Tourists Flock to Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivities

 | Tue 4 Nov 2014 22:15 ICT

CityNews – Tourists are flocking to Chiang Mai for the annual Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals, with more than 90 per of the city’s hotel rooms booked for the next few days, according to tourism officials.
Traditional dancers perform at a press conference at the Night Bazaar last month to promote the festivities. Photo: Weerasak Panyachod.

Celebrations are being held throughout this first week of November, with the main events taking place from tomorrow until Thursday.

Wisut Buachum, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Chiang Mai Office, said last month that he was delighted that Yi Peng festivities are now held not only in the city but also in other areas such as Sansai, Doi Saket and Sarapee districts.

Chiang Mai has around 80,000 rooms to rent, and is expected to see around 200,000 domestic and international tourists – mostly from China – this week. They are expected to spend around 700 million baht.

In downtown Chiang Mai, many areas have been decorated with lanterns in different shapes. Residents and government officials have been encouraged to dress in traditional Lanna-style clothing and speak kam muang (the northern dialect) in order to welcome tourists.

Celebrations will be held in various areas over the next few days, including around Thapae Gate. These include lantern and krathong processions, beauty contests, a fireworks display in honour of His Majesty the King, and more.

Around 2,000 policemen and soldiers will be on duty to take care of tourists, and this year giant fireworksand alcoholic drinks are banned from the festival areas.

Meanwhile, officials at Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand’s highest peak, reported that many Thai and foreign tourists stayed there in bungalows or tents at the weekend, hoping to experience the cool winter weather. The temperature at Doi Inthanon was measured at 9 degree Celsius this weekend.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep has also seen lots of visitors, leading officials to impose a temporary ban on large buses in order to avoid traffic congestion.

The festival of Loy Krathong is celebrated across Thailand, as well as in Laos and parts of eastern Burma, by people floating krathong – decorated baskets – on rivers. It coincides with the northern Thai festival of Yi Peng, which is celebrated by people launching Lanna-style sky lanterns.