Chedi Monument Fair
Held at the Don Chedi memorial in Suphanburi Province, this event
commemorates the victory of King Nuesuan of Ayuthaya over Burmese
invaders in 1592. The highlight of the fair is dramatised
New Year's Day
A rather recent public holiday in deference to the western calendar.
That Phanom Festival
An annual week-long homage to the North- East's most sacred Buddhist
stupa (Wat Phra That Phanom) in Nakhon Phanom Province. Pilgrims from
all over the country, as well as from Laos, attend.
Called trut jiin in Thai, Chinese populations all over Thailand
celebrate their lunar new year (the date shifts from. year to year)
with a week of house-cleaning, lion dances and fireworks. The most
impressive festivities take place in the Chinese-dominated province
capital of Nakhon Sawan.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Colourful floats and parades exhibit Chiang Mai's cultivated
(Makkha Buchaa) Held on the full moon of the third lunar in the to
commemorate the preaching of the Buddha to 1250 enlightened monks who
came to hear him 'without prior summons'. A public holiday throughout
the country, it culminates with a candle-lit walk around the nudn
chapel at every wat.
Phra Nakhon Khiri Diamond Festival
This is a week-long celebration of Phetchaburi's history and
architecture focused on Phra Nakhon Kbiri Historical Park (also known
as Khao Wang), a hill topped by a former royal palace overlooking the
city. It features a sound- and-light show on Khao Wang; the temples
are festooned with lights and presentations of Thai classical
ASEAN Barred Ground Dove Fair
This is a large dove-singing contest held 1St week of March in Yala
that attracts dove- lovers from all over Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore
Bangkok International Jewellery Fair
Held in several large Bangkok hotels, this is Thailand's most
important annual gem and jewellery trade show. It runs concurrently
with the Department of Export Promotion's Gems & Jewellery Fair.
Phanom Rung Festival
A newly established festival to commemorate restoration work in the
Phanom Rung Estorical Park, an impressive Angkor-style temple complex
in Buffiain Province. It involves a daytime Procession up Phanom Rung
Hill and spectacular sound-and-light shows at night. It takes place on
the last week of the month - be prepared for very hot weather.
Phra Phutthabaat Festival
Annual Pilgrimage to Wat Phra Phutthabaat (Temple of the Holy
Footprint) at Saraburi, 236km north-cast of Bangkok. It's quite an
affair, with music, outdoor drama and many other festivities. if
you're in the area, the shrine is worth visiting at any tinny during
the year, even in the 'off season'.
The 6th Chakri Day
This is a public holiday commemorating the founder of the Chakri
Dynasty, Rama 1. It's held on 6 April.
13th - 15th Songkhran Festival
The New Year's celebration of the lunar year in Thailand. The Buddha
images am 'bathed', monks and elders receive the respect of younger
Thais by the sprinkling of water over their hands, and a lot of water
is generously tossed about for fun. Songkhran generally gives everyone
a chance to release their frustrations and literally cool off during
the peak of the hot season. Hide out in your room or expect to be
soaked; the latter is a lot more fun. Held 13 to 15 April.
Coronation Day Public holiday, 5 May. The king and queen
preside at a ceremony at Wat Phra Kaew, commemorating their 1950
Visakha Puja (Wisakha Buchaa) A
public holiday that falls on the 15th day of the waxing moon in the
sixth lunar month. This is considered the date of the Buddha's birth,
enlightenment and parinibbana, or pass- ing away. Activities are
centred around the wat, with candle-lit processions, much chanting and
Royal Ploughing Ceremony
To kick off the official rice-planting season, the king participates
in this ancient Brahman ritual at Sanam Luang (the large field across
from Wat Phra Kaew) in Bangkok. Thousands of Thais gather to watch,
and traffic in this part of the city comes to a standstill.
Bun Prawet Festival
One of the wildest in Thailand, an animist- Buddhist celebration held
in Loci's Dan Sai district (nowadays also in other places around Loei
Province) in which revellers dress in garish 'spirit' costumes, wear
painted masks and brandish carved wooden phalli. The festival
commemorates a Buddhist legend in which a host of spirits (phii)
appeared to greet the Buddha-to-be upon his return to his home town,
during his penultimate birth.
In the North-East, villagers craft large sky- rockets of bamboo that
they then fire into the sky to bring rain for rice fields. This
festival is best celebrated in the town of Yasothon. but is also good
in Ubon Ratchathani and Nong Khai. It's known in Thai as Bun Bang Fai.
(Asanhaa Buchaa) Conunemorates the first sermon preached by the
Khao Phansaa is celebrated in the North-East by carving huge candies
and parading them on floats in the streets. This festival is best
celebrated in Ubon Ratchathani.
A public holiday and the beginning of Buddhist 'lent', this is the
traditional time of year for young men to enter-the monkbood for the
rainy season and for all monks to station themselves in a monastery
for the three months. It's a good time to observe a Buddhist
Public holiday. In Bangkok, Th Ratchadamnoen Klang and the Grand
Palace are festooned with coloured lights. Celebrated on 12 August.
Thailand International Swan-Boat Races
These take place on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok near the Rama IX
An annual week-long festival celebrating local culture in Narathiwat
Province with boat races, dove-singing contests, handicraft displays,
traditional Southern Thai music and dance. The king and queen almost
A nine day celebration in Trang and Phuket during which devout Chinese
Buddhists cat only vegetarian food. There are various cere- monies at
Chinese temples and inter-making processions that bring to mind ffindu
Thai- pusam in its exhibition of self-nior6fication. Smaller towns in
the South such as Krabi and Phang-Nga also celebrate the veggic fest
on a smaller scale.
A public holiday in commemoration of King Chulalongkom (Rania V). Held
on 23 October.
A month at the end of the Buddhist lent during which new monastic
robes and requisites are offered to the Sangha. In Nan Province long-
boat races are held on the Nan River.
On the proper full-moon night, small lotus- shaped baskets or boats
made of banana leaves containing flowers, incense, candles and a coin
are floated on Thai rivers, lakes and canals. This is a peculiarly
Thai festival that probably originated in Sukhothai and is best
celebrated in the North. In Chiang Mai, where the festival is called
Yi Peng, residents also launch hot-air paper balloons into the sky. At
the Sukhothai lfistorical Park there is an impressive sound-and-light
Surin Annual Elephant Roundup
Held in the third weekend in November, Thailand's biggest elephant
show is pretty tourist these days. If you have ever had the desire to
see a lot of elephants in one place, then here's your chance.
River Khwae Bridge Week
Sound-and-light shows every night at the Death Railway Bridge in
Kanchanaburi. It in- cludes historical exhibitions and vintage train
rides on the infamous railway.
10 December - public holiday.
This is a public holiday that is celebrated with some fervor in
Bangkok. As with the queen's birthday, it features lots of lights and
other decorations along Th Ratchadamnoen Klang. Some people erect
temporary shrines to the king outside their homes or businesses.
Celebrated on 5 December.