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Wednesday
Nov072012

agoda.com lights up Thailand with fabulous Loy Kratong deals

agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN), is helping travelers find great deals during Loy Kratong, Thailand’s most romantic and beautiful festival.

Falling on the night of the 12th full moon – which this year is November 28th – it’s a tradition that dates back hundreds of years and one that many Thais hold close to their hearts. The purpose of the holiday is to give people a chance to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for her help in providing the most basic of all human necessities. As Thailand was, and still is, a largely agricultural society, a healthy supply of water has long been central to the country’s prosperity and development. It’s no surprise, then, that on the night of Loy Kratong, rivers, ponds, lakes and canals across the country are thronged with people making their offerings, just as they have done for centuries.

But it’s not just for Thais – anyone can take part, and there are always plenty of areas where you can buy the central piece of the ceremony – the kratong. Usually made from a cross-section of a banana tree, wood or even bread and decorated with banana leaves, flowers, incense and a candle, the idea is to light the candle and incense, say a prayer, make a wish, and float – or loy – your kratong on the water. Some Thais even include a few strands of hair and some fingernail clippings on their kratong, representing the act of discarding the old and welcoming the new.

Another aspect of the festival that delights is the act of releasing floating lanterns, called khom loy, into the sky. This is more common in Chiang Mai than Bangkok, and you’re likely to see thousands upon thousands of the lanterns rising slowly into the night in the northern Thai city. It’s an incredible scene to witness and one that is especially meaningful to couples as they hold hands and watch their khom loy retreat into a tiny speck of light. And of course, all of this comes with exciting displays of fireworks.

One thing to keep in mind is the need for a biodegradable kratong and khom loy. In the past Styrofoam or plastic was used, which of course defeats the whole purpose of thanking the Water Goddess for her bounty. Avoid buying these if they’re offered and instead choose the kratongs made from natural products.

Loy Kratong is observed throughout Thailand but there are several major locations where the event is observed with increased energy. The ancient capitals of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya are always popular, where many of the large temple ruins host candle-lit events. In Bangkok, most any park with a body of water big or small will host events, such as Lumpini Park, Benchasiri Park, Benjakiti Park, or anywhere along the Chao Phraya River, while in Chiang Mai crowds of people line the Ping River or the ancient moat that surrounds the old city to float their kratong.

Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule for where to go – generally, if you follow the crowds of people out in the street on Loy Kratong, you’ll eventually arrive at the right place. To get the most out of this beautiful Thai holiday, make sure to check out agoda.com’s hotel deals below.

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, Bangkok 5*

Book at least 3 days in advance and get 15% off the value of your booking. Expires October 31, 2013.

Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok 5*

Book at least 7 days in advance and get 10% off the value of your booking. Expires December 28, 2012

J&J Guest House, Sukhothai 2.5*

Get 11% off the value of your booking until November 30, 2012.

Chiang Mai Plaza, Chiang Mai 4*

Get 10% off the value of your booking until November 30, 2012.

Ayodhara Village, Ayutthaya 3*

Get 20% off the value of your booking until November 30, 2012.

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