Tourists flood to Chiang Mai for Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festivities

Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is teeming with foreign and domestic tourists looking to experience the magical Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivities from November 7-9.

The fusion of Loy Krathong traditions with a night sky glittering with Yi Peng lanterns creates an unmissable atmosphere that draws people to the city year in and year out.

During October, Chiang Mai Airport welcomed an average of 19,000 tourists per day. An average of 18,300 tourists arrived on 114 domestic flights per day and an average of 700 tourists landed on six international flights per day.

Paper Lanna-style lanterns and flowers decorate Chiang Mai Airport, which expects to welcome 21,000 tourists per day – an increase of 10% – during the festival period from November 7-9, according to the Director of Chiang Mai Airport Wichit Kaewsaitiam.

President of the Northern Thai Hotels Association Phunut Laothanapanich said that between September – October, hotel bookings in Chiang Mai rose continually. Phunut is certain that the trend will continue and expects hotel rooms in the “capital of the North” to be 70% booked up by December.

While the Yi Peng festival is a northern Thai tradition, Loy Krathong will be celebrated nationwide today, November 8. If you’re still unsure of your plans, read The Thaiger’s guide ‘Loy Krathong 2022: What to know and where to go.

Loy Krathong means “floating banana tree trunk.” Thais will traditionally float a Krathong – a buoyant decorative basket – and watch it float away into the river, along with their worries and misfortunes.

Many Krathong are made out of plastic foam in the modern day and the festival has become an environmental concern. If you’re going to float a Krathong, be sure it is biodegradable.

However, even the “environmentally-friendly” Krathong can clog up the rivers and cause environmental problems when they are floated in their thousands. After the festival is over, authorities and volunteers tend to collect them out of the water to prevent damage to the waterways.

The government has asked the public to float one Krathong per family this year to reduce environmental damage.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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