10 magical festivals in Thailand you shouldn't miss!

Top Festivals in Thailand

  • Thailand Festival
Top Festivals in Thailand

Thai people love festivals, and it’s not surprising that having fun and socializing play important roles in Thai culture. You can find Thailand festivals taking place all over Thailand, frequently held in temple grounds with origins from Buddhism and they are always a pleasant experience. Thailand festivals are usually identical to seasonal changes, like the end of the dry season or rainy season.

The customs Thai people cherish is to create good fortune for the future. Wearing traditional Thailand costumes, people visit temples to gain merits, to pay tribute to Buddha and their ancestors with candles and perfume. However, many festivals are planned according to the lunar calendar, so the exact date varies each year.

If you happen to be in Thailand, participate in these celebrations and enjoy the continuity of Thailand's culture. The festivals are celebrated in a relaxed and pleasant way which welcome foreigners to participate!


  • Join in street water fights during Thai New Year.
  • Admire the breathtaking view of thousands of lanterns flying in the sky.
  • Release Candles floating inside small boats on the water.
  • Experience the continuity of Thai traditions and culture of Buddhism.
  • Show your respects to the late Royal King.
  • Ge better understanding of the country by her holidays.

Songkran, the New Year Festival

When: 13-15 April

This is the biggest, longest and most fun festival in Thailand, and maybe the Asia and even the world! Songkran is a 3-day water fight that takes place throughout the whole country. Wild scenes of exuberance can be seen throughout the Kingdom, with music, dancing, drinking and people soaked from head to toe. Water guns, hose pipes, buckets - in fact, anything you can get your hands on can be used to splash people. One thing is for certain: you will get wet!


Songkran Festival



As April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand, everyone gets involved with this country-wide water fight and it brings great relief from the soaring temperatures. Songkran started as a Buddhist tradition, using a light sprinkling of water to symbolize purification but, as time went by, people began splashing each other in a more playful manner until recent years, when the entire country becomes one almighty water fight celebrated by millions of people.

Songkran is an annual Thailand festival which takes place over 3 days during the traditional Thai New Year, April 13th-15th (in almost all provinces). The official Songkran festival lasts 3 days but, in reality, the whole week is taken over by a mass celebration. Wild scenes of exuberance can be seen throughout the Kingdom with music, dancing and drinking!


Songkran Celebrations


Where to celebrate

In Bangkok, the capital, the Thailand festival lasts three days. The official opening ceremony is held in Wat Pho, which is one of the most important Buddhist temples in the country. The main celebration took place on Khao San Road, well known for its plenty accommodation and nightlife. In Chiang Mai, celebrations may last a week. The celebration may be the largest in the country. The festival begins with a parade around the city. Street food, music, dance and water warfare are everywhere. In Phuket: Padang beach is a good place to go. The island is full of all night activities, including water wars, concerts, parties, street food and so on.

During Songkran, most office buildings, banks and even family-run shops and restaurants shut down completely, while big shopping malls usually remain open.


The word " songkran " means "the passage of astrology". The name comes from Sanskrit. It means the Hindi festival held in April to commemorate the arrival of spring.

Initially, the new year was celebrated around November because Thais follow different lunar calendars. However, as people moved further south, the celebrations moved to April, which match the warm temperatures in central Thailand.

Loy Khatrong, the Light Festival

When: early November

In Thailand, Loy Khatrong together with Yi Peng are among the most spectacular Thailand festivals.

This is a Buddhist purification ceremony. The main celebration is that thousands of people float their boats (named khatrong ) on rivers, channels and lakes. There is a small candle in each boat: the light reflected in the still water at night is something you will remember forever.

These candles salute the Buddha. By floating boats on the water, people want to eliminate their hatred and anger and finally find purification after the rainy season.


Loy Khatrong


Yi Peng, the Flying Lanterns Festival

When: early November (the same day as Loy Khatrong)

If you are in Chiang Mai, you can experience the celebrations of two Thailand festivals on the same day. At the same time, people will celebrate Loy Krathong Festival and Yipeng Festival with amazingly nice results.

Yi Peng Festival is a traditional festival in the north. The core of the celebration is groups of lanterns flying in the air.

The ceremony includes dance, music and drama as well. Just before the lantern launch, Buddhist monks conduct a collective meditation. Then, with fireworks set off, the lanterns are launched.


Yi Peng Festival


Makha Bucha

When: February or March

Makha Bucha is a key festival of Buddhism, celebrating four important events that took place on a day 45 years ago before the Buddhist era, which is held on the third month of the lunar calendar:

  • 1250 disciples came to worship Buddha spontaneously.
  • They were all enlightened (Arathans).
  • The Buddha delivered important teachings about Buddhism.
  • It happened on a full moon day.

On the full moon evening, the monks walked around the temple for three times with incense and flowers in hand.

As this is an important Buddhist festival in Thailand. Buddhists usually spend this day in strict accordance with the teachings of the Buddha, visit temples to pray, pay tribute to monks, and provide food to monks.


Makha Bucha Thailand


Royal Plowing Ceremony

When: Early May

"Auspicious beginning of rice growing season" originated in India. This is an ancient tradition popular in different Asian countries, it marks the beginning of the harvest season.

Thailand is the second largest rice exporter worldwide. Therefore, this festival in Thailand is very important to farmers and the national economy.

The ceremony usually take place in Sanam Luang in Bangkok, an open space in front of the Grand Palace. Many public offices have been closed with the sale of alcohol legal.


Royal Plowing Ceremony


Visakha Bucha

When: May or June

This most important Buddhist Festival marks the reappearance of three important events in the life of Buddha, all of which happen on the full moon day in the sixth month of the lunar calendar (Visakha month):

  • The birth of the Buddha
  • Buddha's Enlightenment
  • Death of Buddha and Nirvana

Recognized as "World Heritage Day" by UNESCO, this festival is an important occasion for meritorious service: people pray, visit temples and provide food to monks on this day.

Meditation, mindfulness and chanting are important parts of the celebration.


Visakha Bucha Day


King's Birthday

When: December 5th

On this day, people can take a day off to pay tribute to his Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late king.

The event is also an occasion to celebrate national unity, as the king also serves a symbol of national unity.

If you happen to be in Thailand that day, you can join of the following activities:

  • The main celebration will take place in Hua Hin city. The houses will be decorated with lights, and a large number of people will gather in the streets in yellow (the king's color) to take part in the parade.
  • Visit palaces all over the country, such as the Bhubing Palace in Chiang Mai and the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
  • Please stand up and salute when hearing the national anthem.


King's Birthday Festival Thailand with fireworks


Holiday Tips

Visiting countries on national holidays can be troublesome, but here are some tips to avoid problems:

  • Reserve everything in advance: transportation, hotels, museums, etc.
  • Check the festival schedule: so you don't miss the most important celebrations and can enjoy the holiday.
  • Plan transportation in advance: many people are out during the holidays, so plan your trip in advance to avoid problems.
  • Beware of fraud and pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas.
  • Pay attention to local customs: during festivals, the laws can be very strict. In addition, local traditions should always be respected.