It is a no surprise that Chiang Mai is one of the top places for Digital Nomads. Due to pleasant all year around weather, low cost of living, access to nature and temples, delicious thai food and fast internet connection, Chiang Mai has quickly became the destination where many Digital Nomads flock.
But there is one month that is better than rest of the year. If you visit Chiang Mai in November you get to witness the Yee Peng and Loy Krathong festivals. So what is special about these festivals? Yee Peng – also known as Sky Lantern festival – is celebrated on the full moon of the 12th lunar month each year. This falls around early to mid November. You must have seen the iconic photos in many travel journals of the hundreds (if not thousands) of brightly lit lanterns floating above on the night sky. You can experience this magical celebrations if you go to Chiang Mai in November.
Loy Krathong on the other hand is more spiritual in nature. Loy means “To float” and Krathong means “a small raft” in Thai language. The raft is made from a section of a banana tree trunk. The celebration involves the process of floating adorned candles with incense sticks, flowers and even a message or a wish in the raft. This usually takes place on the Ping river in Chiang Mai. The idea behind floating the candle rafts on rivers is to cleanse yourself of old grudges, anger and problems and start a renewed life with a new spirit. It is believed the Loy Krathong was adapted from the Hindu festival of Diwali. Some celebrate it to mark a fruitful harvest in the year.
Where to witness spiritual celebrations in temples?
Most of the temple celebrations happen in the east gate of the Old City along Tha Pae road to Narawat Bridge. One place to visit is Wat Phan Tao. This temple has the perfect scenery to witness the festival with monks decorating the grounds with lanterns and sitting on the floor and chanting amid the hundreds of oil lamps surrounding them. It is one of the best scenery to check out during the festival. But remember to get to this temple before sunset to get a good viewing point so you can witness the magical evening.
There is also a big colorful parade happening on Tha Pae road. It is on the same day as when the finale of the lantern festival happens. During the parade you can see local Thais dressed up in different traditional costumes to display their culture and history.
So when to plan your trip? Plan your trip in the 2nd to 3rd week of November. You can directly fly to Chiang Mai or take the inexpensive overnight bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.