BANGKOK — Whether you want an opulent mall event with Mickey Mouse, an old school temple fair, or just a typical park to float your krathongs, the capital’s got you covered.
This year’s festival to pay gratitude to water spirits will take place in the evening of Nov. 11, which coincides with the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar.
Major celebrations will be held by both the City Hall and the private sector, but the public usually also gathers at any publicly-accessible waterway to float their krathongs.
Festival-goers are encouraged to use biodegradable krathongs made of natural materials and limit to one krathong per group or family, environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa said.
He also asked members of the public to bring their own bags and containers to use in the festivities in an effort to reduce waste pollution.
Deputy transport minister Atirat Ratanasate said marine officials will be deployed at riverside piers to ensure public safety. They will also watch out for fireworks and floating lanterns which will remain banned during the day.
For Chill Bangkokians
Ten piers on the banks of the Chao Phraya River will hold a massive three-day celebration starting Nov. 9. The “River Festival 2019” which will feature all kinds of activities from krathong-making workshops, art and craft markets from local communities, to merit-making Buddhist rituals at riverside temples.
Just head to your nearest riverside spot – be it the touristry Asiatique, the hip Lhong 1919, or the timeless Wat Arun – and chill out to the night with live music from local bands and universities.
There will be a free shuttle boat service linking the venues from Nov. 9 to 11 from 5pm to 10.30pm. The details of participating venues can be found online and tickets can be obtained for free via TicketGo.
For Bougie Mall-goers
At the Iconsiam mall Loy Krathong event, take selfies with figures of Mickey and Minnie dressed in Thai traditional outfits while watching real beauties take the stage in a Nang Noppamas pageant, which the public can enter – but make sure you can hold a candle standing next to actress Woranuch “Nune” Bhirombhakdi, who will be onstage as well.
Krathongs designed by 15 embassies and eight universities in Bangkok will also be on display. Last year, the Chinese Embassy adorned their float with dragon’s head, while the French Embassy represented their national icon with a steel rooster.
Admission is free.
For the Nostalgic
The rare cool breeze should be a perfect time to distance yourself from malls and look back to temple fairs, where Bangkokians in the past went for amusement.
“The Golden Mount Temple Fair” at Wat Saket is one of the longest-running temple fairs in the capital and is now running every evening from Nov. 4 to 13 from 4pm onwards. On top of the hill, devotees make merit to Buddha relics which are stored inside the chedi, wrapped with red cloth to observe the special occasion.
At the foot of the hill, fun activities await in a carnival-like atmosphere. Foodies can enjoy street food and exotic dishes like fried insects, kai kao boiled fertilized eggs, and pong neng deep fried flavored flour.
Take your aim at some prizes at shooting game or see how eerie Thai fair ghosts can be at a haunted house, located ironically in front of the temple’s chapel. Classic rides such as a merry-go-round and ferris wheel are also available.
Of course, if you want to float your krathong, feel free to make your wish at a canal next to the temple. Admission is free.
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For Quiet Dates
Take refuge at the creative space Jam Factory to avoid squeezing through the crowd, where you can float your krathongs before grabbing a popcorn for outdoor screening of Thai films (“First Love,” 2010 amd “I Fine…Thank You…Love You,” 2014) from a vintage projector. Admission is free.
For the Regular Festival-goers
Want that classic Loy Krathong experience? A total of 30 parks around the capital will open to the public until midnight Nov. 11 for the occasion, but visitors should take note that booze will not be allowed inside.
Notable parks where you can float your krathong along the BTS line are Lumpini Park, Chatuchak Park, and Benchasiri Park. The City Hall will hold major celebrations at a park under the east bank of Rama VIII Bridge and at Khlong Ong Ang near MRT Sam Yot on Nov. 11 from 2pm to 11pm.
Note that Loy Krathong will not be allowed at Benjakiti Park, King Rama IX Park, Queen Sirikit Park, Vacharapirom Park, Siripirom Park, and Nong Bon Lake Park.
Bring the kids along to krathong making workshops where they can learn how to make their float from sustainable materials, or be inspired by Thai traditional performances and krathong making competition.
For the Environmentally Conscious
Tradition goes sustainable at Loy Krathong fairs at universities around Bangkok.
Chulalongkorn University will open its pond to the public on Nov. 11 from 5pm to 10pm, but only a small candle krathongs will be allowed.
Living up to their liberal student body name, Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan Campus will hold a Loy Krathong event under the theme “Bohemian Camping.” The fair will start 4.30pm onwards and visitors are encouraged to bring environmentally friendly krathongs with them.
A similar event will also be held at Kasetsart University in the evening. All venues will be catered by street food stalls, student booths, and concerts.
For the Couch Potato
Don’t want to leave your home because of traffic, crowds, Netflix, gross couples? Technology now allows us to honor the water goddess online with zero harm to the environment.
Open your browser, pick one of the websites below, customize your krathong, type down your wish, and your krathong will float in the great pond of cyberspace.