This year on November 22nd, at the end of the rainy season, watch the spectacular light display of one of the most picturesque festivals; Loy Krathong.
As the full moon lights up the night sky, thousands of locals converge around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the Goddess of Water or to venerate the Buddha by releasing intricate lotus shaped rafts (Krathong), adorned with flickering candles, incense and flowers onto the water. For Buddhists, the symbolic ‘floating away’ of these beautiful rafts is thought of as the 'letting go' of any negative thoughts and memories and a new beginning.
There are plenty of places in Bangkok where you can get involved with the festivities; here’s how to celebrate Loy Krathong as the locals do.
The Beginning of Loy Krathong
Some say the floating of Krathong synonymous with this ancient festival originated during the time of the Kingdom of Sukhothai. Legend tells of the King’s favourite concubine, Nang Noppamas, endearing herself to the King by making lotus shaped Krathongs for him to float along the river. So enamoured, the King was said to have ordered all future kings to continue this celebration. While historians can’t agree on this origin story, the adopting of a Brahmanical or Hindu festival by Thai Buddhists has become an annual festival celebrated throughout the country and used as an opportunity for religious observance and celebration.
Loy Krathong Riverside
For an eventful day of shopping, sightseeing, activities; as well as a convenient lunch stop, visit Bangkok’s first large scale open-air mall, Asiatique The Riverfront. This vast mall offers a shopping experience set apart from the rest, with over 1,500 boutiques selling everything from clothing and textiles to home decor and souvenirs a plenty. After enjoying lunch at one of the 40 restaurants at Asiatique it’s time to get stuck in with all the festivities. There are plenty of krathongs (floating baskets) on sale around the river or why not have a go at making one yourself using the traditional banana leaf folding method. The main events are hosted at the large boardwalk area in front of Asiatique, with music and dance adding to the atmosphere throughout.
Loy Krathong becomes it’s most spectacular as the sun goes down and fireworks dominate the sky above the river. This light and sound spectacle is only made more impressive with a riverside viewing position.
Top tip: take the shuttle boat in front of Saphan Taksin BTS Station to avoid massive queues getting to and from Asiatique.
Where to Stay for Loy Krathong
Enjoy the Loy Krathong festivities in luxury-comfort, at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers situated on the Bangkok riverfront. This year the hotel is holding its very own Loy Krathong event where you will be able to dine beside the river with a specially prepared Thai menu at Thara Thong as well as incredible buffet variety at Riverside Terrace. The festivities at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel include a Nang Noppamas beauty contest a classical Thai dance show along with Glong Yao drumming. You will of course also receive your very own Krathong to release during the events of the night, as you view the fireworks over Chao Phraya River from one of the best possible spots in Bangkok. After which you can retire to the indulgent comfort of your 5-star suite overlooking the water.
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