Yee Peng is Northern Thailand’s festival to celebrate their version of Loi Krathong (they celebrate both, actually). I went to Maejo University to watch the big lantern release just like I did in 2011. While the lantern release was just as beautiful as it was two years ago, there are few things that have changed. For one, you can no longer bring your own khom loi (lantern). Instead, you have to purchase one approved by the festival organizers if you want to send one aloft. They cost a steep 100฿—a more typical price is 20-30฿. The reason given is that the lanterns sold are designed to stay below airplanes and not to cause electrical fires if they are caught in wires, which I did witness twice later that evening in Chiang Mai (the power went out for about 30 minutes because of it). The Maejo University lantern release has always been packed, but this year it was insane. There were just so many people. Many of them were tourists, and while I hate to say this, there were a lot of Chinese tourists that were quite loud and didn’t pay attention to the instructions and rules even though they are explained in Mandarin (and in Japanese, English and Thai). I wouldn’t have pointed this out except that the organizers have pointed it out for two years in a row. While certainly it’s not only the Chinese, visitors need to remember that this is a religious festival and a certain amount of respect is due. The problem is that they may start restricting entrance. Despite these changes, which I suppose are inevitable, the release of the lanterns is beautiful and definitely worth seeing.