Thailand events & festivals

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There are countless festivals and special events held in Thailand throughout the year. Some of these are celebrated nationwide (e.g. Songkran and Loy Krathong) whilst other festivals are specific to particular cities or provinces. With a number of Thai festivals and Buddhist holidays, the exact date varies each year because it depends on the lunar calendar and the night of the full moon. Listed below are some of the best-known annual Thai festivals and special events.

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January

    New Year’s Day (public holiday) – January 1
    Children’s Day – second Saturday in January (January 13, 2018)
    Bo Sang Umbrella Festival, Chiang Mai – usually third weekend in January

February

    Chiang Mai Flower Festival – usually held on the first weekend in February (February 2-4, 2018)
    Valentine’s Day – February 14
    Trang Underwater Wedding – Valentine’s Day. Events in Trang Town and Ko Kradan (February 13-15)
    Chinese Lunar New Year – date falls in January/February. Celebrated in many areas of Thailand, but particularly in the Chinatown districts of Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Phuket and Trang (February 16, 2018 – Year of the Dog)
    Pattaya Bike Week – mid-February. Regarded as the biggest gathering of motorbike enthusiasts in South-east Asia
    Phuket International Blues Rock Festival – mid/late February

Bo Sang Umbrella Festival, Chiang Mai via Chiang Mai

March

    Makha Bucha Day (public holiday) – date falls in February/March (March 1, 2018)
    National Elephant Day – March 13
    National Muay Thai Day – March 17. Ayutthaya hosts the Martial Arts Festival and Wai Khru Ceremony and smaller events and ceremonies are held at various Thai boxing gyms and venues in Thailand
    Pattaya International Music Festival – mid/late-March

April

    Chakri Day (public holiday) – April 6
    Songkran Thai New Year Water Festival (public holiday) – April 13-15
    Chonburi Festival – mid/late April in Chonburi province including Pattaya
    Phuket Bike Week – mid/late April

May

    Labour Day (public holiday) – May 1
    Royal Ploughing Ceremony, Bangkok – date usually falls in May
    Rocket Festivals, Isaan – mid/late May. Various local events in areas of north-east Thailand with the most famous being the the ‘Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival’ at Yasothon
    Chiang Mai Inthakin City Pillar Festival – date usually falls in May
    Ko Samui Yacht Regatta – held in May/June
    Visakha Bucha Day (public holiday) – date falls in May/June (May 29, 2018)
    Hua Hin Jazz Festival – usually held in May/June

June

    Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival, Dan Sai, Loei

Makha Bucha Day via Asia Tourist

July

    Asahna Bucha Day (public holiday) – date usually falls in July/early-August (July 27, 2018)
    Khao Phansa – falls on the day after Asahna Bucha (July 28, 2018)
    Birthday of H.M King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) – July 28 (public holiday)
    Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival – held during July and associated with Asahna Bucha and Buddhist Lent
    Phuket Yachting Race Week – mid/late July

August

    H.M. Queen’s Birthday (public holiday) also celebrated as Mother’s Day – August 12
    Por Tor Hungry Ghost Festival, Phuket – held August/September

September

    Thai National Flag Day – September 28

October

    Commemorating the passing of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) – October 13 (public holiday)
    Buffalo Racing Festival, Chonburi – held in October/November (probable date in 2018 is October 23)
    Chulalongkorn Day (public holiday) – October 23
    Awk Phansa (marks the end of Buddhist Lent) – usually in October (probable date in 2018 is October 24)
    Naga Fireballs, Nong Khai
    Vegetarian Festival – usually takes place in September/October. Celebrated at various locations in Thailand including Phuket, Trang, Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai

November

    Loy Krathong – date usually falls in November (probable date in 2018 is November 23 – to be confirmed)
    Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai – held to coincide with Loy Krathong (probable dates in 2018 are November 22-24 – to be confirmed)
    Elephant Round-up Festival, Surin – third weekend in November
    Monkey Banquet Festival, Lopburi – last Sunday in November

Mass Lantern Release, Mae Jo, Chiang Mai

In previous years there has been a separate sky lantern release hosted by a Buddhist sect at a temple in Mae Jo. The Mae Jo event is not the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. Since 2015 the Mae Jo sky lantern release has been a commercial event aimed at tourists with ticket prices starting from US$100. Full details on the Mae Jo Sky Lantern Release here »

The real Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai is, and always has been, free to attend.

December

    King Bhumibol Birthday Commemoration Day (public holiday) the day on which HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born is also celebrated as Father’s Day (from 2017, the day will also mark National Day) – December 5
    Constitution Day (public holiday) – December 10
    Concert in the Park, Bangkok
    Outdoor concert season begins in Lumphini Park, Bangkok. Free entertainment courtesy of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Concerts on most Sundays from mid-December through to the end of February.
    New Year’s Eve (public holiday if it falls on a weekday) – December 31. New Year Countdown events held at various locations in Thailand including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya

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