Loy Krathong: The Festival of Lights in Sukhothai, Thailand

I buy a little boat in the shape of a duck from one of the many sellers in the park. There’s a long thin candle in it, and I light it up, cupping my hand around it to make sure the wind doesn’t blow it out as the flame settles itself. I make my way to a pier leading onto a small pond, and do it as my guide has explained it to me.

First, I apologies to the water for what I am about to do, for the fact that I am about to make it dirty with my little duck boat. Then I make a wish, and after placing it on the water, I give it a gentle push so that it’s able to float away. This is the festival of lights in Thailand. Though everyone knows the version which is held in Chiang Mai (Yi Peng) and which features floating lanterns which are released in their hundreds in the air, everywhere else in Thailand the traditional way to do it is like this, with small or more elaborate floating vessels lit up and left to float on water.

Below is a collection of images I took during this year’s festival of lights in Sukhothai (Loy Krathong). The festival was held in the historical park. Even if you’reĀ  in Sukhothai outside of the festival, the park is home to a night market, and is beautiful during the day, but more on that in my next post.

Those are not stars…they are floating lanterns.

Thai sausage stand – Sausages are a mix of rice and pork, and come in spicy and standard

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-Text and Photography by Denise @www.theartofslowtravel.com. All rights reserved.


11 thoughts on “Loy Krathong: The Festival of Lights in Sukhothai, Thailand”

  1. I love those festivals! Isn’t that the one where the paper lamps are also lit up and soar up in the sky? So beautiful, I hope to experience that next year! One of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions is to discover Asia for the first time ;D

    Merry Christmas!

    -Maria Alexandra

    1. Hi Maria,

      Yes, but that’s the point of the article…the original festival of lights is with lantern boats set to float on water. They hold the one where lanterns are released in the air only in Chiang mai, though it has become fashionable for young local and tourists to do it across Thailand.

  2. Is this Loy Krathong? I did the Thai Festival of Lights in Penang last year. I was also thinking that we were doing quite a bit of littering since the materials were plastic and Styrofoam. I do like your little ducky boat, and the temple photo is so pretty. I’d love to do the Floating Lanterns someday.

  3. Hi Denise, I have heard of the festival of lights in Chiang Mai but first time I’m hearing about it in Sukothai. I appreciate your concern about littering in the water. I would feel the same way myself. But its a beautiful tradition and I hope they devise a system where they can filter the floating vessels at some point. Enjoyed the photos, especially the first one.

    1. Hi Marisol – apologising for making the water dirty is part of the ritual. everyone does it :) I had a local guide explain this to me.

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