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On the full moon night of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, Thais celebrate one of the most beautiful festivals known as Loy Kratong. It usually falls in the month of November when the tide is at its highest in the whole year.

Loy Kratong

Loy means to float and kratong means lantern or little vessel made in resemblance of a lotus flower. Loy kratong is the festival where people float candle-lit lanterns in the water - mainly in rivers, canals, ponds and the sea on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month.

In the past, lanterns were usually made of a piece of sliced banana-tree trunk, which floats on the water. It was then decorated to resemble a lotus flower. Intricately folded banana leaves, in the shape of lotus petals, would be gathered around the circular edge to form the shape of an open lotus flower.

Then a candle, 3 incense sticks and beautiful flowers would be put inside the lantern. Today you can find lanterns made from styrofoam, baked flour and other materials. Among various types of lanterns, the baked flour kind has become quite popular because it also feeds the fish in the river.

The Purpose Of Loy Kratong

There are several reasons to float lanterns during the Loy Kratong festival, but the most common ones are:

1. To thank the Goddess of water Phra Mae Khongkha for letting us use water in our daily lives and to apologize to her for polluting it when showering and washing, etc.

2. To pay respect to the Buddha footprints on Nammatanati river bank in India.

3. To symbolically let go of unhappiness and sickness we put a coin, fingernail or a strand of hair in the lantern with the candle, incense sticks and the decorated flowers. Then, we let the lantern float away...

By showing respect to the Goddess of Water, we stop for a moment to think of the benefits we receive from it. At the same time, we can reflect whether we ever waste or pollute water and learn to use it more wisely.

The Origin Of The Loy Kratong Festival

Celebrate the loy kratong festival in Sukhothai, Thailand
This festival is believed to have originated in the Sukhothai reign. The first person to ever create and float a lantern in a river was the chief consort of Phra Ruang, the King at that time. Her name was Nang Noppamas and later on she was entitled princess Tao Srijuralak.

Since the king was really impressed with her creation of the lantern, he stated that this practice should be continued yearly from now on.


There are two main activities during Loy Kratong festivals including a beauty contest known as Noppamas Beauty Contest and a lantern contest. Fireworks, performances and other types of entertainment are common too.

Other than that it is one of the days when Thais enjoy themselves. There is a Loy Kratong song for this special day and Thais enjoy dancing Thai dances to the rhythms of this song.

Noppamas Beauty Contest

Celebrate the loy kratong festival in November in Thailand
This is the main attraction for visitors. Noppamas represents Princess Srijuralak who was the first person to ever create a Loy Kratong lantern. The contestants dress in traditional Thai costumes from different eras.

Watching this beauty contest is like going to a grand traditional Thai costume-fashion show. Each contestant will be asked a question about the Loy Kratong tradition. The judge will give points based on the costume, the wit and manner of the contestants.

Lantern Contest

The lanterns can be very elaborate and are judged on materials, creativity and workmanship. Each lantern can take a team over a month to complete and the best lantern wins a prize.

Where To Celebrate The Loy Kratong Festival?

The Loy Kratong Festival is celebrated in every part of Thailand. There are usually a few festivals in each province. Each is arranged by either the local government or private organizations.

However, the most well known festivals are in the following cities: Bangkok, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Taak. Each venue features its own unique traditions. Please note that the locations and activities may vary from year to year. So, it's a good idea to check with the local tourist office beforehand.

The festivities usually span over a few days, while the most important activities are held on the last day which is Loy Kratong day. Certain big hotels located by rivers also offer special dinners with entertainment on Loy Kratong night.

If you plan to visit Thailand in November, here are the provinces that offer unique Loy Kratong Festivals you wouldn't want to miss.


Location: Along the Chao Phraya River.

Celebrate the loy kratong festival along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok
Photo: Courtesy of Tourism Authority Of Thailand

- Watching floats of decorated lit-up boats

- Watching cultural shows

- Observing how to make traditional Thai food

- Shopping in a traditional Thai market


Location: Sukhothai Historical Park.


- Watching a light and sound performance

- Sukhothai arts and culture Performances.


In Chiangmai the Loy Kratong festival is known as Yee Peng Chiangmai.

Location: The Old City Moat or ku muang derm.


- Listening to Thai-Western fusion music

- Launching sky lanterns

- Learning Thai handicrafts

- Tasting Northern Thai dishes


Celebrate the loy kratong festival in Taak, Thailand
In Taak the Loy Kratong festival is known as Loy Kratong Sai which refers to floating the lanterns in lines.

Location: Ping River


- Floating coconut-shell lanterns in lines

- Watching cultural entertainment

- Observing traditional Thai costumes

- Shopping for local handicrafts

Enjoy our colorful Loy Kratong Festival!

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