Phuket's Loy Kratong celebrants go natural
PHUKET: Most people planning to celebrate Loy Kratong this evening are opting for kratong made of natural materials, even though they are more expensive than kratong made from environmentally disastrous styrofoam and plastic.
Thursday 10 November 2011, 05:58PM
One vendor, at the municipal market on Ong Sim Phai Rd, Phuket Town, Somsri Tantisammarak, told The Phuket News that people are generally using natural materials to make kratong.
“Many people are buying natural materials including banana leaves and flowers and, for the kratong base, banana stalks or bread.” Ms Somsri also sells complete kratong made natural biodegradable materials for B25 up.
Another vendor, Kaesarin Rattanalertpaisan, said few stalls are selling kratong made from plastic and styrofoam, even those those materials are cheaper.
“These are prohibited by the provincial authorities and in any case people prefer natural kratong to the plastic ones,” Ms Kaesarin said.
Flower vendors told The Phuket News that many Thai and foreign people have been buying flowers to make kratong – but their choices of flowers are different this year because, like so many other things, the price of some flowers has increased because of the flooding in central Thailand.
Prices for the basics – banana leaves, banana stalks for the base, and bamboo pins – are unchanged because they are available locally, but orchids and lotus flowers especially are up sharply in price because most are shipped from central Thailand.
“The prices of some flowers such as marigold or roses are the same,” said vendor Jittra Aroonkit-Taweelab, “but lotuses have doubled in price. They have gone up from B6 to B12 a bloom. A bunch of orchids is gone up by B3 to B5.
As a result, she has sold a lot more marigolds. “I sold 30,000 last year. This year it’s 70,000,” she said.
Another popular purchase for Loy Kratong is colourful hot-air balloons, or kom loy.
“Kom loy have become popular for many festivals, and many customers buy these along with kratong. I order mine from Chiang Mai. They are priced from B40 up,” Ms Kaesarin said.
This year kom loy are available in different colours and shapes, including heart-shaped and panda-shaped.
Public Loy Kratong festivities take place tonight in Sapan Hin Park on the southeast edge of Phuket Town, at Chalong Pier, Nai Harn Park, at the Phuket Mining Museum in Kathu, at Klong Mudong in Chaong, at Tha Lah beach in Pa Khlok district and at Laguna Phuket.