From Fiery Rockets to Floating Lanterns: 5 Unforgettable Festivals in Thailand

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Thailand, the “Land of Smiles,” isn’t just about stunning beaches and delicious food. It’s a country pulsating with vibrant culture and traditions, best experienced during its many incredible festivals.  Mark your calendars and get ready to immerse yourself in the energy, colours and unique experiences that these Thai festivals offer:

  1. Songkran: The Water Wars Extravaganza (April 13-15th)

Songkran, the Thai New Year, is a national holiday unlike any other. It’s a giant, playful water fight! For three days, the streets transform into a massive water battleground. People arm themselves with buckets, water guns and even hoses, soaking everyone they come across. It’s a joyous celebration of cleansing and new beginnings, and a chance to cool off during Thailand’s hottest month.

  • What to Expect: Songkran, the Thai New Year, is a time for joyous celebration and renewal. It’s famous for its massive water fights, where people take to the streets armed with buckets, water guns, and hoses to drench each other in a playful display of cleansing and new beginnings.
  • How to Get There: Major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai host some of the biggest Songkran celebrations. Visitors can easily travel to Thailand and participate in the festivities by booking flights to these destinations.

(Source: https://www.theakyra.com/blog/songkran-festival-chang-mai/)


2. Yi Peng & Loy Krathong: The Festival of Lights (Full Moon of November)

Yi Peng and Loy Krathong are two festivals celebrated together, creating a truly magical spectacle. During Yi Peng, which coincides with Loy Krathong, the night sky comes alive with thousands of brightly coloured “khom loi” (hot air lanterns) rising into the air.  Loy Krathong itself features the floating of decorated kratongs (baskets) bearing offerings and candles on rivers and canals, creating a mesmerising display of light. Witnessing these festivals is like stepping into a fairytale!

  • What to Expect: Yi Peng and Loy Krathong coincide to create a magical spectacle of light and color. Witness thousands of khom loi (hot air lanterns) floating into the night sky during Yi Peng, while Loy Krathong sees beautifully decorated kratongs (baskets) floating on rivers and canals.
  • How to Get There: Chiang Mai is renowned for its Yi Peng celebrations, attracting visitors from around the world. Travelers can fly to Chiang Mai International Airport and join in the festivities.

(Source: https://www.indochinavoyages.com/travel-blog/thailand-lantern-festival)

(Source: https://guide2thailand.com/loy-krathong-festival/)

  1. Boon Bang Fai: Rocket Festival (Mid-May)

Head to Thailand’s northeastern region, Isan, for the thunderous and colourful Boon Bang Fai, also known as the Rocket Festival. This fertility festival celebrates the beginning of the rainy season. Villages compete by building and launching elaborately decorated rockets, hoping theirs will fly the highest to appease the rain gods.  Be prepared for loud booms, vibrant parades and a sense of pure fun!

  • What to Expect: Head to Thailand’s northeastern region, Isan, for the Boon Bang Fai Festival, a lively celebration of fertility and rainmaking. Villages compete in launching elaborately decorated rockets to usher in the rainy season, accompanied by colorful parades and cultural performances.
  • How to Get There: Travelers can reach Isan by domestic flights to cities like Ubon Ratchathani or Khon Kaen, followed by local transportation to festival venues.

(Source: https://www.makalius.co.th/ดีลท่องเที่ยว/yasothon-1516/)

  1. Phi Ta Khon: The Ghost Ball Festival (July)

For a truly unique experience, don’t miss the Phi Ta Khon Festival in Dan Sai district. Participants dress up in elaborate (and sometimes grotesque) costumes meant to resemble ghosts and evil spirits. They then parade through the streets, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. While it might seem spooky, the festival is actually meant to celebrate the spirits of those who have passed away.

  • What to Expect: Phi Ta Khon Festival in Dan Sai district is a unique spectacle where participants dress as ghosts and spirits in elaborate costumes. Despite its eerie appearance, the festival is a joyful celebration of community and tradition.
  • How to Get There: Visitors can travel to Dan Sai by bus from Bangkok or neighboring provinces, enjoying scenic views of the Thai countryside along the way.

(Source: https://www.thaipost.net/tac/travel-news/389944/)

  1. Wing Kwai: The Buffalo Racing Extravaganza (November)

In Chonburi, witness the unusual and exciting Wing Kwai Festival or the Buffalo Racing Festival. Trained buffaloes will be guided down a muddy track, cheered on by enthusiastic crowds.  There’s more to the festival than just racing; expect buffalo beauty contests, parades and a chance to experience rural Thai culture.

  • What to Expect: The Wing Kwai Festival in Chonburi showcases traditional buffalo races, beauty contests, and cultural parades. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience rural Thai culture and witness the excitement of buffalo racing.
  • How to Get There: Chonburi is easily accessible by bus or train from Bangkok, making it convenient for travelers to attend the festival.

(Source: https://thai.tourismthailand.org/Events-and-Festivals/ประเพณีวิ่งควาย-จังหวัดชลบุรี)

These are just a few of the many incredible festivals Thailand has to offer. So, pick your favourite, pack your bags and get ready to experience the magic of Thailand firsthand.

Notes:

Thailand has a very accessible transportation, main ways to reach all these festivals in Bangkok and outside is by van, bus or train. For more information or to book tickets, check these links below:

https://12go.asia/en

https://dticket.railway.co.th/DTicketPublicWeb/home/Home

Don’t let your Thailand adventure be limited to these five fantastic festivals.  Do explore further and plan your unforgettable experience on www.myrehat.com. You can also explore other travel articles and discover a treasure trove of other cultural events for your next holiday. 

We’ll guide you through the best times to visit, insider tips to navigate the festivities and must-see cultural experiences in many destinations you won’t want to miss!

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