Thailand's Public Holdays and Festivals
There are many festivals and public holidays in Thailand which can be frustrating for the traveller as shops and travel agents close down for public holidays and resorts fill up with holiday-making Thais. However some of these can be quite a spectacle and a tourist attraction in themselves. The exact dates tend to vary from year to year but tourist information facilities should be able to tell you when specific festivals will be held.
Chinese New Year: This is a nationside three-day festival often celebrated with fireworks in Jan/Feb (the exact date tends to change each year).
That Phanom Festival : yearly homage to Phra That Phanom in the north-east province of Nakhon Phanom attracting pilgrims from nearby countries as well as Thailand.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Magha Puja is held on the full moon to commemorate Buddha preaching to enlightened monks. The festival culminates with celebrants walking round the main chapel of every wat holding candles.
Phra Nakhon Khiri Fair: This festival is a celebration of Phetchaburi's history lasting a week.
Asean Barred Ground Dove Festival: This festival is a contest for singing doves and is held in Yala in the first week of March.
Bangkok International Jewellery Fair: This is a gem and jewellery trade show held in some of Bangkok's larger hotels.
Phanom Rung Festival is held the last week of March. There is procession up Phanom Rung Hill with sound and light shows at night to celebrate restoration work done in Phanom Rung Historical Park in Buriram Province.
Trang Food Festival: Held at Somdet Phra Srinakharin Park promotes local cuisine with a variety of delicious food and specialties.
Chakri Day is a public holiday on 6 April to commemorate Rama I, founder of the Chakri Day.
Songkran is the Thai New Year held from 13 to 15 April. Everyone chucks water around and smears each other with mud. Water pistols are sold in Bangkok for this event.
International Labour Day is a public holiday held 1 May.
Coronation Day is a public holiday held 5 May.
Visakha Bucha: One of the most important dates on the Buddhist calendar celebrating and commemorating the date of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and passing on.
World Durian Festival: Celebrated mid May for two weeks, this festival includes fruit-decorated floats and beauty queens.
Mid-May to mid-June
Phi Ta Khon Festival is an animist/Buddhist celebration held in Loei Province.
Rocket Festival. Villagers in the northeast make rockets out of bamboo and fire them into the sky to bring rain.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held at start of rice-planting season with an ancient Brahman ritual at Sanam Luang in Bangkok.
Hua Hin Jazz festival featuring Thai and international performers, generally this Thailand festival is held by the seaside at Hua Hin.
Asalha Bucha commemorates Buddha's first sermon.
Khao Phansa is a public holiday beginning Buddhist period of 'Lent'.
Queen's birthday is a public holiday held on 12 August.
Rambutan and Thai Fruit Festival: Celebrates the local food produce.
King's Cup and Princess' Cup Boat Races: This festival is a showcase of beautifully decorated boats from all around the south competing at Nong Yai, Tambon Na Cha-ang, and other places.
Thailand International Swan-Boat Races are held in Bangkok in mid-September.
Narathiwat Fair is a festival lasting a week celebrating local culture in Narathiwat Province.
Vegetarian Festival is a nine-day celebration held late September to early October in Trang and Phuket observed by devout Chinese Buddhists who only eat vegetarian (no meat, seafood or eggs) during this period.
Kathin is held mid-October to mid-November at the end of Buddhist Lent.
Chulalongkorn Day is a public holiday held 23 October to commemorate King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
Ok Phansa: A nationwide celebration of the reappearance of Budhha after his time preaching in heaven.
Loy Krathong is held on a full-moon night. Small baskets or boats containing flowers, incense and candles are floated on bodies of water in Thailand. This festival is sometimes said to be one of the loveliest of Thailand's national festivals.
Surin Annual Elephant Roundup is held the third weekend of November.
River Kwai Bridge Week is held late November to early December in Kanchanaburi.
The Golden Mount Fair is Thailand's largest temple fair in Bangkok.
King's Birthday is a public holiday held 5 December.
Constitution Day is a public holiday held 10 December.