Popularly called as the Land of Smiles, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia as well as in the world. It draws millions of visitors every year as it boasts of stunning beaches, glittering temples, rich culture, famous Thai Massage and great food. Besides, Thailand also possesses some spectacular festivals that offer a glimpse of the rich Thai heritage and traditions. If you want to experience Thai culture at its best, plan to visit this wonderful country during these festival seasons. Here is the list of some vibrant festivals of Thailand that one must experience as part of Thailand Tour Packages.
Songkran / Water Festival
Songkran, also known as Water Festival, is one of the biggest and most fun festivals in Thailand and possibly in the world. The Songkran festival is traditionally celebrated every year on April 13th and lasts about 3 days. The word Songkran originally comes from a Sanskrit term “saṃkranti” which means ‘to move into’. This festival is celebrated on the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac which marks the end of the hottest months in Thailand, and the start of annual rains. In addition, Songkran is the welcoming of the Thai New Year and is symbolically a time for new beginnings and spiritual cleansing. During these days, families and friends come together to celebrate and rejoice by visiting temples, washing ther Buddha images in reverence, and throwing water on each other using buckets, hose pipes, and water guns. Chiang Mai, one of the popular places to visit in Thailand, is the best place to experience this fun filled festival.
Phi Ta Khon / Ghost Festival
Phi Ta Khon is one of the most colourful traditional festivals celebrated in Thailand. Also known as the Ghost Festival, Phi Ta Khon is a three-day event held in the first weekend after the sixth full moon (May / June) in Isaan. Peculiar to Dan Sai, the whole event is called Bun Luang, part of a Buddhist merit-making holiday also known as Bun Phawet. This festival is renowned for the colourful masks worn by thousands of locals. The masks are ghastly with stretched faces, phallic noses, decorated in bright and gaudy colours. Combines religious traditions, a fun-loving party atmosphere, and local handicrafts, it usually has the main parade on Friday, with pageants and music on Saturday and Buddhist ceremonies on Sunday.
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Loi Krathong & Yi Peng Festival
Loi Krathong is an important festival in the Thai Buddhist calendar observed every year on the 12th full moon day of the traditional Thai calendar. This two-day event, normally celebrated in November, is one of the most beautiful festivals of Thailand. During this festival, people make offerings of krathongs, the boat-shaped flower baskets with burning candles, which are released and float along the river in honour of the Goddess of Water. As the boat is launched and drifts away, it is believed that people can be released from their sufferings and may wish for good fortune and luck. Loi Krathong coincides with another festival Yi Peng, and is a time to make merit and released hundreds of paper lanterns into the night sky. With bright krathongs floating in the river and glowing lanterns flying in the air, it is truly a spectacular sight. Chiang Mai is the best place to witness this spectacular festival during your Thailand Tour.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival and Lunar New Year, is another significant festival celebrated by Thai people. Started in 2698 BC, the Chinese New Year marks the first day of the new moon and is a massive event that is celebrated by Chinese communities all over the world which usually falls on January or February. Chinatown, one of the top places to visit in Bangkok, is the place to witness the exuberant and colourful Chinese New Year celebrations in Thailand as each and every corner of this bustling area comes to life with dragon dancers, exploding firecrackers, iconic red Chinese lanterns, crowds of worshippers as well as locals who gather to participate in the fanfare and enjoy mouth-watering Chinese banquets. With its festive atmosphere, tasty food, and vibrant cultural performances, the Chinese New Year in Thailand draws a huge crowd of foreign visitors and it is the best time to experience the local Chinese culture at its best. Chinatown in Bangkok is the must include places in Bangkok Tour Packages.
Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival
The Candle Festival is the one of the most well-known religious festivals celebrated in Ubon Ratchathani of Isaan, Thailand. Usually held in July every year, it is a mix of art, culture and celebration. Asahna Bucha and Khao Phansa are the two important events celebrated during this festival. Asahna Bucha marks the day when Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Benares in India while Wan Khao Phansa marks the start of the Buddhist Lent, three-month rainy period. Originally, it is a tradition for Thai Buddhists to donate candles for monks at the start of the Lenten period to dispel gloom in their quarters and elsewhere within the wat during rainy days. Later, it is transformed in to a major event of many village celebrations especially in the Ubon Ratchathani. Huge and elaborately carved candles are prepared months in advance at temples across the region and then paraded through the city on floats. The procession starts from Sri Ubon Rattanaram temple and ends at Thung Si Muang temple accompanied by dancers and traditional folk music.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Called as the ‘Rose of the North’, the Flower Festival is a three-day event held every year on the 1st weekend of February in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is one of the must-see events in Thailand which draws thousands of visitors. Observed since 30 years, during this festival hundreds of flowers paint the city with different hues and shades especially the Suan Buak Hat Park. The park is beautifully decorated with flowers like orchids, chrysanthemums and the Damask Rose which is only found in Chiang Mai. During this festival, one can see the sculptures of temples, animals and even scenes from the Ramayana made from flowers. Besides, there is also a lively parade through the streets of Chiang Mai accompanied by dancers and the event finishes with the choosing of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival Queen.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
One of the most bizarre festivals in Thailand, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual Taoist event celebrated primarily by the Chinese community in Thailand. Also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival or the Kin Jay Festival, this 9 days event take place in the vicinity of the six Chinese temples scattered throughout Phuket in October or November every year and attracts huge number of foreigners because of the extreme acts undertaken by some locals. It coincides with the Taoist Lent period so devotees not only give up meat but also required to dress in white during the entire period as white signifies purity where as people in mourning and pregnant or menstruating women are not supposed to attend the ceremonies. A select few participants willingly pierce their faces with daggers or skewers, walk on hot coals, and lie on beds of knives in order to purify their minds and bodies. Plenty of firecrackers, chanting, and a dancing throng in the streets add to the chaos as volunteers perform acts of self-mutilation.
Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival
Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival is one of the ancient and significant festivals to the farming communities of Isaan, Thailand, among the best affordable international destinations for Indians. Entire villages in the provinence attend the festival and pay homage to the rain gods and anticipate a good rice crops. During the festival the villagers shot the rockets up to encourage the Gods to send down plenty of rainfall. Villagers create huge elaborated rockets in different sizes and stuff them with large quantities of gunpowder. The decorated rockets are paraded on the first day of Boon Bang Fai, and then launched high into the air throughout the weekend accompanied by live folk music, beauty pageants, drinking of local rice wine, and a party full of fun and frolic. The rocket that reaches the greatest height is declared the winner.
Lopburi Monkey Banquet
Lopburi Monkey Festival is considered as one of the most unique festivals in Thailand. The festival held on the last Sunday of November every year at the ruins of Phra Prang Sam Yot shrine, an 800 year old Khmer era Hindu temple in the town of Lopburi as it is home huge population of long tailed macaque monkeys. Arguably the world’s wildest dinner party, this is a mass feeding fiesta of more than 3000 macaque monkeys living in this area of Thailand. During this festival, a huge banquet can be arranged in a true buffet style, with the local chefs spending many hours preparing the vegetarian food, including delicious fruit salads, fruit carvings, sticky white rice and even traditional Thai desserts made from egg yolk. Started in 1989, this festival attracts huge number of locals as well as tourists from across the world to see this crazy feast as part of their Thailand Trip.