The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced to all travellers, 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 assures 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.
Bangkok – At Santi Chaiprakarn Park in the heart of the old city, visitors will learn about the history of Loi Krathong and see performers and characters in traditional Thai costumes taking part in traditional activities against the glorious backdrop of the Rattanakosin temples. There is the chance to make krathongs, try traditional food and enjoy the atmosphere of the charming riverside park. 14 November, 5pm – 10pm.
Chiang Mai – The Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival 2016 will be held from 12-15 November with the old Tha Phae Gate being the centre of action. This year, there will be a giant krathong parade contest to win the trophy of the Prime Minister. Other activities include floating krathong contests, krathong-making contests, religious rituals, and several other traditional Lanna-style ceremonies as you would expect to see in Chiang Mai.
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, 9.30am till late, and there are 9,999 censer candles at 6pm 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.
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.”