LOY KRATHONG + CHAK PHRA
Special Tour 8 - 11 November 2022
Image from Tourism Authority Thailand
The Loy Krathong festival is believed to have started in the Sukhothai Kingdom period (1238-1438) by a court lady named Nopphamat. However, later on in a King Rama IV's writing in 1863, it was mentioned that Loy Krathong is a Thai adaptation of a Hindu festival in India. There is also a rational that since Thailand then was very much an agricultural country and water was regarded as a very important element of life, people celebrated Loy Krathong to the end of the long raining season and to thank the Goddess of Water for having abundant water in their livelihoods. Regardless of the origin, it is always celebrated on the 1st full moon of the 12th Thai calendar month (November in Gregorian calendar), when the moon is brightest and the tide is highest. Every city, town and province throughout Thailand celebrates Loy Krathong for 3 to 5 days. It is the second most important Thai cultural festival after Songkran; the Thai new year.
Chiang Mai's version of Loy Krathong
Loy Krathong: Bangkok 2021
In modern times, the meaning of Loy Krathong extends beyond an agricultural or historical perspective. Loy when translated means float while Krathong means a floating craft. And it has evolved over the centuries, catering to more purposes and intentions, which keeps the heritage alive to this present day. Some of the young regard it as an occasion similar to Valentine's when they pledge their unending love or let the floating light foretell their future as a couple. For the religious, it is really about thanksgiving, forgiving and making offerings for a better future to the water Goddess. And yet for many others, it is an opportunity to let bad times "flow away" to make room for better times. So it really caters to a wide spectrum of needs and intentions. Many hotels especially those along Chao Phraya river create special packages for visitors to join the revelers and soak in the carnival like atmosphere. Overall, it is an occasion of joy, gratitude and for better beginnings, for all races and backgrounds.
What goes into the Krathong
In a Thai year of many festivals, Loy Krathong is the most picturesque event as all water bodies, from seaside to rivers, canals, lakes and ponds, are lighted at night by the candles in small krathongs ("floating crafts"). Traditionally the craft is made out of the trunks of banana trees as it floats well as it is degradable for the fish to eat but with Thai ingenuity, as always, variations surfaced over the years. The vessel would contain a candle, flowers, a light holder for incense ticks and coins as offerings. Significance of each item will be explained at the session during the special session arranged in the tour. To let go of bad experiences or memories, the belief is to place a strand of hair or a nail into the krathong which will carry it away! Your guide will offer more background and interesting perspectives.
Create your own Krathong!
For the Loy Krathong session, the necessary materials will be prepared for you to learn how to build your own krathong to join the festival. This is especially meaningful when you have a specific wish or intention.
Chak Phra Festival
Chak Phra is a unique Buddhism festival to celebrate the 'return' of Buddha. In translation from Thai, it literally means the pulling or hauling of Buddha. It is celebrated at the end of the 3 months' Buddhist lent during which monks remain in one holy place to pray and practice the Dhamma in full concentration. Folklores add that it is also Buddha 's way of protecting mother earth for at least 3 months in a year with reduced movements that could damage nature. It is the same time that young boys undergo Buddhism training to be ordained. According to the Brahmanism doctrine, Chak Phra started in India when the reincarnated Buddha's mother named Maya, died seven days after his rebirth. Maya did not have access to Buddha's teachings and was reborn in the Tavatimsa heaven of the Buddhist cosmology that describes the seven planes and realms (commonly referred to as mountainis) that beings are reborn. Tavatimsa is the highest plane that has physical connectivity with earth. 'Buddha went to Tavatimsa to offer teachings to Maya and upon his return to earth, he was accompanied by two Hindu gods as evidence. The people welcomed him with offerings and it became an annual event of remembrance and worship ever since.
When Buddhism entered Thailand as early as the 3rd century BCE, practices like Chak Phra naturally came along. It is celebrated in two forms: temples that are located by waterways would conduct a water procession while temples inland would do a land procession. The water or land crafts would be decorated and beatified to carry Buddha and worshippers in the procession with the head craft carrying the Buddha's statue or its relic. The procession would then return to the temple to reinstate the Buddha position signifying his return. To stay interesting as lifestyles evolve, craft decoration competitions, dance, singing and other activities are introduced to keep the event attractive. When royal families attend these events. It takes on an elevated status and prestige when such events are attended by members of the royal family.
Chak Phra Festival @ Wat Nang Chi; Bangkok
The only Chak Phra event in Bangkok at Wat Nang Chi!
This year's Chak Phra and Loy Krathong coincides over the same period and therefore presents a unique opportunity for visitors to experience both festivals. We have made special arrangements with Wat Nang Chi to allow visitors participate in the ceremony and join the river procession on 10 and 11 November. The head monk will do a special blessing session for our group of visitors.
TNN Chanel 16 Bangkok News on 16 November 2016
The Chak Phra festival is most popular in Southern Thailand and Surat Thani has one of the biggest celebrations countrywide. Since the 1700s after Wat Nang Chi was rebuilt, the annual traditions of the Chak Phra water procession was maintained at this class 3 royal temple. When the late His Highness King Chalulongkorn and His Royal Highness Princess attended Wat Nang Chi's Chak Phra water procession in 1879, it was nicknamed a royal parade.
Variations in celebration styles countrywide
It is worth mentioning that in the Thai lunar calendar, there are many festivals that are of religious and non religious backgrounds. Despite the frequency of activities and events, there is no lack of enthusiasm, support nor intensity. While the Chak Phra is celebrated in every province, it is also done in different styles and variations depending on the location, terrain, worshippers and so on.
This video shows how Chak Phra is celebrated in the Maharaj province in the northern part of Thailand, a hybrid of water and land procession!
As reported by Thairath on TV Channel 32 on 5 Oct 2020
Your Unique Experience; Joyous & Auspicious
First Unique Immersive Cultural Tour
This is the first such tour that visitors can experience and partake in two celebrations that are of centuries old. In the river procession that starts from Wat Nang Chi, you will ride with as many as 20 other boats, through khongs and rivers, passing by villages and towns for residents to pay respect, to the regional administration office and back. Don't miss this unique joyous and auspicious event!
Asst Abbot of Wat Nang Chi, Phra Wisut Thiraphong; ''continuing the traditions of Chak Phra..."
First ever duo festivals tour!
Block Your Calendar, Book Your Trip Now, 8-11 Nov 2022
8 Nov Tuesday
9 Nov Wednesday
10 Nov Thursday
11 Nov Friday
Book your own flight to arrive Bangkok by 12.00pm
Self check in to hotel (4 star hotel in the city) by 3.00pm
4.30pm: Assemble in hotel meeting room for Loy Krathong
sharing and krathong making session
5.30pm Transfer to riverside for Thai-Chinese dinner
7.30pm Join thousands of revelers as we arrange a program for
you to celebrate Loy Krathong along Chao Phraya
9.30pm Transfer to hotel or continue celebrations on your own.
Breakfast in hotel
8.30am Transfer to Wutthakat for Country In The City Walking
Tour & lunch
2.00pm Observe the preparations for Chak Phra
2.30pm Special blessing session for our group
3.00pm Transfer to hotel and rest of day at leisure
Breakfast in hotel
8.00am Depart for Wat Nang Chi
9.00pm Join the Chak Phra water procession by boat from Wat Nang Chi to the Chao Phraya River, District Admin Office, private lunch and back.
4.00pm Transfer to hotel and rest of day at leisure
Breakfast in hotel
12.00am: Check out
Optional extension stay available
Optional tours available
3 nights stay and breakfast
Tatler Best Restaurant 2019
Loy Krathong on the Chao Phraya
A Tour Souvenir
Note: Timings for certain events subject to changes
Country In The City Walking Tour on 9 Nov
Visit and experience these sites in the 4 hours walking tour
The towns of Wutthakat and Chom Thong
Let your guide bring you back 300 years how this wat started
One of the most popular vegetable for visitors
The towns of Wutthakat and Chom Thong
This unique 4 hours walking tour, including lunch, takes you into the background and lifestyles of two villages in a charming countryside atmosphere only 20 minutes from the city. See the culture and hear the folklores and superstitions of this township which has a very strong Chinese immigrants origin. Savour the home cooked Sakon Nahkon grilled sticks of imported beef and pork from Isaan in a house by the train station. You will also visit the town's Class 1 royal temple which has Bangkok's other reclining Buddha outside Wat Pho, Finally dine in a local restaurant that serves some great Thai Chinese dishes. This tour rich in history, culture and heritage, supports the local community and is environmentally friendly.