On an evening in the twelfth month of the lunar calendar, one of the most beautiful and romantic festivals in the world takes place in Thailand. Thousands of candles on floating lanterns are released across the rivers and waters and the air is filled with joy and prosperity for the future. This wonderful spectacle marks Loy Krathong (meaning ‘floating a basket’).
What is Loy Krathong?
Loy Krathong is celebrated in Thailand and its neighboring countries when the moon is at its fullest. Shining brightly in the sky, the full moon provides an incredible backdrop for thousands of smiling people taking part in the enchanting annual ritual of releasing blessed, lucky water floats, often referred to as krathongs.
The custom is to thank the Goddess of Water for providing Thai people with a generous supply for that year and for the year to come. It is also believed that floating krathongs is a way of releasing bad feelings and bringing good luck for the year ahead. Many romantic couples attend this festival every year to bring them luck in love. Traditionally, krathongs are made of a slice of a banana tree trunk or a spider lily plant. They are decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, three incense sticks, a candle and sometimes money. People often make their own krathongs by hand for that special, personal touch.
It is always particularly special to celebrate a festival where it began and experience it in all its glory. With Sukhothai considered the birthplace of Loy Krathong, it is inarguably one of the most significant places to celebrate the festival. This year, the fantastic festivities will take place from 16-25 November in the province primarily in the tranquil Sukhothai Historical Park. Kickstart the celebrations offering alms to monks at the Tra Pang Ngoen Pond at dawn each day. Indulge in exciting spectacles from intriguing Khon mask performances to heart-racing Thai boxing shows.
From intimate homes adorned with lanterns to famous landmarks, the presence and excitement of Loy Krathong can be felt everywhere. We, at HotelQuickly, have handpicked some of the best places in Thailand from where you can experience this beautiful and wonderful festival.
Loy Krathong will be celebrated in every corner of Bangkok on 22 November, all the way from the gorgeous riverside and local parks to luxury hotels. With flickering candles further illuminating the brightly-lit city, Bangkok will become a beautiful sight to behold.
One of the best places to witness the twinkling krathongs disappear into the horizon is undoubtedly by the Chao Phraya River. Asiatique, a popular riverside hangout area with bars, restaurants and markets, is also a fantastic place to be during the festival. You can also head to the Phra Athit Pier and the gleaming Wat Saket temple, two equally stunning riverside locations from where you can take part in the festival. For a more luxurious experience, cruise down the Chao Phraya River and launch a beautiful krathong into the waters. After a magical dinner, sit back and watch a breathtaking display of fireworks over the river while onboard the cruise.
For a more intimate setting, Lumpini Park and Benjasiri Park have lovely lakes in which you can place your krathongs away from the busy, main crowds. Admire the beautiful scene of hundreds of twinkling baskets floating away on the waters under the brilliant full moon.
Where to stay in Bangkok during Loy Krathong?
AVANI Riverside Hotel and Anantara Riverside Hotel both offer luxurious river-facing rooms from which you can admire the festivities. At the same time, there are many hotels across the city that celebrate the festival together with their guests. SO Sofitel Bangkok is one such hotel where guests can float their krathongs in the stunning infinity pool overlooking the city. The Peninsula Bangkok also honors the tradition with a long drum procession, a beauty pageant and a krathong-making competition complete with a delicious dinner.
In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong coincides with Yi Peng, the lantern festival celebrated in northern Thailand. With krathongs floating in the waters and sky lanterns shimmering across the dark blue sky, Chiang Mai inarguably offers one of the most vibrant atmospheres to celebrate.
The festivities will take place from 21-23 November this year, with Loy Krathong falling on 22 November. Be among the thousands of joyful people gathering by the famous Ping River and Nawarat Bridge to send beautiful krathongs down the river. You will be sure to have lots of great fun during the festive period with Lanna Dance performances, krathong-making contests, parades and fireworks.
The awe-inspiring Yi Peng festival can also be celebrated during Loy Krathong. One of the best venues to partake in the celebrations is at the Mae Jo University, where a mass sky lantern release is hosted annually, creating a picture-perfect sky. The Saphan Nawarat Bridge and Iron Bridge are equally great places from where you can launch sky lanterns as well as krathongs, celebrating both festivals in one go.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai during Loy Krathong?
Riverside hotels in Chiang Mai in the vicinity of the Ping River including the Rimping Village Hotel and Maraya Hotel and Resort will allow you get to the heart of the celebrations in a matter of minutes and beat the crowds. The Chiang Mai Riverside Hotel even lets guests perform the rituals of floating a krathong down the Ping River and releasing paper lanterns into the sky. The Aruntara Riverside Boutique Hotel has taken the celebration all the way to its kitchen and has created an exquisite Thai dinner menu exclusively for the festival.
See Hotels In Chiang Mai
Apart from celebrating Loy Krathong in the major cities of Thailand, you can also enjoy the festival on the beautiful islands and beachside towns across the country. In these locations, you will be able to experience both Loy Krathong and Yi Peng to their fullest. It is truly a special and breathtaking sight to see hundreds of glowing lanterns floating across the ocean and disappear into the full moon sky. It is a wonderful experience for anyone in Thailand during this time.
Faristha’s fascination with words began at the age of eleven when her short story was published in a children’s book series. Pursuing her passion, she has written for online magazines, runs a creative blog, and is now a Content Writer at HotelQuickly in Bangkok. Having grown up in Hong Kong and been to various countries including India, France and Mexico, Faristha is a wanderlust at heart and hopes to provide others like herself with travel inspiration through her gift of writing.