Bangkok, 26 October, 2016 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to inform tourists, international and local, that the Loi Krathong events for 2016 will be going ahead nationwide as planned. However, some of the more high-spirited elements of the Festival may be scaled back in some locations, as a mark of respect during the official mourning period for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The Royal Thai Government is telling the world that the kingdom is very much open to tourists and that the Thai people are as welcoming to visitors as ever, especially those who come to join in the local cultural celebrations. So most pre-arranged events are going ahead according to schedule. But to respect the mourning period and the sensitivity of the local people, some adjustments are being made to a small number of festivals.
The highly popular Loi Krathong Festival, which is marked in different ways across the kingdom on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (November), will be one of the events where slight changes may be made to celebrations.
Here is the updated list of the Loi Krathong Festival and any changes to planned festivals up and down the country.
Bangkok – If you are in the capital and want to learn something about the history and traditions of the Loi Krathong festival, a good place to head is the Santichaiprakarn Park in Banglampu by the historic river fort. Here, on 12 and 13 November, from 17.00 to 22.00 there will be an informative display telling the story of Loi Krathong and how it differs from province to province.
On the evening of Loi Krathong itself (14 November), there will be a Super Moon, meaning that the full moon will appear to be 14 per cent larger than usual. This makes the Santi Chaiprakarn Park, with its wide river views, the perfect place to come and float your krathong. The park will be open for this between 17.00 and 24.00.
If tourists can’t make it to the Chao Phraya riverside, there is the chance to visit and float krathongs in any of the 28 public parks spread across the city.
Chiang Mai – The Chiang Mai Municipality has recently updated events relating to the city’s traditional Loi Krathong or Yi Peng Festival and there are lots of activities, ancient and modern going on from 12 to 15 November for locals and visitors to enjoy. As Yi Peng is, in many ways, a festival of light, events will kick off on 12 November, with the lighting of candles around the city’s famous moat and the Three Kings Monument. There will also be the chance to make lanterns and enter a daily contest (from 12 to 18 of November) to construct the most beautiful krathong to be floated on the canals.
The official Yi Peng Festival opens on 13 November with a ceremony by the famous Tha Pae Gate and there’ll be a moving sermon recited from Buddhist scripture at the Lok Mo Lee temple. This will be followed by a range of cultural traditions unique to Chiang Mai including the Pratu Pa contest, in which front doors are traditionally decorated, the worship of house spirits, and on 14 November, the releasing of Krathong Sai. There will also be a Grand Krathong Procession Contest on 15 November in which everyone joins in, dressed in their colourful finery.
Sukhothai – In many ways this is the spiritual home of the Loi Krathong Festival in Thailand. The Sukhothai Loi Krathong and Candle Festival 2016 takes place annually in the Sukhothai Historical Park. This year, the Park will light up the historical ruins of old Sukhothai, allowing visitors to enter and float their krathongs on 10-14 November, from 09.30-24.00 Hrs. and there are 9,999 censer candles at 18.00 Hrs. daily.
Tak – This year, Tak will organise “Loi Krathong Sai Floating 9,999 Lanterns in Remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej” by floating a thread of glittering krathongs made from coconut shells on the river from the banks of the Ping River on 14 November.
Surat Thani (Ko Phangan) – This year, the tourist island of Ko Phangan, known for its pristine nature and the Full Moon party, will organise a special once-in-a-lifetime Loi Krathong festival in remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Scheduled to take place on 15 November, 2016, from 19.00-22.00 Hrs., the event namely “Full Moon for The King” will comprise a Buddhist Monk Ceremony, followed by a Candle Light Ceremony, and an Opening Remark Full Moon for The King.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “For millennia, Loi Krathong was a low-key and charming rural festival which, via a simple floating offering, marks the Thai people’s pledge with the kingdom’s water, which they rely on for life. So in 2016, the Festival is going back to its ancient rustic roots, and visitors can experience the centuries-old ceremony and make a connection with Thailand’s rich past and wisdom of its farmers and villages.”
The famous Full Moon Party on the island of Ko Phangan was a huge attraction for young people from around the world who came to have fun, dance and enjoy the super moon. On the same night, tribute was paid to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej with a moving Buddhist ceremony and candle lighting. The “Full Moon for the King” event showed visitors the huge respect Thais have for the late monarch.