One of the main reasons to travel to another country is to get a little sample of the culture of the people who live there. You will find ample opportunities to do that when traveling to Thailand, and you will get to see something very special when you visit Chiang Mai in November. It is at this time when Loy Krathong, a paying of respects to the goddess of water, takes place. At the same time, a floating lantern festival called Yi Peng takes place in Chiang Mai, and it is something that everyone should take the opportunity to see. Loy Krathong quite literally translates to “the floating of baskets,” which is why the locals take to the rivers and lakes in Chiang Mai to set lighted baskets into the water in order to pay respects to the goddess. The Yi Peng festival of lights is a little different in that the lights are sent into the sky using lanterns as a show of respect to Buddha. The lanterns create an ethereal display of light that is both beautiful to look at and more than a little moving. If you plan on visiting during the Chiang Mai Festival of Lights, there are some things that you need to know. The official Yi Peng lantern release is held at the Mae Joe University, and is free for anyone to attend However this year 2015, due to safety regulations release of lanterns is only allowed on the 25th of November, so there will be no release of lantern during the free ceremony on the 21st of November. That said, there are certain rules and restrictions in place that need to be strictly adhered to I order to maintain the respect that the event deserves. You need to dress in a respectable fashion which means covering up as much as possible (long pants, shoulders covered, etc.). A white shirt is considered a good idea if you are unsure what to wear and know that you cannot bring alcohol to the festival. Getting in and out of the event can be tricky, and it is advised that you arrange transport for the journey. Getting to the university at or around 3 PM will help ensure the least amount of hassles for you and your party. If this all seems like a little too much, you could always wait for the tourist event, which this year will be held on the 25th. This event is held by a Buddhist organization called the DMC, and is designed especially for tourists. For about $100 US, you get a shuttle to and from the lantern release point, a light snack, and the lanterns you need for the air and water release. It is a whole lot less crowded than the official event, but still a great way to feel part of what is taking place around the city. The Chiang Mai Festival of Lights sees the city come alive in a quite spectacular way, as lanterns decorate the streets, and fireworks light the night sky for a few days. November truly is a wonderful time to visit Chiang Mai.