natalie T. November 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I love love LOVE your photos from this festival. What a great experience to remember your father’s birthday and make a wish for him. That must have been so emotional and uplifting. We also experienced a lunar eclipse on the 28th, which marks endings. It’s a lighter period – I do feel a relief from a busy fall. It’s exciting to see these pictures because they remind me of New Year’s and I’m ready for the adventures and challenges of 2013!


    • Ian Ord November 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Hey Natalie!
      Thanks for the wonderful comments 🙂 It did definitely mean a lot to me being there. It was quite uplifting (pun intended). Amazing you had a lunar eclipse on the full moon! It’s definitely a time of change and regrowth – even in Canada, where nature is shutting down for winter’s arrival 🙂

  5. Donna Morang November 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    The most fantastic photos of the floating lanterns I’ve ever seen. I have taken many photos of the lanterns myself, but they were no where near this spectacular. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ian Ord December 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Wow – thanks so much Donna! That’s a wonderful compliment 🙂 When were you here for Yi Peng last?

  6. […] way onto the main body of water. When we came back up to ground level, we saw many others lighting Yi Peng lanterns, which coincides with the same full moon of Loi Krathong. Fireworks could be seen happening all […]

  7. Besudesuabroad December 5, 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Absolutely love the photos! I left Thailand the day before Loy Krathong, really regretting it now! Great post.

    • Ian Ord December 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Hey Beth! Thanks for the comment – yup, you missed quite the show – but I actually missed it by a week last year, so this was me making up for it… and it will still be here next year too 😉 Where did you head off to next?

  8. Micki December 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos, Ian! I love the women’s traditional dress.

    • Ian Ord December 17, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Thanks Micki – did you get to the following pages as well? (the pics just get better from there on in… ). Also – have you ever been to Yi Peng? if not, I suggest you definitely put it up on your bucket list!!

  9. jmayel & sacha April 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    This year i’m going to hang around for the monk activity. Completely missed all this because we left early. Great Pics

  10. […] way onto the main body of water. When we came back up to ground level, we saw many others lighting Yi Peng lanterns, which coincides with the same full moon of Loi Krathong. Fireworks could be seen happening all […]

  11. […] article focuses on the when and where, please also see the Yi Peng photo essay of this beautiful […]

  12. Katherine E Bland January 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    I almost liked hanging about the monks more than the lanterns

    • Ian Ord March 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      There’s always a special feeling being in the presence of monks 🙂 I love the joy in their eyes as they light their own lanterns at this festival as well! When did you go?

Leave A Comment