FESTIVALS AND EVENTS IN THAILAND
If you’ve spent even a small amount of time in Thailand or done a bit of research, you’ll notice something pretty quickly. Thai’s love to have a good time and festivals and events in Thailand often reflect this. This really shouldn’t come as any surprise to a country that is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’.
A visit to Thailand is always special. It’s a country with something for everybody, from golden beaches, to ornate temples, to vibrant cities. Planning your trip to Thailand and visiting at the right time though to incorporate at least one festival or event can help make a special visit to Thailand, into one that’s unforgettable which you’ll be telling people about for years.
There’s endless variety between the Thai festivals. No matter your style, the festive spectrum is covered in Thailand with some celebrations being joyful and fun to others that are more reserved focusing on reverence towards religion and monarchy. Thailand has also adopted a number of festivals and events from other countries and cultures with Chinese New Year and Christmas being primary examples that come to mind.
Whatever the festival or event, Thai people always love to pull out all the stops drawing a lot of interest. Even though these events and festivals occur each year, you’ll very rarely go to the same event experiencing the exact same sights and celebrations. From weeks to an entire year, efforts are undertaken and dedicated to planning and preparation of these events and festivals.
To be honest, with so many festivals and events occurring throughout the year, it’s easy to lose track of the dates these festival and events come up. I can almost guarantee even as a seasoned traveler to Thailand, you may be surprised to learn that some of these festivals exist! For that reason, a month to month ultimate guide has been prepared to put these celebrations on your radar. From January through to December, an easy list has been provided allowing you to click on each festival for a more detailed description for your information and reading pleasure.
Like the infamous “Same Same, But Different” you come across in your travels of Thailand, national festivals and events in Thailand can be celebrated differently in different parts of the country, so your own experience of them can depend at times on your whereabouts.
A perfect example of this is Loy Kratong, which you might have seen photos of; it’s the one where people place lanterns in a boat, and float them down the river. In Chiang Mai it’s combined with Yee Peng, the festival where people place candles in big paper lanterns, which fill with air and float away. Loy Kratong is a special event wherever you are in Thailand, but in Chiang Mai, combined with Yee Peng, it becomes an absolutely unforgettable and worthwhile experience.
As well as the best place to go, explanation of the history and symbolism of each festival is provided, so you can get a deeper understanding of the significance and importance of each festival and event. Being equipped with this additional information will help you appreciate just how unique the festival you’re witnessing is.
Traveling, at least when it’s far from home, is all about experiencing different cultures. Witnessing a Thai festival in full flow, whether it’s Loy Kratong, Songkran (Thai New Year; also known as ‘Songkran’ or ‘The Water Festival’) or any other, is the best way to experience this amazing culture.
MOURNING OF KING BHUMIBOL ADULYADEJ
13 October 2016 saw the passing of the long reigning King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the age of 88. The Thai Government has declared a 12 month mourning period for the late King. As a result of this mourning period, there is still some uncertainty concerning the full impact on festivals and events in Thailand during this period however it should be expected that festivities may be toned down by some degree out of a mark of respect. This may impact on your experiences during this period compared to previous years.
LIST OF FESTIVALS AND EVENTS IN THAILAND
The below list is a work in progress and links to full page of each festival and event will be added on a regular basis. If you think that a festival or event is missing and worthwhile mentioning, please let me know and I’ll add it.