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Loy Krathong Festival

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Thailand Festivals, Thailand Travel

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If your lucky enough to be on holiday in Thailand in November, you should make sure your hotel is somewhere near a river or beach or at least some body of water for this is the time of Thailand’s most beautiful festival, Loy Krathong. Almost every river, canal, beach front and night-sky will all be glowing with the water offerings and paper lanterns released during these few days, but the main event will occur on the 12th.

Loy Krathong began in the northern province of Sukhothai during the reign of Thai King Rama IV in 1863, and is now one of the most popular Thai celebrations and is celebrated throughout Thailand every year. The raft is decorated with elaborately folded banana leaves (a Krathong-small raft made of banana tree leaves), flowers, candles, and incense sticks. The incense and candles are lit and the Kratong is pushed out onto the water in a symbolic act of letting go of one’s bad luck. The term Loi, or Loy, means “float” and this is what is happening to your bad luck, it floats away.

Each province in Thailand celebrates their own versions of Loy Krathong and the Government offices hold big events to celebrate the full moon buring this time. Chiang Mai’s skyline lights up as the capital of the north celebrates with Yi Peng Lantern balloons released. These lanterns float into the night’s sky fuelled by only a small candle inside. Ayutthaya, just north of Bangkok, holds Krathong contests and puts on a re-enactment of an ancient Loy Krathong festival, and in contrast to these cultural performances they hold a Miss Noppamas beauty contest. As can be imagined the best place to watch the celebrations of Loy Krathong would probably be Bangkok were all the waterways, including the great Chao Praya River, have small and large Krathongs reflecting of the waters surface as the night-sky’s are filled with fireworks.

Hotel Name/Location Class Price
The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai 26 GBP
Ambassador Hotel Bangkok Ambassador Hotel Bangkok 26 GBP
Deevana Patong Resort & Spa Phuket Deevana Patong Resort & Spa Phuket 19 GBP

The actual act of these rafts floating also has some other important means to people, besides letting go of your bad luck. For many Thais the Krathong is a way to thank the goddess of water, Phra Mae Kongka, for allowing them to use the water from rivers and canals all year long. For romantic couples the Krathong is floated out and should stay upright until it has left their sight, this is a symbol their love will last forever.

The biggest advantage for anyone on holiday in Thailand during this time is that this festival is one in which both Thais and tourists can participate. In fact local Thai people actively get tourists to purchase and float their own Krathong. This is a wonderful time to get to know many new Thai friends and is a great way to break the ice. Start asking about what Loy Krathong means to them and many Thais will be happy to share their thoughts about this wonderful festival.

Songkran – Thailand New Year

Posted on : 13-03-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Krabi, Thailand Festivals

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The Thai New Year Songkran is better known as the water festival and if you’ve never been to Thailand during this period you truly are missing a wondrous site.

Songkran BikerSongkran falls in the hottest (+40°C or +100°F) time of the year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season and with the coming of the rains Thai people become generous with their water and start throwing it about a bit, a lot in fact. Everyone will be armed with the latest pump action water pistols and walk the streets just soaking everyone else. Pick up trucks will be jammed full of people surrounding a large water butt and as the truck drives past bowls of water are tossed from the container onto everyone. Home owners on popular routs will have their own water butts outside their homes or it some cases a garden hose and drench each other and passersby.

As fun as this all sounds it is also tradition to visit and pay respects to family and elders. Many Thai people celebrate Songkran by visiting the local Wat for prayers and to give alms to the monks. It is also a time of year to clean out the household shrine to ask for good fortune in the coming year. Many of he cities and local villages will parade the most important Buddha images through the streets giving everyone a chance to ritually bath the image for luck. On the whole Songkran to Thai people is no different to other cultures really. Songkran PickupThey make New Year resolutions to be better people, they cleanse their homes for a better future and promise the following year will be better. The only difference between their celebration and that in the UK is they have fun.

What started as gently pouring water over peoples hands has grown into one huge street water fight. If you are lucky enough to be in Thailand at this time of year then don’t take your camera out unless its protected. Don’t wear your best Prada or Gucci you bought in Pratunam market, just get yourself an UBER pump action water pistol and have some of the best fun since you grew up.