Loy Krathong Festival, also known as the Thai Festival of Lights, is one of the most important festivals in Thailand. The highlight of the festival comes when people gather around rivers, lakes, and canals to release floating lanterns to pay respect to the goddess of water.
The magnificent festival offers people a captivating opportunity to immerse themselves in Thai culture and traditions.
In this guide, we will delve into the essential aspects of Loy Krathong in Bangkok, ensuring that you can fully embrace and appreciate this culturally enriching experience.
What is Loy Krathong?
Loy Krathong is a revered festival in Thai culture, rooted in ancient traditions and spiritual beliefs.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, it signifies gratitude towards the Water Goddess and symbolizes the release of negativity.
During Loy Krathong, Thais float krathongs, typically made of banana leaves, flowers, and candles, on bodies of water, marking a fresh start and welcoming good fortune.
It happens on the Full Moon of the 12th month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar and the date changes each year for the western calendar. This year, in 2023, it will take place on November 28th.
What Can You Experience in Bangkok During Loy Krathong Festival?
Loy Krathong is a vibrant festival celebrated annually in Bangkok, Thailand. Here are some activities you can participate in to celebrate this beautiful occasion:
1. Krathong Making Workshops: Engage in hands-on experiences and learn how to make your own krathong.
2. Krathong Procession at Chao Phraya River: Witness the magnificent sight of thousands of krathongs floating along the iconic Chao Phraya River. Join the riverbank crowds or opt for a river cruise to see the beautifully illuminated floats, all while enjoying traditional music and dance performances.
3. Enjoy cultural performances: Experience the festive atmosphere at various locations, such as Asiatique, a riverside night market, featuring cultural performances, fireworks, and a delightful array of food stalls.
4. Visit Temples: Witness Loy Krathong rituals at temples like Wat Arun or Wat Saket. Watch the locals paying their respects to the Buddha, floating their krathongs, and lighting candles, creating a serene and spiritual ambiance.
5. Indulge in Loy Krathong Cuisine: Try delicious Thai dishes associated with the festival, like "kanom krok" (coconut-rice pancakes) or "khao chae" (jasmine rice in iced jasmine water).
To fully immerse yourself in the enchanting lantern experience, we highly recommend a visit to Chiang Mai. In this captivating city, you can bear witness to the breathtaking Yi Peng Lantern Festival, where thousands of lanterns beautifully illuminate the night sky.
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The Best Places to Float a Krathong in Bangkok
In Bangkok, there are several popular places where you can float a krathong and experience this charming event. Here are some of the best places to float a krathong in Bangkok:
1. Chao Phraya River
The iconic river that runs through Bangkok is one of the most popular places to float krathongs. Many riverside hotels, parks, and temples organize special events during the Loy Krathong Festival, providing a picturesque backdrop for your floating experience.
The activities usually include krathongs releases, prayer processions, donation ceremonies, candlelight processions, blessings, Thai traditional dance, and a spectacular firework display.
Taking a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River during Loy Krathong can be a fantastic way to celebrate the festival. It offers a unique and memorable experience as you get to enjoy a delicious meal while admiring the illuminated riverside and the floating krathongs. It's advisable to make reservations in advance to secure your spot.
2. Asiatique The Riverfront
Asiatique The Riverfront is a lively shopping and entertainment complex located by the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.
During the Loy Krathong Festival, it becomes a festive hub for floating krathongs. The area is adorned with lanterns and traditional decorations, offering a magical ambiance. You can purchase a krathong from the stalls or bring your own. Asiatique provides designated areas along the river where you can release your krathong.
The complex hosts special activities and performances, such as traditional Thai music, dance shows, and cultural displays, adding to the festive atmosphere.
3. Tha Maharaj Mall
Tha Maharaj Mall next to the Chao Phraya River is one of the few shopping centers that is well-known for putting on a great show during Loy Krathong. During Loy Krathong, the shopping center is full of festive lights and in the open-air garden, you can watch people performing Siamese-era dances while dressed up in traditional Thai costumes.
There will be various styles of Krathongs available for purchase here and plenty of people floating their Krathong on the river from the riverside promenade.
4. Wat Arun
Also known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun is located by the riverside and is a popular spot to float krathongs. The temple's beautiful architecture creates a magical atmosphere during the festival.
During Loy Kratong, you can see many unique activities in the temples such as prayer processions, donation ceremonies, candlelight processions, blessings, and Thai traditional dance.
5. Wat Pho
Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho) is open for worshiping the reclining Buddha (the reclining Buddha) and lighting a replica of the Buddha's footprint. Attend the exhibition of King Vajiralongkorn on display by the temple. There are also Thai music performances and a fair from the community.
6. Lumpini Park
This centrally-located park offers a tranquil setting for floating a krathong. Located in the heart of Bangkok, it attracts both locals and tourists to celebrate Loy Krathong.
7. Benjasiri Park
Situated near the Emporium Shopping Mall, Benjasiri Park is a great place to float a krathong in downtown Bangkok. It features a picturesque lake, which provides a peaceful environment for the tradition.
8. Riverside Hotels for Loy Krathong
Riverside hotels such as Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, The Peninsula, and Shangri La Hotel Bangkok are popular. They often have Loy Krathong events combined with a special dinner.
Tips for Attending the Festival
- Plan ahead: Check the festival schedule, including specific events and performances you don't want to miss.
- Respect the culture: Dress appropriately in modest and respectful attire, particularly if visiting temples.
- Be mindful of others: Avoid disruptive behavior and respect the personal space of fellow attendees.
- Arrive early: To secure a good spot for floating your krathong or watching the festivities.
- Embrace the local cuisine: Sample the wide array of delicious street food options available at the festival to truly savor the flavors of Thailand.
- Bring cash: Some activities, food stalls, or souvenir vendors may only accept cash payments.
- Capture the memories: Preserve the enchanting moments by taking photographs, but be considerate of others around you.
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