The popularity of Thailand’s Loy Krathong has apparently spread to Eastern Europe, as more than 1,000 Russians packed five charter flights to Pattaya to celebrate the festival.
Borisut Prasopzup of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s eastern region office welcomed the Pegas Tour group Nov. 9. The itinerary called for the group to visit Pattaya, Rayong and Trat, with the highlight being a Loy Krathong celebration at Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens.
Many Russians release floating krathong lamps (khomloys) at Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens.
The traditional show, which mixed ancient tradition with modern flourishes, delighted the Russians, who released floating krathong lamps and enjoyed an elephant show.
Borisut called the charter an important event for Thai tourism, which is being battered by publicity over floods affecting Bangkok and Ayutthaya. He pointed out that Pattaya, Koh Larn, Koh Samet, Rayong, Koh Chang and Trat have not been affected by flood waters, but have seen tourist arrivals dip as international media falsely portrays the entire country as being inundated.
He added that Russians comprise an ever-larger portion of tourists in Pattaya. TAT figures show that more than 500,000 Russians have entered Thailand this year, generating 4.2 billion baht in revenue. Within two years, TAT expects Russia to be Thailand’s largest European market.