This information is specifically for those wishing to attend the mass sky lantern release which takes place at Mae Jo, just outside the city of Chiang Mai as part of the annual Loy Krathong and Yi Peng celebrations. It is also important to note that the Mae Jo sky lantern release is organized by a private Buddhist group, the Duangtawan Santiparp Foundation. Because the event is not arranged by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), if you contact TAT offices they may not be able to help you. From experience in previous years, I know that dates for the Mae Jo lantern launch are difficult to pin down and very often aren’t finally confirmed until September or October.
Date of the 2013 Mae Jo lantern release
At the time of writing there are no confirmed dates for the sky lantern release at Mae Jo for 2013. As soon as I know dates I will post updates here, but that isn’t likely to happen until much nearer the time i.e September or October.
Update #1: August 20, 2013
The event organisers have announced on their website that the paid ticketed event aimed at overseas visitors is Saturday, November 23. There is still no confirmed date for the free event. I’ve been inundated in recent weeks with messages and emails from people wanting to attend the free event. Unfortunately, this means that I am no longer able to reply to each message individually, but I will post new information here as and when I receive it.
Update #2: October 3, 2013
A Thai tour-guide friend of mine who lives and works in Chiang Mai, contacted the event organizers today enquiring for herself because she wants to attend the free event this year. She was advised that the date for the free event has still not been decided and may not be confirmed until the end of October.
Update #3: October 11, 2013
I’ve been advised today by Thai friends who live in Mae Jo that the free event will be on Saturday, November 16. I’ve not yet confirmed this myself*, but apparently the event organizers are advising people in Mae Jo the date will be November 16.
*November 16 has been confirmed by the event organisers.
The lantern release at Mae Jo is usually held on a Saturday a week or two before Loy Krathong night. The date for Loy Krathong night for 2013 is Sunday, November 17. This is the night of the full moon and is a confirmed date. Using the dates of previous Mae Jo events as a guide, that would mean that possible dates for the 2013 lantern release (free event) could be Saturday, November 9 or November 16. However, the actual date is down to the event organizers and you should contact them directly with any queries and also see their website for full details. There are also a number of factors which means that the event organisers have much to think about when making plans for the 2013 event. This is partly because of the huge upsurge in awareness of the Mae Jo lantern release in recent years with the boom in social media coverage. In 2011, an additional lantern release date was laid on at Mae Jo and this also happened again in 2012 with tickets being sold in advance as organisers encouraged overseas tourists to attend the paid event. Although the free event has been open to anybody in previous years, there were a number of reports of poor behaviour by some of the overseas tourists who attended the free event in 2012. The second half of last year also saw a massive increase in the number of Chinese tourists to Chiang Mai and with that trend set to continue it is likely that 2013 will see a record amount of demand for places at the Mae Jo lantern release.
Photo © Thaizer