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 and 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 Delightful Colours of the River, Loi Krathong Festival, Bangkok
9-11 November from 16.00 – 24.00 Hrs, at the Santi Chai Prakan Public Park, Bangkok.
Featuring Thai cultural activities that reflect the unique Thai traditions and ways of life while promoting distinctive Loi Krathong practices of different destinations around the country.
Activities and workshops include Krathong making using natural materials, Thai cooking, floral garland making, fruit carving, banana stalk carving, Khon mask making, and much more. There are also cultural performances.
Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 9-12 November to celebrates traditions and activities that are unique to the Lanna people and their culture.
“Tam Phang Patit Song Fa Haksa Mueang” (Light the Lanterns to Guard the City), 9-12 November from 18.00-23.00 Hrs., at the Three Kings Monument.
Yi Peng Colourful Lanterns Show, 9-12 November from 19.00-22.00 Hrs., around the city moat and gates.
Opening Ceremony of the Yi Peng Festival 10 November at 18.00 Hrs., at the area in front of the Tha Phae Gate.
Yi Peng Little Boys and Girls Contest, 10 November at 19.00 Hrs., at Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
Mister and Miss (Thephi-Thepphabut) Yi Peng Contest, 10-11 November, from 19.00-23.00 Hrs., at the area in front of the Tha Phae Gate.
Spirit House and Chedi Khao Worship Ceremony, as well as asking the Goddess of the Ping River for forgiveness, 11 November from 08.09 – 10.30 Hrs., at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office, Wat Si Khong Pier.
Handmade Krathong Made of Banana Leaves and Fresh Flowers Contest, 11 November, 2019, from 09.00-15.00 Hrs., at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
Cultural Performances, 11-12 November from 19.00-22.00 Hrs., at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
Releasing Lanna-style Krathong Sai, 11 November from 19.00-22.00 Hrs., at the Ping Riverside, in front of the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
Giant Krathong Parade Contest, 12 November from 19.00-23.00 Hrs., from the area in front of the Tha Phae Gate to the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
Fireworks Display, 12 November from 19.30 Hrs. and 21.30 Hrs., at the Ping Riverside, in front of the Chiang Mai Municipality Office.
Suep Hit San Hoi Hom Poi and Revering Phra Siri Mangkhalachan, 10-12 November from 10.00-23.00 Hrs., at the Chiang Mai Religion Practice Centre.
Listening to Sermons and Lighting Lanterns to Revere Phra Chedi, 10-12 November from 09.00-22.00 Hrs., at Wat Lok Moli.
Music for Creativity, Culture for Happiness, 10-12 November from 18.00-24.00 Hrs., in front of the First Church of Chiang Mai – close to the Nawarat Bridge.
Sukhothai Loy Krathong and Candle Festival 2-11 November commemorate 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.
Ceremony to Welcome the Dawn of Happiness – offering dried food to Buddhist monks, at 05.55 Hrs., at Saphan Bun, Wat Traphang Thong.
Exhibition at Lan Pho, at the back of Wat Chana Songkhram.
Lan Thet Lan Tham (Sermon of the Great Birth), at 13.00 Hrs., at Dong Tan.
Talat Laek Bia (the ancient market of the Sukhothai Era), Folk Sports Show, Sword and Staff Fighting Show, Thread-wound Fist Thai Boxing Show, at 16.00 Hrs., at Sala Si Lang (The Four Pavilions).
Traditional Thai Music Performance, at 17.00 Hrs., at Wat Chana Songkhram (on the Khon performance stage).
Khao Khwan Wan Len Fai (Sukhothai Gala Dinner), at 17.30 Hrs., at the area in front of Wat Maha That, Sukhothai Historical Park.
Light and Sound Performance, at 19.30 Hrs., at Wat Maha That.
Khon Performance, Joe Louis Traditional Thai Puppet Show, Lakhon Nok (play performed by males), and Lakhon Nai (play performed by females), at 20.30 Hrs., at Wat Chana Songkhram.
Fireworks Display, at 20.30 Hrs., at the pond of Wat Sa Si (Traphang Trakuan).
The Legend of Thao Si Chulalak Performance, at 22.30 Hrs., at the pond of Wat Sa Si (Traphang Trakuan).
Fireworks Display, at 23.00 Hrs., at the pond of Wat Sa Si (Traphang Trakuan).
On 11 November (Loi Krathong Day), more activities are available:
- Procession around Sukhothai City to invite the Royal Inauguration Flame and Lanterns, at 20.00 Hrs., (procession assembles at 14.00 Hrs.)
- Royal Procession, Tradition and Culture Processions of 9 districts, and a Procession of Nang Nopphamat.
- Floating the Royal Krathong and Lantern by the Chairman of the Ceremony to mark the auspicious occasion, at 23.00 Hrs., at the pond of Wat Sa Si (Traphang Trakuan).
Tak Loy Krathong Sai Festival 9-13 November is famous for its Loi Krathong Sai or the floating of a long line of coconut shell krathongs.
Preparation to invite the Royal Inauguration Krathong, Krathong Sai Procession, and seven threads of the Krathong Sai Processions, at 17.00 Hrs., at the area in front of the Shrine of King Taksin the Great.
Releasing of the nine Royal Inauguration Krathongs and Lanterns, each from His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn and the other eight members of the Royal Family, Krathong Sai Boat Procession, and 7 threads of the Krathong Sai Processions, at 18.30 Hrs., at the area in front of the Shrine of King Taksin the Great
Ceremony to Invite the Royal Inauguration Krathongs and Lanterns to be housed at the stage in the middle of the Ping River, on 9 November, 2019, at 21.00 Hrs.
The Opening Ceremony & the Floating of the Loi Krathong Sai Festival and a Thousand Floating Lanterns 2019, on 9 November at Lan Krathong Sai by the Ping Riverside, at the foot of the Somphot Krung Rattanakosin Song Roi Pi Bridge.
Experience traditional food for dinner, on 10 – 13 November, 18.30 Hrs. onwards, at Lan Krathong Sai by the Ping Riverside, at the foot of the Somphot Krung Rattanakosin Song Roi Pi Bridge.
Lampang Ngan Sapao Chao Lakon is the only location in Northern Thailand that still makes ‘long sapao’ or floats junk-like krathongs.
Roi Et “Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip” 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.
Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip (Roi Et Loi Krathong Festival 2019)
10-11 November at Somdet Phra Si Nakarin Public Park and Bueng Phlan Chai, Roi Et
Activities: Ceremony to Pay Homage to the City’s Sacred Spirits, Krathong and Giant Lantern Contest, Environmentally-Friendly Krathong Contest, Thida Saket Nakhon Beauty Contest, Somma Nam Khuen Pheng Seng Prathip Thai Folk Dance Contest, and the replica of Saket Nakhon City’s Krathong Procession.
As well as Bangkok and the six unique destinations that TAT provides support for the Loi Krathong celebrations, local and international tourists can enjoy the ‘krathong’ floating activities at different locations all over the country.
Ratchaburi Loy Krathong Si Festival 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 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.
Loi Krathong Tam Prathip (Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Loi Krathong Festival 2019), on 11 November at Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, Ayutthaya. Activities: float krathongs on the Chao Phraya River.
Loi Krathong Krung Kao Festival, on 11 November at four corners of the Ayutthaya City Island – under the Pridi-Thamrong Bridge, Chedi Si Suriyothai in front of Chankrasem Palace, Pomphet, and the Monument of King Naresuan the Great at theThung Phu Khao Thong area. Activities: Krathong contest, Nopphamat beauty contest and performances on stage.
Loi Krathong Talapat Festival throwing back to the past to join the full moon bathing ceremony, on 11 November at Sam Ruean Sub-district Administrative Organisation Office, Bang Pa-in District. Activities: krathong making workshop, handing out Krathong Talapat, and full moon bathing ceremony.
Loi Krathong Kap Kluai Mae Klong Festival 2019, Samut Songkhram
11-12 November on 11 November at Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong and on 12 November – at King Rama II Memorial Park.
Activities: Floating of 200,000 Krathongs Kap Kluai (banana leaf-sheath krathongs), Krathongs and Illuminated Boats Contest for the King’s Royal Trophy, Mother-Daughter Noppamat Beauty Contest, cultural performances, and workshop on Krathong Kap Kluai making, banana stalk carving, pandan leaves folding, coconut leaves weaving, and more.
‘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.
In North Thailand the Loy Krathong Festival coindices with the Lanna festival 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)