Light up your holiday with this annual Thai celebration of good luck, prosperity and success.
- When? 4th November 2017
- Where? All over Thailand, but particularly in Phuket
- Price: Free
No luck with the EuroMillions yet? University finals looming closer? Sounds like you need a bit of luck and fortune on your side. Welcome to Phuket's Loy Krathong Festival.
This magical event is all about light and sees every expanse of water on the island (seashore, river, lake, stream) filled with candles set on floating kratongs (leaf bowls) which are believed to hold your misfortunes. Held every November (the 12th lunar month), the festival isn't confined to Phuket, but the island's coastal splendour and off-shore breezes (on the west coast) help ensure your kratong get the best possible start - the further they travel the better the luck.
There are different theories about the origins of the festival but it is largely attributed to the city of Sukhothai to the north of Bangkok around 800 years ago. The concept is to watch your misfortunes float away ('loy' literally means 'to float'). The delicate bowls are decorated with flowers and sometimes contain personal items like coins or a lock of hair. As the flickering kratongs are placed on the water, the accompanying individual or family will also say a prayer, usually for the boat to carry your bad luck into the distance and bring prosperity for the upcoming year.
Unsurprisingly the event is also popular with couples, who are said to enjoy lasting love if their kratongs travel across the water together (and you thought Valentine's day was romantic!). The main time to begin the tradition is at sunset - you can buy krathongs (or even better, make your own) at the colourful market stalls that dot the streets. Many are sold with incense or designed to resemble a lotus flower.
Although Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout Thailand, Phuket's version of this popular event is particularly spectacular and magical; two of the best places to celebrate are at Nai Harn Lake and Patong Beach. If you're looking for a more local experience then try Kata or Karon beaches. For festivities that carry on long after the flickering lights have bobbed off into the sunset, head to Saphan Hin or Suan Luang Park for continued merry-making.
If you're lucky enough to be holidaying on Phuket then we don't think you've got much to complain about to be honest but if you're planning to be there during Loy Krathong Festival then you'll need to book well in advance. After all, it would be unfortunate to miss out on good fortune (although if you're really keen on that A grade then we're not sure how lazying around on a tropical island will help...).
- Get there: Fly to Phuket International Airport and get around by taxi.
- Stay: Find somewhere to stay near the water (be it ocean or lake) to make the most of the festival.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!