Thailand’s Loi Krathong festival, in which candles are floated downriver on baskets made of banana leaves and wood, is held each year on the twelfth full moon (usually sometime in November). It’s a must-see for any traveler in Southeast Asia.
In the northern town of Chiang Mai, locals put a unique twist on the celebration. Instead of floating baskets in water, as people do in Bangkok, thousands of paper lanterns are released into the air. The result, known as Yi Peng Floating Lantern Festival, is a magical twinkling flurry of light. One photographer likened the scene to a flock of “giant fluorescent jellyfish floating through the sky.”
This year’s celebration took place on November 25. But if you’re planning to catch the 2016 edition, act fast. Though the details for next year’s festival have not yet been released, tickets go on sale up to a year ahead. Note that with only 3,000 available—and many more thousands of people vying for a spot—they can be hard to come by.
For those who couldn’t make it to Chiang Mai last week, here’s a glimpse of the dazzling lanterns in action.