CHIANG RAI – People are celebrating an annual traditional Thai festival, called Loy Krathong (float a basket), along canals and rivers throughout the country from Friday’s early evening until midnight.
Although not an official public holiday, Loy Kratong is one of the most popular and romantic of Thailand’s traditional festivals, the festival is held on the night of the 12th full moon.
The Thais bring Krathong, or baskets, made of greenish banana leaves and laden with fresh flowers and a candle, to the bank of a canal or river, light the candle, make a wish and gently drop it on the water and let it float down the canal or river.
Loy Kratong in Chiang Rai has the added feature of a parallel festival called Yi Peng. Yi Peng is celebrated by launching hot air balloons made of rice paper into the night sky. The night sky is literally filled with thousands of these bright lights shining like a moving river of stars. It’s a truly magical sight that can’t really be captured in a picture.
Loy Kratong in Chiang Rai has become so popular that the hotels around the city are fully booked a month or more in advance. If you want to celebrate the festival in Chiang Mai, plan ahead and book your hotel well in advance. Note that Loy Kratong is celebrated on a full moon night, so the date will change from year to year.