NYE Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai


There are too many places and experiences out there for a person to know them all, but I figured why not give it a try? Travel has become an addiction and I'm here to share it with you. If you want to distract me, put a soccer ball at my feet, a sunset in my sights and the ocean splashing my toes. In a nutshell, this is me.

18 Responses

  1. MerryBeth Vithoulkas says:

    Was this lantern festival on Dec 31st (western NYE) or in April (Thai NYE)? Thank you!

  2. Andrew says:

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this article! I am planning on going this NYE and have been searching for information all over! This is so helpful and I really appreciate it!

    • Dani says:

      Glad to hear that! How long will you be in Thailand or in South East Asia?

      • Andrew says:

        My girlfriend and I are still planning where we are going to go and how long we.’re going to be in each city… We are flying into Bangkok December 27 and flying out of Bangkok January 12. The only thing for sure on our itinerary is the lantern Festival… we had some places we were going to look into, but of course any input or feedback from you is always appreciated!

        • Pablo says:

          So just over 2 weeks? We did Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. We travel a little slower because we were working while we were visiting. In that time you could also add Chiang Rai. We didn’t make it there but it looks super cool. How long do you plan on staying in each place?

  3. Shawna says:

    Hi, I am going to be in Chiang Mai for NYE this year 2017 with a total of 9 people. We want to see the lanterns, so any advice would be appreciated. We currently are looking for a hotel to stay in close to the city center and the festival. Thanks

    • Pablo says:

      I’m assuming you’re talking about NYE Dec 31st. They celebrate it as well but their NYE is in April. We were there for Dec 31st and they still had lots of lanterns in the air! It’s very crowded downtown so just be aware of your surroundings. You’re in a group so its easier to watch out for each other. We did an Airbnb when we were there. So not sure what the hotel scene is like. We really enjoy doing Airbnb, it lets you stay in local homes and get a better experience. If you are interested, we have a link for a coupon in our right sidebar. It will give you a discount and us a discount! 🙂

  4. Anita says:

    Hi! This is very helpful! I read somewhere that the road Doi Suthep is closed leading up to and shortly after NYE. Does this mean that we need to get to Chiang Mai before this date in order to see the lanterns? Or is the lantern area definitely always open regardless of when we arrive to Chiang Mai?


    • Anita says:

      Also, Do you have any recommendations on where to stay? Should I book now for NYE or wait until we arrive in Bangkok at the beginning of December?
      Thanks again!!

      • Pablo says:

        We liked staying in Airbnbs while we traveled over hotels. You get a more authentic experience and get to meet some locals. Plus its usually way cheaper than a hotel and not as annoying as a hostel. We found out that it was just as cheap to get a private room in an Airbnb for the 2 of us as a shared dorm room in a hostel There are plenty of Airbnb options, but I would book sooner than later especially with NYE. We have a discount coupon for AIrbnb in our right sidebar. You get a discount and we get a discount!

    • Pablo says:

      Are you talking about Wat Doi Suthep that’s up on the hill? We made it there on January 3rd if I remember correctly. It was fine. We didn’t hear anything about the road being closed, but not sure how it was on NYE. Sorry I’m not much help with that. As for seeing the lanterns, we just went to the downtown area (we had rented a scooter) around 8 or 9 and stuck around to see the lanterns at midnight and well into the night. There were a lot more than we expected there to be.

  5. Johanna says:

    Thank you for this information! Where do you buy the lanterns?

    • Pablo says:

      Sorry for the late reply, there are lots of vendors walking around selling them. You can also ask others where they got them, that was the easiest way to be pointed in the right direction

  6. Katherine says:

    Do you need to pay for anything to be part of the festival? Lanterns or tickets etc.?

    • Pablo says:

      Not for the festival, just head down town. There are plenty of vendors selling lanterns, you’ll need your own matches or lighter. Just watch others how they do it, there are a ton of people sending them up.

  7. Kristen says:

    All this festival does is release trash into the environment. The New Years festival is not a traditional festival, and is just a way to attract tourism. Thailand already has a major problem with pollution and trash and tourists get their jollies from the pretty lights witthout considering the repercussions for the people that live here / the environment / animals. Let me ask, would you go into someone elses house and dump trash everywhere? No. If you do some research, you’ll see the far reaching negative impacts of this fesitival.

    • Deeg says:

      Saw more Thai people than foreigners setting off lanterns last time I was in CM for NYE. And yes, they do leave a mess,but stop blaming visitors as the sole cause.

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