All you need to know about Loy Krathong, Thailand Festival of Lights

Post at: 2023-07-05, By: thanh
If you plan to visit Thailand in November, there’s an incredible festival you absolutely mustn’t miss: Loy Krathong. Also known as the Thai Festival of Lights, this enchanting festival is one of Thailand’s most captivating celebrations, and its popularity is surpassed only by that of the New Year’s festival, Songkran. Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout […]

If you plan to visit Thailand in November, there’s an incredible festival you absolutely mustn’t miss: Loy Krathong. Also known as the Thai Festival of Lights, this enchanting festival is one of Thailand’s most captivating celebrations, and its popularity is surpassed only by that of the New Year’s festival, Songkran.

Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout the country, as well as in parts of Laos and Myanmar (Shan State), where it is known as Tazaungdaing. Keep reading for ideas on how to experience the magic of Loy Krathong to the full.

1. What is Loy Krathong Festival

The Loy Krathong Festival is an annual tradition in Thailand, where people come together to honor the Goddess of Water and the Buddha. Although it is not a public holiday, this festival is celebrated throughout the country as individuals gather near lakes, rivers, and canals to release floating lanterns or Krathongs onto the waterways.

2. Origin of Loy Krathong Festival

While the exact origins of this festival remain uncertain, Thai folklore tells a highly popular version of the event. According to this well-known tale, Loy Krathong originated in the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai in the 14th century. The story revolves around a woman named Nang Noppamas, who was the wife of the King of Sukhothai. According to legend, Nang Noppamas created the first ornate krathong and presented it to the king.

Inspired by an existing Brahman tradition, she fashioned the krathong from banana leaves, which she skillfully shaped into the form of a lotus flower. A candle and incense sticks were placed in the center. It is said that the king lit the candle and incense, then released the krathong onto one of Sukhothai’s lakes.


Although this tale has a romantic allure, its historical veracity remains uncertain. Historians claim that Nang Noppamas may have been a fictional character. Whatever the case, Loy Krathong continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many Thais as an enchanting festival. In honor of the role attributed to Nang Noppamas, Loy Krathong beauty queen competitions are held to select a woman to receive the honorary title of “Nang Noppamas”.

3. When is Loy Krathong celebrated?

Loy Krathong is celebrated on the evening of the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in November according to the Occidental calendar. As a result, the precise date of Loy Krathong varies from year to year, depending on the full moon.

In 2023, this joyous festival will be celebrated on the evening of November 28.

4. Meanings of Loy Krathong Festival

The word “Loy” in Thai means the action of floating, while “Krathong” means basket or boat. Loy Krathong therefore essentially means “to float a basket”.  A typical krathong is made from the stem or trunk of a banana tree. The krathong is then decorated with beautiful banana leaves and flowers. Before the krathong is launched onto the nearest body of water, incense sticks and candles are delicately placed inside and lit. With the utmost respect, a silent vow or prayer is made before gently releasing the krathong onto the surface of the water.

As part of the Loy Krathong tradition, it’s customary to include in the krathong a small token of personal significance, such as a fingernail clipping or a lock of hair, as well as a coin. This gesture is a mark of respect to the river spirits and, in particular, to the revered water goddess known as Phra Mae Khongkha.

5. How do Thai people celebrate Loy Krathong Festival

In traditional Loy Krathong celebrations, Thais usually start the festival by making their own Krathongs at home, often in the company of friends and family. However, it’s also common to buy Krathongs in local stores. At dusk, everyone gathers near rivers or temples where religious ceremonies are taking place, and the beautifully crafted Krathongs are set afloat on the water.

Today, this festival is celebrated all over Thailand. Festivities include mesmerizing fireworks displays, friendly competitions to build the largest and most ornate Krathongs, and beauty contests known as Noppamas Queen Contests.


6. Best destinations to experience Thai Festival of Lights

a. Chiang Mai: Enjoy two Festivals in One

Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in northern Thailand, is renowned as the ideal destination to immerse oneself in the magical atmosphere of Loy Krathong Festival. In addition to the captivating Loy Krathong celebrations, the city also hosts another magnificent event known as the Yi Peng Festival, also referred to as the Thailand Sky Lantern Festival. Remarkably, both festivals coincide on the same day.


In 2023, Loy Krathong and Yi Peng will be celebrated from the 27th to the 28th of November. During this time, Chiang Mai transforms into an enchanting spectacle reminiscent of a fairy tale. The river glows with the gentle light of floating lanterns released during Loy Krathong, while the night sky dazzles with the mesmerizing sight of flying lanterns adorning the Yi Peng Festival. Bearing witness to these two extraordinary festivals is an unparalleled, once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed.

b. Sukhothai: Birthplace of Loy Krathong Festival

Sukhothai, birthplace of the Loy Krathong festival, is one of the best destinations to fully immerse yourself in this delightful celebration. The festival in Sukhothai spans five days, with the majority of events taking place in the historic Sukhothai Park.


In addition to the enchanting floating lantern show, Sukhothai offers a myriad of other captivating experiences. Visitors can take part in a beauty contest, watch animated parades, enjoy folk music performances and be mesmerized by Sukhothai’s breathtaking sound and light show.

c. Bangkok

During Loy Krathong night, the Chao Phraya River becomes the vibrant epicenter of activities in Bangkok. Asiatique The Riverfront hosts one of the largest organized events, featuring dazzling firework displays and family-friendly attractions. For an exceptional Loy Krathong experience in the Thai capital, consider booking an evening dinner cruise, which provides a captivating perspective of the festivities. Additionally, hotels located along the river often arrange special events for their guests.


While the riverfront area tends to be bustling with crowds on Loy Krathong night, those seeking a more serene atmosphere can opt for the tranquil lakes at Lumphini Park and Benjasiri Park. These scenic locations offer a quieter alternative and are favored by local families as well.

d. Phuket: Loy Krathong Festival and relaxing on the beach

For travelers seeking a serene experience of Loy Krathong while avoiding the usual festival crowds, Phuket presents an excellent choice. In Phuket, Loy Krathong is celebrated with a more laid-back atmosphere, and many hotels and resorts offer workshops where you can learn to create your own Krathong and assist you in releasing it out to sea.


The festival is observed across various waterways and beaches, including popular spots like Patong Beach and Nai Harn Beach. However, for a more authentic local experience, you can venture to Kata Beach, Karon Beach, Saphan Hin Park, or Suan Luang Park in Phuket Town. These locations serve as gathering points for the local Thai community, where they come together to release their krathongs and celebrate this joyous occasion.

If you only plan to visit Thailand once in your life, go in November! With the Festival of Lights, Thailand has become a well-deserved hotspot every year. Contact us now and start dreaming about your trip to Thailand during the Loy Krathong festival.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Customer Reviews