First time I’ve been to Loy Krathong for many a year, these days the hassles of getting in to Pattaya and parking are a deterrent. As if that’s not bad enough then there’s the nightmare of chaperoning 2 children through the traffic, and I mean through the traffic, you often have no choice but to walk in the road because the footpaths on Pattaya Beach Road are awash with market stalls.
Anyway, bitching aside, Pattaya Beach (see first photo below) is always busy during Loy Krathong, but there was still plenty of empty chairs, and aside from ducking out the way of the occasional Khom Fai (Fire Lantern) and the ever present threat of being hit by a stray firework the experience wasn’t too overwhelming.
After fighting off the offers of help, my little boy released his krathong in to the sea (photo below), and that was pretty much the highlight of the evening.
Khom Fai lanterns (see photo below) floating through the sky in their hundreds were probably the most spectacular sight, for me at least. Though I would imagine this doesn’t compare to the spectacle of the Yi Peng festival in Northern Thailand.
There is definitely an art and perhaps an element of luck involved when it comes to flying a Khom Fai lantern, let it go too early and it will collapse, release it as gust of wind whips past and you’ll have everyone running for cover. If you’re wondering why the Khom Fai are so popular, well they serve the same purpose as the Krathong, by releasing one you are cleansing yourself of past sins, hoping for good luck and thanking the gods for all that you have.
I don’t know where the fireworks come in to the equation but I really wish they did not, organized fireworks displays are one thing, but a free for all on a crowded Pattaya Beach really is a bit worrying. In that respect it was a relief to get off the beach and negotiate the traffic again. If I wasn’t a responsible parent I would have made a night of it and admired the lovely girls in traditional Thai dress at one of the local bar beauty pageants. Damn responsibility !!!!