It’s that time of year again when we all take to the waterways of Thailand and give praise to Khongkha, the water Goddess. In truth, I’m not sure she ever really existed, but there is something about appreciating water that I really dig, not least because so many people in the world are denied access to such a basic, free resource. It’s also really fun, and a great occasion that brings one and all in Thailand together, much like Songkran.
This year the official Loy Krathong date is 17th November, but celebrations won’t happen in Bangkok until the 28th November. Myself and Mrs TTL usually go to a park somewhere, and in recent years have gathered with hundreds if not thousands of others at Santiphap Park, Victory Monument – which I lived next to for over a year, damn I miss that park. If you can make it there I highly recommend it; it’s a real nice family vibe down there. Part of me this year wants to brave a boat trip on the Chopraya; the other few parts are yelling that I’ll be disappointed and regret getting caught in all the crowds, traffic, etc; a bit like the time I did the millenium thing on the River Thames – had to walk 3 miles to get on a darn tube!
There is one mission I am hell bent on this year, and that is to build the world’s best krathong. Of course, you can buy them everywhere, and indeed many families make a small packet churning out conveyor style krathongs for would-be floaters. But I want a beast; the monster of all krathongs!
And so I have started plotting; using all my non-existent engineering skills to design a krathong that, when put on a waterway, will cruise along like Roman Abramovich’s yacht. Her’s a few of the ideas I have down already:
1. Fan Powered
You know those little electric fans you can buy for 50-100 Baht that people use in Europe on days that aren’t really hot; you know the ones that take your stubble off if you catch your face? Right. I am going to strap two of those to the back of my krathong to act as motors. Cunning huh?
2. Weight Assisted
A friend who does know a thing or two about design said that I need to get the weight balance right’ meaning not so light that it can be affected by small waves in the water, yet not so heavy it sinks. So, in the spirit of Loy Krathong, as many Thais already do, I shall be creating a circle of 5 Baht coins around the base of the polystyrene to achieve a hovercraft-like effect that will keep this baby afloat for months.
3. Trick Candles
You must have had them at a party when you were little. You know, those annoying trick candles that reignite when blown out. Well, every Loy Krathong I’m practically in tears after searching for a lighter to borrow for 20 minutes, then, lighting my Krathong’s candles, only to watch the wind blow them out in seconds. This year, my krathong will be the star of the show as the candle refuse to be blown out!
4. Fish Food
For extra effect, and for help pushing my krathong way out into the water, I shall cunningly lace my machine with fish food around the base. As everyone watches in amazement at my “lucky” krathong attracting schools of fish, the commotion will propel my krathong further toward legend status.
Do you make your own krathongs?
Got some tips you want to share?