December 2012
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Thailand – Events and Festivals held in Thailand

Thai people love to celebrate. Two of the most popular annual celebrations are “Songkran” the water festival and “Loy Krathong”. “Loy Krathong” is a festival when candle-lit offerings are floated in the rivers, canals lakes and the sea. Each region of Thailand has its own distinctive festivals. Parties and events can also be created to project the theme.

Events of Thailand

1. In January
• January 1 (Sunday) – New Year’s Day (public holiday)
• January 2 (Monday) – Substitution day for New Year’s Eve (public holiday)
• January 3 (Tuesday) – Substitution day holiday New Year’s Day (public holiday)
• January 14 – Children’s Day
• January 20-22 – Bo Sang Umbrella Festival, Chiang Mai province
• January 23 – Chinese Lunar New Year
• January 26-29 – Hua Hin Film Festival
• All January (until March 14) – Royal Flora Expo, Chiang Mai
• All January (until April 30) – Hat Yai Lantern Festival

2. In February
• February 3-5 – Chiang Mai Flower Festival
• February 10-12 – Pattaya Bike Week
• February 13-15 – Trang Underwater Wedding
• February 24-25 – Phuket International Blues Rock Festival

In March
• March 7 – Makha Bucha Day (public holiday)
• March 17-24 – Thai Martial Arts Festival and Wai Khru ceremony, Ayutthaya
• March – Pattaya International Music Festival

In April
• April 6 – Chakri Day (public holiday)
• April 6-8 – Phuket Bike Week
• April 8-10 – Royal Funeral in Bangkok for HRH Princess Bejaratana (April 9 has been added as a public holiday)
• April 13-15 – Songkran Festival (public holiday)
• April 16 – substitution day for Songkran (public holiday)
• April – Chonburi Festival (including Pattaya)

In May
• May 1 – Labour Day (public holiday)
• May 5 – Coronation Day (public holiday)
• May 7 – substitution day for Coronation Day (public holiday)
• May 10 – Royal Ploughing Ceremony, Bangkok
• May – Rocket Festivals, Isaan
• May – Inthakin City Pillar Festival, Chiang Mai
• May 28 – June 2 – Koh Samui Yacht Regatta

In June
• June 4 – Visakha Bucha Day (public holiday)
• June – Hua Hin Jazz Festival

In July
• July 18-22 – Phuket Yachting Race Week
• July – Candle Festival, Ubon Ratchathani

In August
• August 2 – Asahna Bucha Day (public holiday)
• August 12 – H.M. Queen’s Birthday (public holiday)
• August 13 – Substitution day for H.M. Queen’s Birthday (public holiday)
• August – Por Tor Hungry Ghost Festival, Phuket

In September
• Vegetarian Festival, various locations in Thailand including Phuket, Trang, Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai
• King’s Cup Elephant Polo, Hua Hin

In October
• October 23 – Chulalongkorn Day (Rama V Day) (public holiday)
• Buffalo racing, Chonburi
• Naga Fireballs, Nong Khai

In November
• November 17-18 – Elephant Round-up, Surin
• November 25 – Monkey Banquet, Lopburi
• November 28 – Loy Krathong

In December
• December 5 – H.M. King’s Birthday (public holiday)
• December 10 – Constitution Day (public holiday)
• December 31 – New Year’s Eve (public holiday). New Year Countdown events held at various locations in Thailand including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya.
• December – King’s Cup Yachting Regatta, Phuket

Festivals of Thailand

1. In January
– Chiang Mai Winter Fair
• There are beauty pageants, boxing competitions, and stalls selling a range of locally made goods and very loud music which makes this an exciting event.
– The River of Kings Festival
• In its fourth year, “The River of Kings Festival” presents a spectacular light-and-sound extravaganza.
• This is in a grand theatrical production with a cast of more than 700 actors and actresses and two live elephants.
• The events depicts the history of Thailand.

2. In February
– Chiang Mai Flower Festival
• This event has beauty contests, handicraft sales, flower displays.
• The event has a parade of sumptuously decorated floats take to the streets as Chiang Mai residents celebrate flower power.
– Bangkok China Town Festival 2003
• The area around Yaowarat road is known as “Chinatown” in Bangkok.
• This comes live to celebrate Chinese New Year festival.
• The one-kilometre stretch of road will be decorated with flowers and Chinese lantern. Activities include:
– Golden Dragon Light
– Sound Presentation
– International Dragon and Lion Parade
– Chinese Food Stalls
– Chinese Opera
– Cultural events

3. In March
– Asean Barred Ground Dove Festival
• This event is for dove-lovers from across Thailand.
• People from neighboring countries congregate at Khwan Muang Park, in Yala Province.
• The event is to display their prize doves and take part in the dove-cooing competition.
• This involves more than 1,400 participants.

4. In April
– Songkran Festival Nationwide
• The traditional Thai New Year usually falls around the 13-17th.
• Local people to pay homage to Buddha images, clean their homes, and sprinkle water on their elders as a mark of respect.
• This has developed in recent years into open water warfare.
• Everything from hoses to ten gallon tubs guarantee a thorough soaking of the target.
• This is particularly popular in the tourist areas of Khao San Road, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai.
• The latter also holds colorful parades and religious ceremonies.

– Pattaya Festival
• This is a riotous celebration with parades, floats, beauty contests, food festivals, and a spectacular fireworks display.
• It takes place usually a week after the Songkran festivities in Bangkok.

5. In May
– Royal Ploughing Ceremony
• Presided over by the King and Queen at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, this ancient Brahmin festival marks the beginning of the rice-planting season.
• Predictions are made about weather and harvests for the coming year.

– Visakha Bucha – Nationwide
• Marked by night-time processions of worshipers around almost every temple in the kingdom.
• This festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment and passing of Lord Buddha.

– Yasothon Rocket Festival
• Villagers from the poor north-eastern province of Yasothon compete with each other.
• This is to make the biggest, most explosive bamboo rockets during this annual rainmaking festival.
• Prizes are awarded for the rocket that reaches the highest trajectory.

6. In June
• Thailand Grand Sales at shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, tourist sites nationwide when a wide range of products are available at discount prices.
• Shopping malls and outlets will join hands in organizing special weeks of clothes, accessories, Thai handicrafts, Thai silks, electrical appliances, sports products, brand name products and local textiles.

7. In July
– Candle Festival
• This festival sees the streets of Ubon Ratchathani filled with processions of huge, beautifully carved beeswax candles.
• Some of them are several meters tall that are to be presented to local temples.

8. In August
– Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen – Nationwide
• On Mother’s Day, in Thailand, 12th of August witnesses the towns and villages of the country festively decorated with lights and portraits of the Queen.

– International Marathon at Songkla
• This international marathon is open to runners of all nationalities. The race will be divided into 5 categories:
– 42.195 kms marathon
– 21.1 kms half-marathon
– 10.5 kms mini half-marathon
– 3 kms jog for health and 42.195 kms wheelchair race.

– International Mountain Bike Rally
• Tak Province host the local and international races of the mountain bikes.
• This is a biking tour through the nature and the forest plantation as part of the scheme to honor HRH.

9. In September
– Phuket Vegetarian Festival
• This ten day Chinese festival in Phuket has become world-famous for the gory pictures of people impaling their faces and bodies with everything from swords, spears and even fish.

– Phichit Boat Races
• Boat races take place in several towns along the Mekong River in September.
• The spectacular annual rowing regatta in Phichit takes place on the Nan River, which runs through the provincial capital.

10. In October
– Wax Castle Festival
• The end of Buddhist Lent is marked by the people in the northeast of Thailand with the creation of miniature beeswax Buddhist temples and shrines.
• These “wax castles” help them to gain merit, which will determine their future re-birth.

– Chon Buri Buffalo Races
• Buffalos compete in races and contests.

– Illuminated Boat Procession Festival
• The festival reflects the culture of illuminated boat procession, illuminated boat procession contest, alms giving and boat races along the Mekong River.

11. In November
– Loy Krathong – Nationwide
• River spirits are placated for another year with gifts of Krathongs floated on rivers, canals and lakes on the night of the full moon.
• Made of banana leaves, and decorated with incense and candles, thousands of these beautiful boats light up the night.

– Surin Elephant Roundup
• The elephants of Surin entertain the crowds of visitors to this north eastern town.

– River Kwai Bridge Week
• The River Kwai Bridge, in Kanchanaburi, is the setting for this week-long festival.
• It features spectacular sound and light performances on the bridge, archaeological and historical exhibitions, and vintage train rides.

– Phimai Festival
• This festival is spectacular light and sound presentation under the theme of ‘Vimainatthakarn’.
• Cultural shows by a Thai classical dance group, local Thai classical dancing, and an historical exhibition.

12. In December
– Birthday of His Majesty the King – Nationwide

– Phuket King’s Cup Regatta
• Southeast Asia’s leading regatta, held in the waters off the island of Phuket.
• It starts on the first Saturday of the month.

– Festival Highlights – Songkran Festival – April
• This simple and fun filled festival celebrates the Thai New Year.
• It usually occurs around the 13th-15th April.

– Festival Highlights – Loy Krathong – November
The Kratongs or boats created from the trunk of a banana tree are decorated with flowers candles and incense that are ready to float upon the water.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

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How to get there?

1. By plane
• The main international airports in Thailand are at Bangkok and Phuket.
• Both are well-served by intercontinental flights.
• Practically every airline that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok.
• International airports are also located at Hat Yai, Krabi, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.

2. By road
• A bus service runs from the Morning Market bus station in Vientiane to the bus station in Udon Thani.
• The cost is 80 Baht or 22,000 Kip and the journey takes two hours.
• The Udon Thani airport is 30 minutes by Tuk Tuk from the bus station and is served by Thai Airways, Nok Air and Air Asia.

3. By train
Thailand’s sole international train service links to Butterworth (near Penang) and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, continuing all the way to Singapore.

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

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Blogs / Sites about Thailand – events and festivals held in Thailand

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Images and photos of Thailand – events and festivals held in Thailand

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Videos of Thailand – events and festivals held in Thailand

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