Everyone loves a good festival, and Thailand has plenty of them (as you may have already noticed from previous posts). But not all may be worth planning a trip around. Festivals usually give off a better understanding of the country’s culture and enthusiasm, so there are a few in every country worth a visit. The following are the top 5 festivals in Thailand that you should, without a doubt, plan your visit around.
The most well known of all Thai festivals, Songkran is for those who love a good water fight. It’s the official Thai New Year landing on April 13th each year and lasting around 2 to 3 days. During the festival, the streets fill up with people looking to soak and get soaked with super-soakers in hand! Water is used as a symbol of cleansing, which is exactly what the Thai want to do to start the New Year.
2) Phi Ta Khon
Phi Ta Khon is a tradition of the Dan Sai district of the Loei Province in Isan. It is better known as the ghost festival since it reflects the regions beliefs on ghosts and spirits. It occurs each year around June/July and is probably Thailand’s most colorful festival. Men dress up as spirits in bright colorful costumes and masks. Along with the costumes, there’s plenty of dancing and rejoicing.
3) Monkey Buffet
Animals lovers would get a kick out of this bizarre festival. On the last Sunday of November each year, the town of Lopburi shows appreciation to their main tourist attraction, monkeys. They do this by serving a huge buffet of food, solely for the adorable and smart animals. This festivals makes some funny photos!
4) Loi Krathong
Loi Krathong is celebrated on one night during full moon of the 12th lunar month. ‘Loy’ signifies ‘floating’, while ‘krathong’ is a small object in the shape of a lotis flower, usually made from banana leaves. On the evening of the festival, thousands of people head to their local river or canal to make a wish. They do so by lighting the candle in their krathong and setting it free to float with the current. Truly beautiful.
5) Ubon Ratchatani Candle festival
For art lovers, the Ubon Ratchatani Candle festival is perfect. Held at the start of the Buddhist Lenten period (beginning of August), artists create larger than life wax sculptures as a Buddhist offering. Seventy or so wax creations are then paraded through the streets, amazing all spectators.