The place to be: Loi Krathong in Bangkok

Drew Limsky
Compass

November in Bangkok heralds the Loi Krathong (floating decoration) festival, which coincides with ancillary events. The city, never exactly a sleepy town, becomes awash in color and light, as the Chao Phraya River plays host to rafts large and small and fireworks burst overhead. In an act of letting go of negative emotions, locals launch krathong from rivers and lakes large and small: the krathong itself is a small offering fashioned from banana leaves folded to look like lotuses, incense and candles.

Much larger craft can be seen at the opulent Royal Barge Procession, a 500-year-old tradition that begins at Rama VII Bridge before ending at Wat Arun, with uniformed oarsman guiding the ornate barges down the Chao Phraya.

Meanwhile, the Temple Fair at Golden Mount invites both locals and tourists to a traditional fair held at Wat Saket, which is situated on a hill (actually manmade). Take in the local food and great views.

Of course, it’s all but essential to visit one of the city’s night markets—Patpong is the best known—which are accessible at any time of the year, and sprung up due to Bangkok’s heat during the day.