Shrouded in a golden glow, Bangkok seemingly puts on a glamorous coat and a mystical air by night. Starkly contrasting with its usual daytime chaos, the city represents a whole different world come sunset: its golden temples shimmer in gold and its river banks calm and tranquil. Floating along Bangkok’s Chao Praya River, I soak in the peaceful undercurrent of Asia’s cultural capital. It’s a special occasion for the Thais: Loi Krathong – one of Thailand’s biggest festivals - takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. Thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, I was recently in Bangkok to witness the celebrations of Loi Krathong in full swing .
It’s not everyday that we get to be part of such an important event and not to mention floating along the city’s arterial river as everyone flocked to the riverbank to catch the event. Along the river, we got to see the city’s iconic landmarks from a different angle – the majestic Royal Palace and the stunning Wat Phun bathed in gold.
Next to the annual Songkran water festival, Loy Krathong is the next biggest event of the year, celebrated in full fervour throughout Thailand. “Loi” means “to float” and a “krathong” is traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk. A krathong is usually decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks. A coin is placed within the krathong as an offering to the river spirits.
On the first night upon arrival, with the full moon shining right above our heads, our bunch of bloggers got to experience the traditional Thai festival. Each of us first lit up our krathong’s incense and candle and then set it afloat onto Bangkok’s biggest river, the Chao Praya. The festival is believed to originate in an ancient practice of paying respect to the spirit of the waters.
As we sailed along the choppy waters of the Chao Praya River, brightly lit float boats specially decorated for the Loi Krathong festivities were on display. Bangkok’s stunning landmarks were blanketed in a golden glow as they stood by the river’s edge in their full glory. From the water, Bangkok’s sheer beauty was evident.
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