Over 100,000 small lanterns are arranged to illuminate the sacred stupa of Phra That Hariphunchai in Lamphun Province, located in Northern Thailand. This enchanting festival takes place annually, serving as a tribute to the towering ninth-century pagoda and creating an unforgettable after-dark spectacle with hundreds of thousands of vibrant lanterns.
Taking place at the temple of Wat Phra That Hariphunchai and the Chamthewi Memorial in the town centre of Lamphun, the Festival of 100,000 Lanterns” runs from October 4 to November 27.
Located 30 kilometres south of Chiang Mai province, Lamphun emerges as an ancient town along the Kuang River. With a history that spans over 1,300 years and influences from Lop Buri, as well as ancient Khmer and Dvaravati arts and culture, the northern province of Lamphun now charms visitors with its rich cultural heritage and tranquil farmlands. This cultural heritage encompasses various aspects, including language, cuisine, clothing, and local traditions. One of the cherished traditions is the “Festival of 100,000 Lanterns in Lamphun,” held at Wat Phra That Hariphunchai.
Lantern offering has long a tradition of locals in Lamphun, inheriting from the previous Lanna Kingdom ruling at today-northern Thailand between the 13-th to 18-th centuries. People up there create lanterns as offerings is a form of worship to the Buddha residing in the heavenly abode, and the light from the lanterns helps illuminate and bring prosperity and coolness to their lives.
To immerse themselves in the captivating Lanna culture during the Festival of 100,000 Lanterns, visitors can inscribe their names and prayer messages on the lanterns before personally hanging them. Visitors can anticipate experiencing the enchanting and colourful lantern ambiance both during the day and at night, akin to a “sea of lanterns” numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to pay homage to the auspicious Phra That Hariphunchai.
Founded in the year 897 to enshrine a strand of the Lord Buddha’s hair, the Hariphunchai Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Thailand. The golden stupa, radiating its Lanna-style bell-shaped form and design, serves as a pilgrimage destination, particularly for people born in the Year of the Rooster (1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and 2017).
Part of Lanna culture, the Festival of 100,000 Lanterns is a welcome sight, signalling that the much-loved Yi Peng or Loy Krathong Festival will arrive at Lamphun and the northern provinces of Thailand. From early October to the Loy Krathong Festival on November 27, it boosts series of festive events including the colourful lantern parade and procession and the captivating lantern floating.
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How to Get There
Lamphun Province is located approximately 30 kilometres south of Chiang Mai Province, where daily flights arrive from Bangkok. Lamphun is a small town with a rich history and is home to various cultures, ranging from the Dvaravati period (7th-12th centuries) to the Lanna period (18th century). Visitors can conveniently explore the area by using local songthaew passenger buses or by exploring on foot to visit Lamphun’s historical temples and museum.