Loy Krathong (Loi Krathong), one of Thailand’s most enchanting annual festivals. Loy Krathong, is celebrated on the night of the full moon in the 12th month of the traditional Thai Lunar Calendar. In the Western calendar, this usually falls in November. Also known as the “Festival of Light”
The history of the Loy Krathong Festival is rather obscure. Some people claim that the tradition of Loy Krathong originates in Sukhothai and was first organized by a court lady called Nopphamat. Others believe it was a Brahmanic festival that was adapted by Thai buddhist to honor the Buddha. Anyway, the ritual of Loy Krathong is about paying respect to the Goddess of the Water showing gratitude for the plentiful use of water and ask for forgiveness in the ensuing pollution. It is also about getting ride of misfortune and bad things that happened in the past and asking for good luck in the future. For this people float a “Krathong” in the river.
The Loy Krathong Kap Kluai of Samut Songkhram offers visitors the opportunity to experience Thailand from another perspective and see more of the Thai way of life.
The festival’s programme features traditional, cultural and environmentally-friendly activities –floating of Krathong Kap Kluai or banana stem cups on the Mae Klong River, cultural performances and processions. See more details here.
In addition to hosting Loi Krathong Kap Kluai of Samut Songkhram, There are many other destinations that organise the festival known for their unique Loi Krathong traditions:
Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 20-23 November, celebrates traditions and activities that are unique to the Lanna people and their culture. See more details here.
Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival, 16-25 November, commemorates the glorious era of the Sukhothai period with the magnificent Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the setting for the festival’s activities. See more details here.
Tak Loy Krathong Sai Festival, 18-22 November, is famous for its Loi Krathong Sai or the floating of a long line of coconut shell krathongs. See more details here.
Lampang Ngan Sapao Chao Lakon, 21-23 November, is the only location in Northern Thailand that still makes ‘long sapao’ or floats junk-like krathongs. See more details here.
Roi Et “Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip” , 21-22 November, is one of the province’s most important Buddhist events that celebrates the history and culture unique to the Saket Nakhon (former name of Roi Et) people. See more details here.
Ratchaburi Loy Krathong Si Festival 2018, 22-24 November, at Wat Sai Ari Rak, celebrates traditions and activities that are unique to the Mon people living along the Mae Klong River, including floating krathong cups made from eco-friendly colour paper and taking part in Buddhist ceremonies to pay respect to the Buddha.
Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Loy Krathong Festival, 22 November, at King Naresuan the Great Monument near Thung Phu Khao Thong, hosts several activities including a krathong-making contest, beauty contests, cultural performances and a moon-bathing ritual to bring good fortune.
In addition to the Loi Krathong celebrations in Samut Songkhram, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Tak, Lampang, Roi Et, Ratchaburi and Ayutthaya, the Loi Krathong Festival is celebrated throughout Thailand with activities and events varying depending on the location.
‘Loy’ means to float, and ‘krathong’ is a small basket made from the stem and leaves of the banana tree and decorated with flowers; it also holds a candle, incense sticks, and an offering of money. At sundown, Thais take these krathongs to a canal, river, pond, and swimming pool or to the sea to float them asking the Goddess of Water (Pra Mae Khongkha) for good luck in the future and forgiveness.
Yes Peng, In North Thailand the Loy Krathong Festival coindices with the Lannafestival called Yee Peng or Yi Peng. That makes experiencing the festival in Chiang Mai extra special. Yee Peng is all about lanterns. The day before Loy Krathong is called Yee Peng but during the three days you will find lanterns everywhere. Houses and temples are decorated with lanterns and on the evening of the first day there is a stunning lantern parade in Chiang Mai. The most stunning though used to be the hundreds of sky lanterns that were released. There used to be a mass release of sky lanterns near Mae Jo University. In recent years there has been a crackdown on releasing sky lanterns because of the danger to air traffic. There is no mass release anymore. Releasing sky lanterns is only allowed during set hours on the full moon night. This law is strictly enforced. There are a couple of commercial small scale sky lantern events that include a dinner. Please check with us.
For Chiang Mai: Loy Krathong Classic tour that features not only the Loy Krathong festivities but also sights such as Wat Doi Suthep and Lamphun. You will also make a relaxing ride with a traditional bicycle taxi (samlor). The tour also offer a Loy Krathong tour that takes you from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. All these tours can be customized for each guests.
For Chiang Rai: Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort Make a wish as you release your candlelit krathong into the Mekong. Marvel at the twinkling sky above as you light your Yi Peng flame-lit floating lantern. Feast on an authentic Northern-style wok-to-table dinner at Sala Mae Nam.
There couldn’t have been a more perfect setting. The full moon illuminated the glinting spires and castellated western walls of the Grand Palace, Bangkok’s spiritual heart, while the Chao Phraya River, which runs like a silver ribbon of Thai history from the Central Plains to the sea, was alight with krathongs bobbing on the rippling waters.
Around the park were displays explaining the traditions of Loy Krathong, but visitors also got to see how the krathongs are made and could sample festive foods; such as, sweet golden foi thong(sweetened egg yolk). Meanwhile, the riverbank was crowded with revellers lining up to float their krathongs and enjoy the illuminated boat procession.
Moving in tandem, nine brightly lit vessels, many decorated with characters from Thai mythology or fitted out like Chinese junks floated past, spewing forth fireworks and providing floating stages for displays of Thai dancing. The TAT-sponsored vessel took the main prize; its impressive elephant figurehead leading the parade of boats down the river in a stately manner.
On stage, cultural shows gave visitors a taste of different celebrations up and down the country. Highlights included sparking sword fight displays, Muay Thai bouts and contemporary dance that added a modern element to the traditional events. On Loy Krathong night itself, an extended khon dance was staged with scenes from the Ramayana. In these meticulously choreographed epics, masked performers convey the meaning and drama in seemingly subtle movements. These days, such dancers are usually only seen in snippets so this extended display was a real treat for visitors who were able to catch one of the most exquisite aspects of Thai culture.
Adding a feminine touch and sparkling smiles to this already illuminated event were the lovely ladies of the Miss International Contest who showed up to take part in a traditional ‘Noppamas’ beauty show. These pageants are a new but popular part of Loy Krathong and the finalists, who hailed from all over the world, were dressed in traditional Thai costumes and drew more admiring glances than the evening’s fireworks that brought the evening to a close.
For Bangkok’s best locations for Loy Krathong Festival
Wat Saket (Riverside/Old City)
Phra Athit Pier (Riverside/ Old City)
Maharaj Lifestyle Mall (Riverside/Old City)
Lumpini Park (Silom)
Benjasiri Park (Sukhumvit)
Benjakiti Park (Sukhumvit)
Anantara Riverside Bangkok
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel
Shangri La Hotel Bangkok