Tag Archives: Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong in Pak Kred

Full Moon over Chao Phraya River
Full Moon over Chao Phraya River on Loy Krathong night in Pak Kred, Nontaburi

My original plan was to focus on Bangkok’s management of the waste in Chao Phraya River on the night. Unfortunately, the Environment Office needed me to personally present the project and I had trouble getting to their office in such a tight timeline. So plan B was just being spontaneous in the event somewhere.

I was feeling crooked from fever and the drinks on the night before so I decided not to go to a big event in the city. A district called Pak Kred in Nonthaburi Province, north border of Bangkok, was my choice because it was not too far from my brother’s where I stayed. But I was wrong to expect a small and intimate night. Being crushed in the crowd by yourself while having a fever was not the best idea of travelling but I did it anyway because I was already there. However, I took it easy and retreated quickly before it got worse and spoiled the rest of the trip.

Under Rama IV Bridge, the entrance to the main stage
Under Rama IV Bridge, the entrance to the main stage
The crowd packing the street
The crowd packing the street
A big krathong for a big spender
A big krathong for a big spender
Colourful krathongs made of ice-cream cones
Colourful krathongs made of ice-cream cones
A range of colourful bread krathongs to choose from
A range of colourful bread krathongs to choose from
A happy vendor selling her bread krathongs
A happy vendor selling her bread krathongs
An on-stage show ramping up to Nang Nophamas beauty contest
An on-stage show ramping up to Nang Nophamas beauty contest
Schoolboys lining up for their opening parade
Schoolboys lining up for their opening parade
Nang Nophamas beauty contestants and their krathongs
Nang Nophamas beauty contestants and their krathongs
A ferry service taking punters into the River to avoid the crowd
A ferry service taking punters into the River to avoid the crowd
The hi-light krathong of Pak Kred community floated
The hi-light krathong of Pak Kred community floated
Making a wish
Making a wish
To the water
To the water
Kids snatching krathongs for some changes people leave in krathongs
Kids snatching krathongs for some changes people leave in krathongs
For some snacks
For some snacks
Fireworks for the celebration
Fireworks for the celebration
Boat noodle for supper
Boat noodle for supper
A dropped krathong revealing the styrofoam base
A dropped krathong revealing the styrofoam base

Happy Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is the biggest non-public holiday celebration in Thailand. Although some may argue that Chinese New Year is growing, there is a very Thai vibe in this water festival. As I grew with it, it marks the beginning of a series of celebrations in the cool season from November to midst of summer in April the following year. It is followed by HM the King Birthday (National Day and Father Day), Constitution Day(used to be the National Day in the dictatorship days), New Year Day (as in the official Gregorian calendar), National Children’s Day (which I had never been to in my entire childhood), Valentine’s Day (when everywhere is annoyingly pink), Chinese New Year (most businesses are closed anyway) and end up with the biggest, messiest and craziest event in the year, Sonkran (Thai tradition New Year but sticks to Gregorian calendar).

In the hindsight, the Festival is about paying a respect and gratitude to the Water Goddess, Mae Khongka (Ganga). The classical history teaches us that Nang Nophamas a famous court lady in Sukhothai period, invented it. Nevertheless, I have never seen a concrete evidence of this historical figure except the beauty pageants. The alternative history says it derives for Hindu festival of Diwali, which makes more sense since Siamese culture is based on Buddhism with the twist of Hinduism and folk religions. However, the purpose of classroom history is to serve the pride of the nation not accuracy.

Basically, on the full moon night of 12th month in Thai lunar calendar, people float a krathong; a basket of flowers, a candle, a joss stick and/or some coins, on a river and make a wish. If not, somewhere with water will do. Friends of mine once did in a water tub just to prove that they could. Some variations, like in Chiang Mai, they float light lanterns instead. The scenery of candlelight drifting in a waterway with exotic background is always used in all kinds of tourist and hospitality publication, reflecting an exuberant dream of Sukhothai (Thai version of utopia). It is truly romantic for a couple if they could find a spot not to be quashed by other couples.

In reality, it is a massive event that would never get to point of being overdone It is colourful with a giant krathongs, fireworks, non-stop entertainments and Nang Nophamas beaty contests. Krathongs made of Styrofoam were a big problem to waste management. Anything made of Styrofoam creates an enormous problem to the environment anyway. But imagine everyone in a city of 10-million people dumps a piece of trash in a river on the same night. It is quite contrast to the idea of the respect and gratitude to the water. However, the trend of making krathongs is changing to more eco-friendly materials such as banana trunk, bread and ice-cream cones. We are on the way to have a responsible celebration.


More photos of last year Loy Krathong next post

Error Ferris Wheel

 Error Ferris Wheel

Something weird happened while transferring files from the memory card. The backup hard drive did not display the errors but the files were definitely corrupted and could not be retrieved. Anyhow, I liked how it rendered the misinformed pixels. This only keeper of the three fault images was taken at a night fair for Loy Krathong Festival in Bangkok.