Loy Krathong is a traditional festival native to Thailand and is a major tourist attraction on the island. It is celebrated annually and is marked as the ‘festival of lights’.
The name of the event can be translated to mean ‘float a basket’. This is derived from one of the age-old practices of creating decorative baskets which are then released and remain afloat on the river. These specially designed baskets are known as kathrongs, hence the name of the festival.
Loy Krathong 2017 Dates – Festival of Lights, Koh Samui
Traditionally, kathrongs were designed from banana trunk pieces to ensure buoyancy. Modern kathrongs however, are made from either bread or modified plastic (although the latter is discouraged due to water and environmental pollution).
The highlight of the event is the inclusion of candles in the kathrongs so that the floating baskets create an amazing array of lights that gives Loy Krathong the name ‘festival of lights’.
Locals and visitors alike are enthralled by the sheer delight of setting the baskets afloat. This is usually done as one makes a wish. A number of individuals toss a coin to appease the river spirits and bring good luck their way.
Watching the kathrongs float away is an exciting experience, especially for first-time visitors. The sight of thousands of lights, drifting away and the gentle breeze causing the flames to flicker in the calm of the night is a breathtaking experience.