Explore Ladchado’s rich heritage and spiritual sites during the floating candle festival. In the quaint backwater community of Ladchado, nestled in the tranquil embrace of Ayutthaya’s Phak Hai district, a humble yet awe-inspiring celebration unfolds on 20 July. Local residents eagerly anticipate the annual Candle Festival, an age-old tradition steeped in deep-seated religious significance, marking the arrival of Buddhist Lent.

The Candle Festival holds a revered place in the hearts of Buddhists, marking two pivotal moments in the Buddhist calendar: Asalha Bucha and Khao Phansa. In this cherished tradition, Thai Buddhists offer candles to the temple, illuminating the three-month retreat of Buddhist Lent.

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At sunrise, Ladchado’s boat procession with adorned candles heads out Ladchado temple. Photo/TAT Ayutthaya Office

What sets Ladchado’s festival apart is the unparalleled way it is celebrated. The serene waterways play a central role, with the locals revering the significance of boats and canals in their lives. Imagine throngs of small sampans and boats, resplendent with blooming flowers and colourful parasols, bobbing gracefully on the water as they emerge from the distant end of the canal.

Ladchado’s roots can be traced back to the 16th century when the Ayutthaya Kingdom ruled over the Chao Phraya Basin. While the community remained largely undiscovered until the 21st century, it gained a brief moment of fame when two episodes of the cherished “Boonchu” films were captured within its picturesque landscapes.

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Local residents of Ladchado, a riverside community in Ayutthaya province, celebrate the Floating Candle Festival along the waterway, marking the beginning of Buddhist Lent. Photo/TAT Ayutthaya Office

Today, Ladchado’s hidden gem is gradually beckoning weekenders seeking solace from the relentless pace of city life. Its remote setting adds allure, captivating the hearts of those yearning for a tranquil escape. The delightful marketplace, adorned with wooden structures, has become a coveted spot for travellers. The community’s enticing homestay facilities present a unique opportunity to fully immerse in local culture while basking in the serenity of rice paddies.

As the sun rises on July 20, Ladchado comes alive with a mesmerising boat procession. Laden with beautifully adorned candles, the villagers’ boats embark on a symbolic journey from one end of the village, gracefully navigating the canal for a few kilometres before reaching their destination—the Ladchado temple.

The Ladchado Candle Festival is worth visiting to bask in country charm and enjoy a festive weekend. It offers an array of delightful activities, including water sports such as the intriguing “blind and mute” paddle and sampling tasty local dishes.

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Ladchado’s roots can be traced back to the 16th century when the Ayutthaya Kingdom ruled over the Chao Phraya Basin. Photo/TAT Ayutthaya Office
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN LADCHADO

Peung Thao Kong Ma Shrine

Sitting close to the Ladchado Canal, this old Chinese shrine weaves a fascinating tale dating back more than 200 years. Amidst recurrent fires, a Chinese fortune-teller advised the construction of the Peung Thao Kong Ma Shrine to serve as a spiritual guardian against fire. Its time-worn wooden structure and enchanting decorations beckon visitors to witness its allure.

Wat Ladchado School

Constructed in 1960 in the distinctive shape of the letter “E,” this remarkable structure is Thailand’s longest wooden school. A leisurely stroll along the corridors, traversing from one arm of the “E” to the other two, unveils numerous picturesque spots perfect for capturing lasting memories with your camera.

Ladchado Marketplace

This charming riverside marketplace, adorned with delightful wooden structures and exuding architectural allure, is experiencing a vibrant revival, courtesy of regular visits from weekenders. Amidst its timeless ambience, you can relish old-fashioned coffee and revel in the joy of bargaining with friendly vendors, creating unforgettable experiences to cherish.

Ladchado Traditional Fishing Museum

In bygone days, Ladchado thrived with abundant fish until modern farming practices took their toll. The museum now proudly showcases an array of tools and equipment once employed for catching fish, providing a glimpse into the village’s fishing heritage. A visit here is an enriching experience for both young and old, making it an ideal spot to share with the kids.

IF YOU GO

Ladchado lies approximately 110 kilometres north of Bangkok. To reach this serene riverside community, take the expressway out of Bangkok, and then take Highway 32 leading to Ayutthaya province. Once there, make a left turn onto Highway 329 and continue for about 30 kilometres, immersing yourself in the tranquil beauty that awaits in Ladchado.