I saw the picture of the Yi Peng Festival 3 years ago through my favourite blogger, Dina Dua Ransel. I was stunned. The photo showed full of lanterns up in the sky shimmering through the night. So I add the festival to my bucket list. I guess I can cross that list now! Wohoooooo! I didn’t make any plan but then I learned that I should have. Therefore, I compile some Yi Peng Festival Guide for you next time!
I and Arma were going to end the trip after Myanmar when our hosts in Bangkok told us about the Yi Peng festival. “But it is still October! I though Loy Krathong is in November.” I was so sure about it, when finally my host, Hiroki from Event Carnival explained it all (Well, he is building a site about festivals around the world, I should trust him, yes?). Apparently, there are 3 festivals that supposed to happen in Chiang Mai and another part of the cities in Thailand. Yi Peng Sansai in Chiang Mai will be held in 25th of October 2014 for the local people, and then the Yi Peng International Festival, suppose for the tourists and international guest follow the next week. Loy Krathong, the big festival of candle release in the river will happen all over Thailand in November ( I don’t know the date tho)
I had to check several websites to make sure, but there aren’t many people know about it. Indeed it was only for the local people only. So I was so excited to go to Chiang Mai again for this!
I usually prefer to take the sleeper train to travel across Thailand. But when we got there, all full booked! Many people were going to Chiang Mai too for the festival. So I guess our option was the only bus. I already kinda gave up and thinking about going to the festival next year instead. We never took any buses to travel in Thailand, we were too spoiled by the comfortable and safe sleeper train.
Turns out the bus was SUPER COMFORTABLE! I was randomly going to this counter that looked professional and has a unique name – Nangkonchan Air. So I thought yeah, why not? Oh my, oh my… The night bus was so cute! Each seat has its own touch screen, headphone, game station, blanket and full of snack along the way. We weren’t that hungry anymore (plus no need diet too when you are travelling, yes ladies?). So we finally understood the meaning of the name. Nangkonchan “AIR”, as in “aeroplane”. The bus was so similar to the aeroplane services. That’s why it has bus attendant too! Transport in Thailand amazes me sometimes.
The following day, I and Arma decided to rent the motorbike, and meet up with the Event Carnival team that was already in Chiang Mai. I got the chance to meet and hosted by them by using Couchsurfing website. Seeing us with the motorbike, they decided to rent and go to the festival with the motorbike! Yay!
It was a perfect sunny day with the bright sky! We enjoyed the road along the way, 1 and the half hour felt so short! The place was already crowded with food stalls. Oh, come on. Thai snacks food along the way as the pre-course? Wohooo! Eating, dancing and singing time!
The security was kinda tight. We could not use short pants or tank top, had to use appropriate clothes as if we were going to a holy place. Even we could not bring our own lantern from outside, meaning we have to buy it inside. When we got to the field, it was already full of people! And it was only 4 PM. Night time is couple hours away, oh well. Picture time I guess!
We bought 5 lanterns for ourselves, and start writing hopes and dreams on the lantern paper. Mine? Well.. of course, happiness and keep on travelling! 🙂
After the monks came in, they started to chant and pray, even the prayer feels like a melody. Such a holy night to remember. Without realising it, I prayed too with all the people together in the field.And the lantern release began! I can’t even write how beautiful it was, you have to look it by yourself. Meanwhile, you can check out the video first:
We were panic between enjoying the view, taking videos and pictures, or light up the lantern itself! Well, the picture is a must tho 🙂It was a super romantic and beautiful night. I felt so blessed witnessing this experience as the mark of ending my South East Asia trip. All of the memories I had before going on this trip, how different I was before, and all of the amazing places that I went. It was full of awe once you see the sky glimmering orange lights, plus when you spend it with your best travel buddies and new friends that will make everlasting friendships!
So put this on your bucket list too! It was a magical night that will be memorable for the rest of your life! I had a chance to experience another festival in Thailand, the glorious wet Songkran in Bangkok. But I have to admit, Yi Peng festival always will be a special night for me 🙂
Event Carnival is a website provided information about events and festivals across the world. They are new startup based in Bangkok by the Japanese team, my wonderful hosts: Kota Saito and Hiroki Takagi, along with Yoh Miyake and Toru Matsumoto. I could never know about the festival if it weren’t because of them. And now they are making a website for YOU travellers to know more about festivals in the world! Lucky you!
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.