In the first post, I have talked about Thailand seasons and weather. So in this post, I will focus on the Thailand Festivals.
As you may have observed from spending time in Thailand or read some articles about Thailand, Thais are very proud of their 700 years of rich culture. If you do a little research about Thai culture, you might find that some Thailand festivals are really old and have been celebrated for 700 years such as Loi Kra Tong.
Thailand festivals and its holidays are usually related to the seasons. Hence, we have so many festivals celebrated different things in different times. Before Thais have adopted the Gregorian calendar, Thais were using the traditional lunar calendar. For that reason, many festivals and holidays can be varied between each year.
I will try to standardize them into our modern calendar as much as I can. However, if you want to look at the particular date of each of Thai festival, I strongly suggest you to google with the name and the year to get the exact date. By the way, some of the name doesn’t have the actual English translation, I suggest you put the name that I type in Thai and combine it with the year to search i.e. “ตัวอย่าง + 2016”
Let’s start from the first day of the year.
The New Year, Dec 31st-Jan 1st
I believe you all have experienced the New Year Eve and New Year day before. So I won’t go how awesome it is to see the crowd of people partying and having a good time. Some locations include on the bank of Chao Praya River (you can get a nice view of fireworks there), on top of the sky bars, or at the major malls scattering around Bangkok. Near Ratchapasong road, we usually transform it to be a walking street with beer gardens and concerts. What’s better than cold beer and good music? It’s a cheap cold beer and good music.
The Chinese New Year, Late-Jan or Early-Feb
Location: Yao Wa Ratch (China Town area), Bangkok
If you have lived in the major city in the world, I believe there is a high chance that your city has a Chinese neighborhood or even a china town. During the Chinese New Year, Thais also has a special area to celebrate at Yao Wa Ratch. In this event, you will get a chance to eat some Chinese-Thai style food, view the dragon and lion dances, and enjoy the traditional Chinese performances. You may wonder why you want to participate in Chinese event while visiting Thailand. I would say why not? You get two birds with one stone and you don’t have to travel to China either.
The Songkarn, April 13th-15th
Location: Everywhere in the country
This is probably one of the most famous Thailand Festivals. While Spain has her tomato festival and India has her “holi”, Thailand has its own version: water festival. Imagine, it’s the time of the low season of tourism in Thailand with the brutal weather and it’s extremely hot, so what the better way to fight the heat wave? Let’s throw water to each other. I would describe this event as the ice breaker for many Thais. We are not physical-contact-oriented people like the western. However, during this event, the contact between people is common and acceptable. The famous area is Kao Sarn road, where you can score a cheap hostel or hotel. Thais also close down some roads such as the one near Siam Paragon and turning them into the walking street of wet powder and icy cold water.
The Thai Rocket festival (บุญบั้งไฟยโสธร), Mid-May
Location: Ya So Torn province, northeastern part
I haven’t been to this event myself, but one day I will. In the past few years you might have seen the gif or video of the so-called Thai rockets. This is where that event is held. The olds believe by shooting the rocket to the sky, it will wake the god of rain to start doing his work. I don’t have much to say just see this gif.
The Ghost Masked Festival (ผีตาโขน) Early-July
Location: Loey province
We have a similar version of Carnival of Brazil, but with less boobs, soft music, no seizure-induced lights, and way lower amount of craziness. It’s the festival of Phi Ta Kohn. This event is held in Loey, which you can score some cheap flight from either Airasia or Lionairs (should be less than $30 for one way.) An excerpt from wiki “They then hold a series of games and take part in a procession wearing masks made of rice husks or coconut leaves with hats made from rice steamers, plus patchwork clothing. They also wear bells and wave wooden phalluses.” Now tells me which part of that doesn’t intriguing you, Rice husks, rice steamers, patched clothes, bells? It likes cirque du soleil on the street.
Vegetarian Festival, October 1-10th
Location: Phuket province
This event is also a famous event even though the name sounds veggy and boring. I always love this one quote “how do you tell if someone is vegan? You don’t, they will tell you”. Anyways, this event is not at all what you will imagine about vegetarian festival. Actually, if you guess that people come together and eat only vegetarian food, you are kind of correct. However, the twist is we also have the torture show too.
During the 10 days, the so-called God in body people will start torture themselves to prove the power of the gods. It can be either poking the cheek with the 5 feet stick while the other end hanged a bicycle wheel, climbing ladders made out from steel sword, or walking on the hot charcoals. Besides, if you don’t care about veggy option, you can score free food in all your 10 days stay and they are pretty yummy too.
The water buffalo racing tournament (วิ่งควาย), Mid-October
Location: Chon Buri province
The horse racing, bike racing or car racing are so out of trends now. If you have participated in this event, you can proudly tell your relatives about a time when you went to see people racing while riding on the back of water buffalos. No words and expressions can be justified to describe the excitement. And it’s held very close to Bangkok. It’s even in the same province as Pattaya. So maybe next time when you want to visit Thailand; and Pattaya is a place you wanna visit. Why not plan to come during mid-October and you can enjoy this one of a kind event too.
The Loy Kra Tong, Mid-November
Location: Chiang Mai province, Sukho Thai province
I put two locations of Loy Kra Tong in there since even though they celebrate the same thing, but they celebrate in a different way. Chiang Mai is a popular tourist destination by itself with nice weather, beautiful scenery and rich culture. In Chiang Mai, they celebrate Loy Kra Tong, by lighting up sky lanterns and let them float all over the sky. While in Sukho Thai, the 700 years old city, where you can see some ancient temples, Buddha statues and architects, Loy Kra Tong are celebrated more tradition by floating banana stems decorated with flowers on the body of water.
And of course the Full Moon Party the super famous Thailand Festivals! All year round at every full moon night. You can search the exact date and location Here.
5 Buddhist days, which the government prohibits the sale of alcohol all across the country.
Makha Bucha Day, Mid-February
Buddha Day (Visakha Bucha Day), Mid-May
Asarnha Bucha Day, Mid-July
The Buddhist Lent Day, The next day after Asanha Bucha Day
The End of Buddhist Lent Day, Late-October