IT IS not often that Swindon plays host to the ambience and traditions of Thailand.

Yet, on November 23 The Moonrakers Pub will feature a line-up of ladyboys, Thai cuisine and local bands as Swindon’s Thai community come out in force to celebrate the Thai Festival of Light.

Swindon now showcases a variety of Thai food shops and restaurants and it is this uprising that is behind Swindon’s very first Thai Festival.

Hosted by Ployta Wongpanya, the event was envisioned after attending Thai Festival’s in Bristol and Poole this summer.

Ployta, who competed in the event beauty contests, said: “After visiting these festivals, I was inspired to bring Thai culture to Swindon. I felt the Thai Festival of Light was the perfect opportunity to bring people in Swindon together.”

The Festival of Light, known locally as Loy Krathong, traditionally takes place during the twelfth month of the Thai calendar. In the west however, it takes place in November.

The festival is believed to be an ancient Buddhist practice dating back to the 13th century and pays homage to the spirit of the waters. Today many Thais view it as a bit of fun.

Ployta, 35, moved to Swindon six years ago. She has enlisted some top Thai talent for the night with ladyboys strutting alongside Swindon band Sister Sister and a Thai buffet for the audience’s affections. Food will be served by caterers in traditional dress.

Ployta said: “I’d love this event to grow and hold more gatherings in future. We love Swindon and want to share Thai culture. We’re proud to call Swindon home.”

Tickets for the event are available at £15 per head and festivities begin at 6pm. To book your place call Ployta on 07584 058820.