Loi Krathong: Thai Festival of Lights 101

Loi Krathong - Thai Festival of Lights 101

Thailand has numerous festivals, both national and regional.   The biggest and most famous of them all is the Loi Krathong festival which is celebrated countrywide on the night of the full moon in November. It has an amazing feeling of community spirit when Thais come out to eat drink and be merry. Tourists join in also.

Also known as the festival of lights,  the amount of time and effort put into it is amazing. The smiles in the land of smiles get even wider during Loi Krathong. Overall it is celebrated for five days but the full moon day is the big one. The night of the full moon in the 12th lunar month on the Thai calendar. Usually November on the western calendar.

Lanterns & Boats

During the three days, Thai’s pay respect to the water goddess by making small lotus-shaped boats out of banana leaves.    In these boats, they place candles, incense, flowers and a small coin or two and push them onto a lake, pond, river or canal.    It is also said to bring good luck in regards to your love life. On the big night, large lanterns with candles in them are floated high into the night sky for spectacular effects.

The Big Night in Little Pai

Pai in the north of Thailand is as good as any town to experience the Loi Krathong festival. On the night of the November full moon, the whole community comes out for a night of food and fun among other things. A real family affair   Firstly, around sunset there is an enormous parade of highly decorated floats that wind their way around the narrow streets.

Eventually, they all arrive at a local park where dozens of food and drink vendors have set up stalls for the night.   There may be anything from displays of Takraw (best described as foot volleyball), and Thai boxing as well as live music and the quintessential Thai beauty contest.  But it will be the choice of food that as always in Thailand will be the main focus of the night. Grab a cheap beer to wash down your Pad Thai and you also will be smiling.

The Even Bigger Loi Krathong Festival Places

Apart from Bangkok where it is celebrated beside the Chao Praya river two of the most popular places are Chiang Mai and Sukhotai, where it originated.

In Sukhothai, the centuries-old Historical park puts on a light and sound show that is a big hit with tourists and locals alike.    Chiang Mai sees massive crowds on the streets all in festival mode.

The Best Thai Festival

While there is no such thing as a bad Thai festival the Loi Krathong festival is both the biggest and the best of the best.   The feeling of community spirit and the smiles on the kids’ faces alone is enough in itself to arrive in the KIngdom at this time. You will most certainly be enchanted by it all.

Loi Krathong Festival occurs on November the 13th in 2019 and November the 1st in 2020.

Want to experience the Festival of Lights in a place of origin?

Check out our Tours which visit Chiang Mai and Sukhothai for inspiration, and let us create a Custom Tour for you – just get in touch.

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