Loy Krathong, or the Thai Lantern Festival, is one of the most important and anticipated festivals celebrated in Thailand every year. Loy Krathong roughly translates to “float a basket” in Thai and during this holiday everyone creates a krathong or banana-leaf basket to release on waterways throughout the country.

The sending off of krathongs symbolizes the release of bad luck from the previous year and allows participants to make a wish for good fortune in the coming year. When they are released in mass during the holiday, rivers and lakes all over the country flicker with floating lanterns in a fairytale-like display.

While many travelers head to Bangkok and Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong, one of our favorite places to experience the holiday is in Phuket where you can combine a relaxing beach holiday with the beautiful cultural experience of Loy Krathong.

Why Celebrate Loy Krathong in Phuket?

During Loy Krathong, millions of people gather at waterways and lakes in Thailand to pay respect to the water goddess and apologize for any contamination of water in the past year.

Along with being used as an offering to the goddess, krathongs are also meant to release the unhappiness and bad memories from the previous year. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for baskets to include more personal items such as hair and nail clippings, or even items significant to lovers as Loy Krathong is also considered to Thailand’s Valentine’s Day.  

Home to more than 30 sandy beaches, Phuket is a prime spot for any traveler who wants to relax in the sun and enjoy the Loy Krathong festivities. Surrounded by water, krathongs in Phuket are released on almost all beaches and most hotels and resorts can help you join in the celebrations. You can also head to Phuket Town to make your own krathong and celebrate the holiday with local Thai people.

Highlights of Loy Krathong in Phuket

You will notice many makeshift stalls selling krathongs along the streets of Phuket, several hours before sunset. You can buy one (or make one, if you’re feeling creative) for each person in your party. These lotus-shaped miniature floats – containing 1 candle, 1 incense, several flowers and coins – are an essential part of promoting good fortune during Loy Krathong.

As the sun dips below the horizon and the full moon begins to rise, bring your krathong to the nearest beach or lake and release it with the outgoing tide or current. The belief is that if the krathong floats away from you, the coming year will bring good fortune. If it floats back towards the shore, then better luck next year.

Before releasing your krathong, you can improve your fortune by placing personal items on the floating platform. Coins are often placed inside as a way of making merit during the festival. For the romantic at heart and young couples, Loi Krathong is the time to make a wish for happiness together and success in love.

The origins of Loy Krathong

The origins of Loy Kratong are unclear, but it is believed to have started in Sukhothai (north of Bangkok) some 800 years ago when the city was one of the most powerful in Asia. While it is not strictly a religious ceremony, many Thais believe that it pays homage to the water goddess, Mae Khongkha.

The idea behind krathongs is to put all your misfortunes in a boat, before allowing them to literally float away from sight. A lot of care is taken to decorate these kratongs, usually using colourful flowers, banana leaves, candles, and incense sticks.

Loy Krathong always coincides with Thai school holidays, so the entire family are often involved in making kratongs during the day. Some coins and a lock of hair are placed inside to represent the owner, before releasing the krathong on a river, canal, or the sea.  

It is believed the 'boat' will carry your bad luck into the distance, signifying a good start to the following year. Loy Kratong is a big night for couples who make a wish together. If their krathongs remain together on the water, it means they'll enjoy long-lasting love. 

When is Phuket Loy Krathong?

The holiday is celebrated on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, so the day of the celebration changes depending on the year. Loy Krathong typically falls in November during the full moon which marks the end of the rainy season. At this time the rivers and lakes are at their fullest making it the perfect opportunity to celebrate a successful season.

This year’s Loy Krathong in Phuket will be held on the 31st of October, 2020. Below is the calendar for Loy Krathong Festival until 2030 so that you can plan your visit around the date of festival.

Year Loy Krathong Dates Day
2020 October 31 Sunday
2021 November 19 Friday
2022 November 8 Tuesday
2023 November 27 Monday
2024 November 15 Friday
2025 November 5 Wednesday
2026 November 24 Tuesday
2027 November 14 Sunday
2028 November 2 Thursday
2029 November 21 Wednesday
2030 November 10 Sunday

How to Celebrate Loy Krathong in Phuket?

1. Make your own Krathong

While you’re typically able to find pre-made krathongs from street vendors during the festival, these baskets may contain materials like pins, rubber, plastic, or even styrofoam that are hazardous for the environment and marine life.

If you plan to release your basket into the sea, you’ll want to make your own out of biodegradable materials like banana leaves and fresh flowers. This can be done with the help of your hotel or resort during the holiday, given that most offer free classes on this day.

Making your own krathong is not only better for the environment, but helps travelers learn more about the festival and put more meaning into their own celebration.

2. Release your Krathong with your loved ones

The purpose of releasing krathongs is to symbolically release all of the misfortunes you have placed inside of your basket. The common belief is that the krathong holds the bad luck and negative experiences you’ve had this year and it carries them out to sea, giving you a fresh start (and good luck!). Krathongs typically contain candles, incense, flowers, and coins, but you can improve your krathong with personal items. These baskets can be released after sunset with your loved ones.

Trust us when we say that experiencing this festival together creates stronger bonds and lasting memories. Especially for couples and families with kids.

3. Explore local street food and visit festival fairs

Celebrating Loy Krathong in Phuket also means that you’re able to explore Phuket Town during the holiday and join the locals in their festivities. Though your hotel will offer holiday activities you also have the option to indulge in local street foods like kluay tod, a delicious sweet snack consisting of fried bananas dipped in coconut and sesame seeds.

Travelers can also celebrate Loy Krathong by visiting local festival fairs which can be a little crowded but are a great way to get a more local celebration experience and include activities like beauty contests and krathong-making contests.

4. Create an unforgettable romantic evening

In the past, Thai men and women did not have many opportunities to meet unless it was during a religious holiday. Given the lack of opportunity, Loy Krathong eventually developed into a lovers’ holiday where partners could spend time with each other.

Because Loy Krathong provides an incredibly beautiful atmosphere, it’s no wonder lovers still use the festivities to get closer to one another. Many couples even use the magic of the evening to pop the question!

Your romantic evening, of course, doesn’t need a proposal but can include releasing a krathong together. Thai people believe that this krathong represents your future together so the further it makes it out to see the better.

Where to Celebrate Loy Krathong in Phuket?

Major hotels in Phuket usually host a special evening for guests to launching their krathongs on the sea. This results in a delightful scene as thousands of candlelit krathongs bob on the waves. In Patong, many young boys often volunteer (for a small fee) to carry your krathong out a little further for a more auspicious start.

All of Phuket's major west coast beaches take part in Loy Kratong festivities. Nai Harn Lake and Patong Beach usually have the most activities, with locals visiting beaches like Kata and Karon.

Saphan Hin Park and Suan Luang (King Rama IX) Park in Phuket Town are popular places for locals to celebrate. If you’re keener on a more local experience with treats and performances and don’t mind the crowds then these locations are for you.

Which Hotels in Phuket Have the Best Celebrations?

For the best family experience, travelers can book a stay with Thalang Maneekram or Crown Plaza Phuket Panwa Beach in Phuket Town. Thalang Maneekram hotel offers cultural activities such as “Nang Noppamas” beauty pageants, singing contests, help with making krathongs and hanging lanterns, and more. While Crowne Plaza also offers help on how to make a krathong, this hotel also provides tasty and authentic dinner buffets for families during the holiday.

Couples who are traveling might also enjoy the Novotel Phuket Resort and Jungceylon Hotel located along the beautiful Patong Beach.  The Jungceylon offers free classes on how to create your own eco-friendly krathongs for those who are interested in releasing your raft into the sea. On the other hand, the Novotel Phuket Resort offers a plethora of exciting activities such as a krathong-making competition, a Thai boxing show, and a fire show performance.

Important Tips About Phuket’s Loy Krathong

1. The release of sky lanterns is prohibited in most areas in Thailand for environmental and safety concerns. If you’re set on making lanterns to celebrate Yi Peng, make sure they’re hanging decorative lanterns or you’re in an area that allows for a safe release of sky lanterns like Chiang Mai.

2. If you are set on releasing your krathong into the sea, ocean, or even on a pond, make sure it’s biodegradable. Most krathongs are eco-friendly because they’re made from banana tree leaves, banana tree bark, and flowers, but before releasing make sure your krathong doesn’t contain any harmful materials such as polystyrene and pins.

3. When you do release your krathong, don’t let it sink! A krathong that capsizes or floats back to the shore is often a sign of bad luck for the person or persons who released it. So give it a good push out to sea!

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My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!


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