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Make the most of your Thanksgiving holiday at Thailand’s Loi Krathong Festival

The Thai festival of Loi Krathong is celebrated annually on the evening of the full moon during the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar – corresponding to Nov. 25, 2015 this year.

Loi Krathong Festival

The name Loi Krathong essentially means “to float a basket,” and comes from the tradition of floating beautifully decorated baskets (krathongs) on a river, with participants making a wish and giving thanks as they release their basket.

During the festival, expect to see thousands of elaborately decorated krathongs floating down the waterways of Thailand – a sight that must be seen first-hand to be appreciated. And in the bigger cities, beauty pageants and even fireworks shows are common during the Loi Krathong festival.

At the same time as the Loi Krathong festival this year, another traditional Thai celebration – Yi Peng – will be celebrated. Also scheduled around the full moon, the Yi Peng festival features swarms of sky lanterns (khom loi), which float gently into the sky like luminous miniature hot-air balloons.

The khom loi are made from thin fabric, such as rice paper, stretched over a lightweight bamboo or wire frame, with a candle below the opening at the bottom. When the candle is lit, the warm air produced by the flame is enough to lift the khom loi into the sky.

Floating lanterns
Photo courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

In addition to the floating marvel of thousands of candle-lit khom loi, Thais also decorate their homes, gardens and temples during the Yi Peng Festival with elaborate paper lanterns which add to the amazing beauty of the countryside during this special time.

Best places to experience the festivities

Chiang Mai – a history city in the mountainous region of northern Thailand – is where we normally recommend people experience the Loi Krathong festival due to the unique history of the festival in this locale.

The ancient Thai capital city of Sukothai is another great bet for guests who have been to Thailand before and wish to experience the festival in a less touristy area.

Finally, there are celebrations in Bangkok, in the beach towns, and throughout the country if neither of the locations above works with your planned itinerary. The festivals will include events from Nov. 24 – 26 in 2015.

Journeys Within always send our guests with a guide who can explain the historical significance of the festivals, help navigate the crowds, aid in building krathongs and lanterns, and find the best locations to experience the festivities. Due to the popularity of these festivals in Thailand, travelers can expect large crowds – especially in the urban areas – however, it’s worth putting up with the crowds to be a part of such a magical time.

Book now to ensure the best accommodations for these unique festivals

Given the popularity of the Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festivals in Thailand, and the fact that they fall over the convenient Thanksgiving holiday break for U.S. travelers this year, we recommend booking your tour ASAP to ensure the best experience.

Our expert tour planners can plan the perfect itinerary around experiencing these two amazing Thai festivals, while also incorporating cultural excursions in smaller Thai villages, shopping trips to Bangkok, or relaxing days on the white-sand beaches Thailand is famous for.

Call our Thailand experts at (877) 454-3672, or submit an inquiry here to start planning your Thai festival tour today.

Preview the Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festivals

Southeast Asia 2011: Thailand Festivals and Events

When we asked Jaeb what festivals she was looking forward to, she gave us some of her favorites. Plan a trip to participate in one this year!

Songkran Festival celebrates the traditional Thai New Year, and it is celebrated from April 13-15th. Do not even bother trying to stay dry, as the main way to celebrate this festival is by throwing water on anyone and everyone. Probably because it is during the hottest time of the year!
Loy Krathong Festival: In Thai “Loy” means to float and “Krathong” means a circular object with decoration of banana leaves, flowers, a candle and incense sticks. The floating of a Krathong signifies floating away ill fortune as well as expressing apologies to Khongkha or Ganga, the River Goddess. This year the festival is on November 10th.
Traditional Krathongs as an offer to the river Goddess
Rocket Festival in Yasothorn: The festival’s origins lie in a custom of firing rockets into the sky at the start of the rice-growing season to remind King of the sky, to send promised rain. The festival now takes the form of a competition to see whose rocket will stay aloft for the longest time. It is celebrated May 11th-15th.
Which rocket will stay in the air longer?
International Wax Sculpture Festival in Ubon Ratchathani: The candle festival is unique to Ubon Ratchathani province and the customs and traditions related to this Buddhist festival have been diligently preserved by local communities. You can visit the candle and sculpture making communities and meet some of the artists before the grand procession at the end of the month showing off all of the works of art. This festival runs from July 1-31st.
Artists work all month to carve their wax sculptures
Jumbo Banquet at Nakorn Phathom. There are the buffets to be thankful for the elephants for their hard work and there is the elephant theme show and also jumbo queen contest. – May 1st
Elephants enjoying their buffet of fruits and vegetables