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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Hathaway

Water Fights and Floating Lanterns: Thailand's Festivals Will Blow Your Mind

Updated: Apr 27

Everyone has a bucket list, whether it's scribbled on paper or tucked away in our minds. Mine is all about travel adventures! From exploring Pompeii to a Sound of Music sleepover, I've got big dreams. One of those dreams is experiencing Thailand's epic Songkran festival. You might have noticed our Thailand-themed posts this week – that was all building up to this incredible celebration! Songkran, the Thai New Year in April, is a must-see. To inspire your own Thailand trip planning, let's dive into some more fun and beautiful Thai festivals!

Amazing Thailand Festivals

Songkran - April 13 (Celebrated until April 15th, but sometimes the government extends the holiday for even longer)

People celebrating Songkran with water guns on the streets of Thailand

Songkran tops my Thailand bucket list! This Thai New Year celebration is a vibrant mix of traditions and pure fun:

  • Merit-Making: Locals visit temples to offer food to monks and wash Buddha statues, seeking to cleanse away bad luck.

  • Family Time: Like our holidays, Songkran is when Thai people return home to honor their ancestors and spend time with loved ones.

  • Epic Waterfight: Get ready to be soaked! Songkran is famous for its massive, playful water battles that fill the streets. Everyone gets involved, from locals to tourists.

  • Friendly Tip: Thailand values modesty. While swimsuits are okay underneath, consider wearing a light, colorful cover-up like a sarong or Hawaiian shirt to keep things respectful during Songkran festivities.

  • Bonus Tip: Keep your phone and other devices safe with a waterproof pouch – a broken phone could easily put a damper on the day.

Chiang Mai Flower Festival - 3-day festival at the start of February

A flower float with purple flowers and golden elephants at the Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Chiang Mai, the 'Rose of the North,' bursts into color during its 3-day Flower Festival! Held in early February to mark the end of the cool season, the entire city is adorned with vibrant blooms like chrysanthemums and damask roses. Here's what to expect:

  • Saturday Morning Parade: Dazzling flower floats, traditional dances, and music fill the streets. Don't miss this spectacle as it winds through the city to Suan Buak Hat Park.

  • Botanical Displays: Admire stunning floral creations on display for all to enjoy.

  • Street Food Stalls: The park comes alive with delicious street food – perfect for refueling after soaking in the sights.

  • Chiang Mai Festival Queen: Candidates ride atop the flower floats, with the winner crowned at an evening celebration filled with food and music.

  • Friendly Tip: Beat the crowds by visiting the displays early in the morning. Or, experience the magic at dusk when the festivities take on a whole new glow!

Loy Krathong Festival - Takes place in November - Next: Friday, November 15, 2024

Krathongs or small baskets with pink and yellow flowers, candles, and incense ready to float on the water.

Loy Krathong, the magical festival of lights, brings Thailand's waterways to life! This celebration of new beginnings and casting away misfortune coincides with a similar festival unique to Chiang Mai (more on that next!). Here's what you'll experience:

  • Floating Baskets: Imagine thousands of candlelit 'krathongs' (little baskets) drifting on rivers, lakes, and canals – a symbol of letting go of bad luck. Legend says if your candle stays lit, a lucky year awaits!

  • Celebrations: Expect vibrant cultural performances, dazzling fireworks, and stalls to create your own krathong – especially along Bangkok's Chao Phraya River.

  • Friendly Tip: Traditionally, krathongs were crafted from natural materials like banana leaves. Nowadays, some are made of plastic, which can harm the environment. Seek out eco-friendly krathongs made with natural materials for a beautiful and sustainable celebration.

Yi Peng - Takes place in November - Next: November 15 to 16th, 2024

Thousands of floating lanterns lighting up the sky for Yi Peng

Yi Peng, the dazzling 'Festival of Lights,' coincides with Loy Krathong and is celebrated with particular enchantment in Chiang Mai. If you've ever yearned for your own Tangled moment, this is it! Imagine thousands of floating lanterns ascending into the night sky. Here's what makes Yi Peng special:

  • Religious Events: The festival honors ancestors and pays respect to Buddha with meaningful ceremonies.

  • Cultural Activities: Experience the vibrancy of traditional Thai dances and music throughout the streets.

  • Street Parades: Floats, marching bands, and irresistible food stalls bring the whole city to life.

  • Floating Lanterns and Clay Candles: Thousands of 'khom loi' (floating lanterns) rise into the sky, carrying away bad luck, while clay candles flicker throughout the city.

  • Friendly Tip: Yi Peng is incredibly popular. Book your accommodations and event tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment!

Even More Cool Festivals

  • Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb) - With a large Chinese population cities around the country are filled with lion dances, parades, firecrackers, and food vendors. Make sure to wear red!!

  • Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival (Dates vary because the dates are decided on by town mediums - generally around June) - Participants dress up in ghostly attire to play games and compete in contests. The streets are full of music shows, pageants, and Buddhist ceremonies.

  • Lopburi Monkey Banquet (November) - Tons of fruit and food is set out as an elaborate banquet for the thousands of monkey inhabitants to enjoy.

  • Book Bang Fai Rocket Festival (March) - Launching of homemade rockets to encourage rainfall while celebrating with traditional dances and events.

  • Wing Kwai Buffalo Racing Festival (Varies - Takes place in the 11th month of the lunar calendar) - Started as a way to honor buffalos and their contribution to Thai agriculture. Participants race to see who can cross the finish line first. The festival also includes additional cultural events as well.

Thailand is a land of endless celebration! From vibrant annual festivals to lively full moon parties, there's always something to discover. These incredible events are the perfect way to experience the heart and soul of Thailand while having the time of your life. Let us help you find the ideal time to visit Thailand and immerse yourself in one of its spectacular festivals. Schedule your FREE discovery call today! Your unforgettable adventure awaits!


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