8 Best Floating Lantern Festivals in the World

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Couple on a Loy Krathong Floating Lantern Festival in Thailand

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a magical land with thousands of lights floating high above you but seemingly close enough that you could reach out and touch them? Well, funny enough, there is a place where you can do just that.

Best Floating Lantern Festivals in the World

Yi Peng Floating Lantern Festival, Thailand

Floating Lanterns
Photo: Mark Fischer

I found myself in such a place in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, and it was the festival of Yi Peng Floating Lanterns, one of the two festivals in Thailand.

It was magical! As the moon reaches its entire point in November of every year, the residents of Chiang Mai build their best floats and release lanterns to rid the city of troubles and curses.

For me, this festival was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I had never dreamed that I would ever see this fantastic festival, but I found myself on the bank of the Mae Ping River and realized my dream had come true.

Lantern festivals are a time when people release stars into the sky. It’s a time to come together, celebrate, remember those who have passed away, and look forward to the future. People write their hopes and dreams on paper lanterns and send them floating into the sky. It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

The sky lanterns festival is a time when people all over the world release stars into the sky. It’s a time to remember those who have passed away and celebrate life. Families gather to create beautiful sky lanterns and send them off into the night. It’s a magical event that reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things.

Loy Krathong Festival, Thailand

Floating Lanterns in the Sky

The Loy Krathong, or the Loi Krathong Festival, celebrates the end of the rainy season in Thailand. It occurs on the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. The festival is celebrated by releasing floating lotus baskets with candles into the waters.

Losar Lantern Festival, Bhutan

The Losar Lantern Festival is when Buddhists in Bhutan celebrate the New Year by releasing paper lanterns into the sky. It is a fantastic sight to see hundreds of these lanterns floating up into the air, and it is said that this ritual symbolizes the release of all of the year’s troubles and worries.

The festival is an integral part of Bhutanese culture, and it is a time when people come together to celebrate the New Year.

The festival is a time of hope and positivity, and it is the event that brings together families and friends. The lanterns symbolize the release of the year’s troubles and worries, and the fireworks display is a spectacular way to end the festival.

See Related: Summer Festival Madness: Ways to Survive

Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival’s Lotus Lantern Festival in South Korea

The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival is an annual international film festival in Bucheon, South Korea. The festival is a part of the festival and celebrates the release of stars. Hundreds of lanterns are set afloat on the rivers and lakes of South Korea during the festival—the light the lantern releases are said to guide the way for lost souls.

The festival is beautiful, with the lanterns bobbing gently on the water and the lights reflecting on the calm surface. It is among the floating lantern festival to see.

The Gion Matsuri Festival in Kyoto, Japan

The Gion Matsuri festival in Kyoto, Japan, is one of the most famous lantern festivals in the world. Every July, it celebrates the city’s patron deity, Yasaka Shrine. One of the festival’s most popular events is the procession of floats, or “hook.” These towering wooden structures are decorated with elaborate lanterns.

The sky lanterns festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is similar in various locations throughout Japan. Gion Matsui commemorates the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Participants write their wishes on a paper lantern and release it, a beautiful water lantern festival, into the water. 

Spring Lantern Festival, China

Lit Hanged Lanterns
Lanterns” by Azalea Long is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The Spring Lantern Festival is one of the most important festivals in China. It celebrates the first full moon and the end of the Chinese New Year, embarrassing the optimistic future. 

It is also the time when people traditionally release lanterns into the sky. The festival is also a time for families to come together and enjoy food and entertainment.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in the World

Rise Lantern Festival, Las Vegas

The Rise Lantern Festival is an enchanting event that pays homage to the exquisite essence of existence and is joyfully commemorated in the vibrant city of Las Vegas. As the sun gracefully bids farewell to the day, a harmonious convergence of individuals from various corners of the globe transpires, uniting in a collective act of releasing lanterns into the celestial expanse above.

This captivating festival serves as a poignant reminder of the power of togetherness, as cherished bonds between friends and families are strengthened amidst the ethereal ambiance that permeates the night. It is a momentous occasion where hearts are filled with wonder and souls are uplifted by the spellbinding allure of the illuminated sky.

Full Moon Lantern Festival, Vietnam

Lantern Lights Reflecting on a River
Hoi An: full moon festival” by @felixtriller is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The Full Moon Lantern Festival is celebrated annually in Hoi An, Vietnam. The festival occurs on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year and coincides with the full moon.

During the festival, locals and tourists release floating lanterns into the sky to commemorate departed loved ones. The occasion is also believed to be ideal for meditation, reflection, sacred practices, and honoring deceased ancestors.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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