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Popular Festivals of Thailand that Promise the Experience of a Lifetime

9 mins. read

Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world today, owing to the amazing travel opportunities it has to offer. From serene beaches with soft sand to verdant jungles, from happening cities to ancient temples and the numerous picturesque islands in Thailand, there is something for everyone. It’s easy to see why Thailand is on the bucket list of so many travellers across the world.

The Festivals of Thailand

There are several reasons why people plan a trip to Thailand. Some wish to indulge in the culture, others are looking for a beach holiday. It is also a popular destination among families thanks to its highly affordable cost. A honeymoon in Thailand is yet another common reason. However, more than a well-known tourist destination, Thailand is a country that has a rich heritage, steeped in history. So, it should come as no surprise that the country also has a huge number of festivals that are observed throughout the year. Almost every month brings with it a new opportunity to partake in the zealous celebrations of a Thai festival. From Thailand’s water festival of Songkran that celebrates the Thai New Year to witnessing the mysterious fireballs that seemingly appear out of nowhere during the Naga Fireballs Festival, there’s plenty to experience. So, whether you want to get a glimpse into the Thai and Buddhist cultures or just want to have some fun, here’s more on some of the best festivals of Thailand that you can consider attending:

1. The Lantern Festival of Thailand

The Lantern Festival of Thailand

Thailand’s Lantern Festival may refer to the Yi Peng festival or the Loy Krathong festival. While both these festivals are now celebrated together, earlier, the Yi Peng festival was celebrated by itself across Northern Thailand, marking the end of the monsoons, when people would release floating lanterns, signifying the release of bad memories, while paying respect to Buddha and making a wish for their future. You can plan a visit to Chiang Mai, which is said to host the best celebrations of Thailand’s lantern festival, which take place over the period of three days.
On the other hand, Thailand’s festival of lights, Loy Krathong, is one of the most important celebrations in the country. Taking place near rivers and other bodies of water, this festival of Thailand sees the release of hundreds of floating, candle-lit vessels into the water, by people paying their respects to the goddess. It is believed that if your candle stays alight for as long as you can see it, you will have good luck in the coming year.

2. The Songkran Festival

The biggest and most famous water festival in Thailand, Songkran marks the Thai New Year. The Songkran Festival of Thailand, one of the most important celebrations in the country, is celebrated each year in April and is basically a massive water fight. The tradition began with a religious ritual where people would wash away bad deeds by sprinkling water on Buddha’s images and evolved with time to a water-fight with buckets and water guns.

3. Lopburi Monkey Festival

The Lopburi Monkey Festival in Thailand is a very unique Thai food festival, involving a banquet that is held every year in the honour of the macaques that overrun Lopburi temples. This Thai festival celebrates the Hindu god, Hanuman, and the monkeys are offered huge tables full of treats like stick rice, salads, fruits, and traditional Thai dessert.

4. Wonderfruit Music & Art festival

The Wonderfruit Festival is held at the Siam Country Club and is a three-day fun-filled art and music festival. This festival of Thailand features electrifying musical performances, art installations, and culinary workshops by the most renowned chefs. A mix of Thai, Asian, and western cultures, the festival’s main attraction and highlight is the music by international performers.

5. Phi Ta Khon Festival

Also known as the Ghost Festival, Phi Ta Khon is one of the most interesting festivals of Thailand. It is celebrated in the agriculturally driven Dan Sai district, and is celebrated over a weekend in July, the dates of which are selected every year by the town’s mediums. During this festival, locals dress as ghosts, with gruesome masks and compete in various contests. The first day of the festival is a Friday full of parades, followed by the second day, which involves music shows, while the last day is reserved for Buddhist ceremonies.

6. Bang Fai Phaya

Also known as the Naga Fireballs Festival, The Bang Fai Phaya is one of the most mysterious festivals of Thailand, involving a natural phenomenon that seems almost impossible. Every year, in October, around full moon, soundless, smokeless, and odourless balls of pink fire materialise out of nowhere on the surface of the Mekong River, around Nong Khai. These balls rise up to heights of around 30 metres before disappearing.
There is an unconfirmed theory that attributes this occurrence to a combination of methane and nitrogen, which, reaching a certain temperature during this time of the year results in this reaction, while folklore states that the serpents (Nagas) of the river are responsible, and that the release of the fireballs signifies the end of Buddhist Lent. Regardless of how it happens, the phenomenon tends to draw throngs of tourists and locals alike, every year.

7. Boon Bang Fai

The Rocket Festival is celebrated in north-eastern Thailand and Laos at the beginning of the wet season, just before planting is done. Almost like a big party that brings together all the locals, Boon Bang Fai includes pageants, music, dance, and processions of floats that feature home-made rockets. At the end of the festival, these rockets are fired into the sky and as a part of a contest, are judged by the height, distance, and vapour trail.

8. The Surin Elephant Festival

From being used in battle to assisting in agriculture and travel, elephants have always been an essential part of Thailand’s history. The Surin Elephant Festival is observed in the honour of these gentle giants and several parts of Thailand, especially towards the north-east, hold huge parades of elephants, decorated with paste and flowers, being fed lovingly by people with fruits and vegetables. If you want to attend the Surin Festival, the month of November will be the best time to go to Thailand for you.

9. Wing Kwai

This is a famous festival in Thailand that revolves around water buffalo racing. The main feature of the festival is a race that is held at a racecourse near Chonburi City Hall, where several jockeys race their water buffalos bareback towards the finish line. There are several other events that are held during the festival, including a fun and quirky buffalo beauty contest. The entire province of Chonburi is abuzz with excitement and merriment as stalls upon stalls offering food and games are also set up everywhere. This festival is generally held sometime around the end of October.

10. The Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival

As the name suggests, you can expect a festival that has only vegetarian food. That is quite true; the Vegetarian Festival got its name from the abstinence people observe for a month before the celebrations, where they do not eat meat, garlic, onions, and other food-groups. The month ends with a huge celebration that is held in October, which may be a little gruesome for the faint-hearted to witness. Revellers participate in several body mortification activities like walking on hot coals, face piercing, lying down on beds of knives, etc., as they believe the acts will convince gods to offer them protection from harm. Also involving energetic dances, chanting, and fireworks, the festival is undoubtedly a fascinating event to witness.

You can witness these and many more unique and zealous celebrations with the right Thailand travel packages to immerse yourself in the culture and heritage of this small south-east Asian country.

July 20, 2022


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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