Top 5 Thai festivals to try

Depending on the time of year you choose to visit Thailand you can enjoy some of their world-renowned national festivals. Some are unique to regions whilst others are nationwide so if you’re looking to enjoy the real Thailand you should make time to indulge in one of the ones we’re looking at below.

Phi Ta Kon

Phi Ta Kon takes place in mid-June and is an annual celebration of the ancient tale of Buddha’s reincarnation. Phi Ta Kon is a re-enactment of the original Buddha story through the men of Dan Sai, the area of the reincarnation, dress as vibrant masked spirits with long-trailing costumes. The festival is a celebration which lasts three days and is fuelled by alcohol. By the final day you can be sure revelry is at its peak.

Ubon Ratchatani Candle Festival

Unique to the region of Ubon Ratchitani and once again a Buddhist tradition, this festival lasts the whole of July. Candle is a bit of an understatement though as this festival sees humongous candles moulded into a range of shapes are paraded on floats through the city centre. Dancers and musicians surround the candles and the festival is designed coincide with the beginning of Buddhist Lent.

Ubon Ratchatani Candle Festival

Songkran

Songkran is a festival which is celebrated nationwide. You can settle in and enjoy Songkran in your luxury Samui villa or in a central Bangkok holiday let. It’s the festival of the Thai New Year and is internationally renowned. Different cities celebrate Songkran in different ways. In Koh Samui they celebrate Songkran with a water festival, lots of street-side water fights and community fun.

Loi Krathong

Loi Krathong is a festival in November which is celebrated across Thailand. It’s the Thai festival of lights and it’s held to mark the beginning of the twelfth lunar month. Around the country you’ll see the waters alight as lantern style candles are set out to float and they create a fascinating spectacle. Wherever you visit in Thailand in November you can be sure you’ll catch a glimpse of this stunning display.

Loi Krathong

Monkey Buffet Festival

Possibly the strangest festival Thailand has to offer, the Monkey Buffet Festival is an annual event to benefit the monkeys of the province of Lopburi to the North of Bangkok. It also has a great impact on tourism of course. 4000 kilograms of fruit, vegetables and sweets are laid out on tables in front of the temples in the area. The 3000 monkeys who live in the area are obviously ecstatic at the sight and throw themselves into it much to the delight of all the locals and tourists who come to watch. It has become bigger than the ritual giving though as other events have been organised around it.

Monkey Buffet Festival

Getting the most out of your Thai break should definitely include indulging in local culture and a festival is a wonderful way to do this.

Mark Cox is Director at Samui Island Villas.

Comments (4)

  1. Mark,

    This is a really useful article. I am living in Spain and as you may know there are lots of festivals here also, and I think for tourists this a great way to plan a trip, around an interesting cultural event like a festival. I was in Bali many years ago and just happened to be there for a Full Moon festival, it was spectacular.

    Thanks for great information,
    Jackie

  2. AG says:

    I have always wanted to see the hundreds of lanterns! Absolutely beautiful sight just looking from pictures, how much more if I could be there…

    But I have to say, I feel bad for the monkeys. They’re not supposed to drink cola and eat sweets like that :(

  3. Aaron says:

    Songkran is a must do in Thailand! I recommend spending it in Chiang Mai, thousands of people all with water guns and buckets of water = perfect way to cool down.

    Festival of light sounds fun too!

    Thanks
    Aaron

  4. Chelsea says:

    My favorite festival would be Loi Krathong. I have always wanted to participate in a sky candle lighting ceremony. It is such a beautiful site to see.

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