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Grab your Raft and Float it Down River in Thailand’s most Colorful Festival; Loy Krathong

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What is Loy Krathong? Well, it is an important festival in Thailand and in certain parts of Laos. It is celebrated on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in the end of November. In 2010, Loy Krathong will be celebrated on November 21st. The river waters are at its calmest, the moon is full, cities and towns are beautifully lit up, beauty contests are on, romance is ignited and fireworks dominate the air. Make the most of this festival with our Celebrate Loy Krathong tour.

So, now you know when Loy Krathong is celebrated. But the question still remains, what is Loy Krathong? Well, ‘loy’ means float and ‘krathong’ means raft. People float rafts (about the size of the hand) on this day. The Brahmin tradition states that by floating the raft, you are paying respects to the Water Goddess and also asking the deity for forgiveness. As Buddhism spread across Thailand, the tradition continues on and Buddhist elements are added to it. By floating the raft, you are also honoring and venerating Buddha himself (the candle on the raft represents this). The act of floating the raft is also symbolic of letting go of one’s grudges and anger (some will place fingernails or hair on the raft to reflect this) and to start afresh. People will also make wishes and it is believed that if the candle remains burning until the krathong is out of sight then their wish will come true. Because of the overall nature of the holiday, Loy Krathong is considered one of the most romantic days in the Thai calendar.

Ok. Back to the tour. You’ll start things off by visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok. After that, you’ll admire the ruins of Thailand’s former capital over at Ayutthaya Historical Park, an hour north of Bangkok.

The Loy Krathong celebrations begin at Sukhothai, where the ancient capital city comes to life, and more so than any on this day. Watch firework displays, the renowned Miss Noppamas beauty contest and an amazing light and sound show before floating a krathong down a river under the full moon sky.

The tour continues as you head up north to Chiang Mai. A visit to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most iconic temple located in the mountain is in the cards. Continue northwards to Chiang Rai, the gateway to the Golden Triangle. Wat Rong Khun, an unusual temple made entirely in white will be visited.

Continue on to Chiang Saen and the town’s ancient ruins and city walls, then to Sop Ruak, the actual point where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. At Mae Sai, Thailand’s northernmost town next to Myanmar, stroll through the bustling border market and see what Thai and Burmese merchants have on display.

Loy Krathing is a colorful and lively festival and if you are in Thailand, you should not miss this event! You can easily purchase a raft from just about anywhere. Make sure it is not made of foam though! That material is bad for the water. Pick banana leaf or bread ones instead. Banana leaf is safe for the environment and bread can become fish food later. Contact us if you have any questions about this festival. Visit our Thailand tours page for other options into the country.

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