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Loy Krathong Festival In Thailand

Updated on November 20, 2011


This festival takes place normally in November in Thailand, depending on the lunar calendar. The festival is believed to originate in an ancient practice of paying respect to the spirit of the waters. The festival involves placing "Krathongs" (decorated floats) on the water with lit candles and letting them float away into the dark night. The legend states that when the "Krathong" floats away into the distance .. your problems, anger and troubles go along with it. Another tradition on this Thai holiday is the practice of lighting lanterns that float away into the night lighting up the sky. Thai people also decorate their houses with candles and ornaments during the days leading up to the Loy Kratong Festival.

The Krathong
The Krathong

The Loy Krathong Festival is considered to be a romantic holiday for new couples. The float (or Krathong) is normally made of the stalk of a banana tree, surrounded by banana leaf, and flowers. There will be several candels arranged in the center of the float that will meant to be lit just prior to launch. Thai people usually choose to make their own floats, especially if it is meant to be romantic, however.. there are several vendors that are selling pre made floats at any location near the water. The rivers and lakes of Thailand are covered with these candle lit floats every year on this holiday.

The festival is more about the floats than the lanterns, personally I find the lanterns far more impressive. For only 100THB(3USD), you can purchase 3 lanterns. The lanterns have a thin paper outer layer, and a small wax fuel source in the bottom center. When the fuel source has been lit, the lantern expands with hot air, and eventually the lantern will float up, up, and away into the night. Watching the lantern go higher and higher, is quite the experience. Once the lantern's fuel source is burned out, it will fall harmlessly to the ground.

If you are travelling through Thailand, I would recommend that you try to arrive in Chiang Mai for the Loy Krathong Festival. I have had some wonderful experiences in Phuket, and in Bangkok on this holiday, but nothing compares to the festival in Chiang Mai. The people of Northern Thailand have a reputation for being very friendly, and they love to celebrate. This is never more apparent than in April during the festival of Songkran, when the people of Chiang Mai celebrate for almost 2 weeks, when those in Phuket and Bangkok only celebrated for 1 or 2 days. If you have not visited Chiang Mai, you have missed out on one of the best attractions that Thailand has to offer!



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    • profile image

      Yogesh 3 years ago

      We were in Pai and it was like Naam all over again But the night before we Loy Krathong by the river near Mae Rim and it was so peefucal, later on sending hundreds of fiery krothongs into the air, together with our close family and other villagers. Actually I don't mind all the noise, after 3 days it reminds you to be thankful for the quietness again.And wouldnt you say it's actually a good time to make offerings to the goddess of water? Sivan

    • profile image

      Buddy 3 years ago

      Play infaimotrve for me, Mr. internet writer.

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Yes the celebrations at Ratchaphruek floral exhibition have already been canceled

    • johncimble profile image

      johncimble 6 years ago from Bangkok

      i think this year will be no more fun for Loy Kratong Festival... because of flooding :(

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 7 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      AI T,

      Loy Krathong normally takes place in November, and yes the date varies.

      2005: Nov 16

      2006: Nov 5

      2007: Nov 24

      2008: Nov 13

      2009: Nov 2

      2010: Nov 21

      2011: Nov 10

      And it certainly is a holiday, even if the banks and government offices are not closed. Perhaps you need to check the definition of a holiday?



    • profile image

      Al T 7 years ago

      Loy Krathong is not actually a holiday.

      And it does not necessaraly happen at the end of November as it is a lunar festival. I think its either the 9th or 10th calender moon. So the date of the festival varies from year to year.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 7 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Loy Krathong is also a Thai version of Valentines Day. Beautiful hub and enjoyed reading it!

    • simon64 profile image

      simon64 7 years ago from UK

      I hope to see the Loy Krathong festival someday. I often travel to Thailand as my wife is Thai and we go back on a regular basis to see her family in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately we've never visited during this festival.

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 7 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Peter and Will, If you have not been to Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong, It is something you must see. I have been far more impressed this year in Chiang Mai, than in previous years in Phuket or Bangkok.

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 7 years ago

      They actually seem to put up more Kratong during the Chinese religious festivals in the South than at Loy Krathong. I love the lakes overflowing with lights as much as the sky full of lanterns.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

      Thank you for that. This year was the best ever festival in Pattaya. There was a full moon and the tide was going out. The lanterns went straight up and the Krathongs floated straight out. A large number of girls went for national dress. I have never seen the city or the beach so busy. Truly beautiful. I understand the lanterns were falling straight down when burned out but I was buried in a bar before that happened. Loved the photos. I feel I know you better now.

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 7 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Well yes, it is very beautiful ..

      As far as all your troubles floating away,

      I can not make any such guarantee!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This festival sounds like it would be beautiful to watch.

      And what a lovely idea - to have all your troubles float away.