Four Must-See Festivals in Thailand

Thailand is a land of vibrant culture and progressive thinking, and to truly immerse yourself in it, there are four festivals you can’t afford to miss. Be sure to mark these on your itinerary for an unforgettable experience!

by B.A.G. Travel·Mon 22 Jan 2024

Experience Thailand’s vibrant traditions and modern innovations at these captivating festivals, which stand out from the 16 public holidays celebrated yearly.Don’t settle for anything less than the best – add these festivals to your travel itinerary today!

Songkran (Thai New Year)

What is Songkran?

Songkran (Thai New Year) is celebrated on a date different from January 1st due to the traditional Thai Buddhist calendar.

When is Songkran Celebrated in Thailand?

Experience the lively Songkran festival, which runs from April 13th to April 15th (and sometimes longer!), to celebrate the Thai New Year. 

Songkran: World’s Biggest Water Fight! 

Join Thailand’s Songkran Water Festival for an unforgettable national water fight and celebration of the Thai New Year. Take advantage of the fun!

Songkran is a multi-day festival where people splash each other with water using buckets, water pistols, water balloons, and hoses. It’s a popular tourist attraction and a great opportunity to capture amazing photos and videos as it marks the Thai New Year!

What Location is Best for Songkran?

Bangkok, Chiangmai, and Phuket are the best locations for Songkran

Bangkok’s Silom Road and Khao San Road host the world’s biggest water festival, drawing over 20,000 tourists and locals! This festival features water guns, buckets of water, music festivals, and wet parties, including the S2O Songkran and SIAM Songkran festivals. It’s also one of the largest gay circuit festivals, known as GCircuit, attracting party-goers worldwide for over a decade.

Chiang Mai’s annual water festival turns the old city square into a battlefield. Locals, tourists, and children engage in water fights using guns and buckets. This festival is one of Thailand’s oldest traditions, held after visiting elders and receiving blessings at temples. The event also features Lanna heritage floats and parades, showcasing cultural dances, dresses, and floats, with performers getting splashed by viewers.

Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, offers plenty of water, sun, and big parties at Patong Beach. It’s a fantastic destination for celebrating Thai New Year, with stunning beaches and a friendly community that loves to have fun. Specifically, you’ll find great places to join in the Songkran festival celebrations around Bangla Road in Patong Beach or in Phuket Old Town.

Songkran Festival Tip # 1: During Songkran, Phuket can get extremely busy, so it is recommended to book well in advance. 

If you can’t make it to Phuket, don’t worry! Bangkok and Chiang Mai are also great places to celebrate Songkran.

Songkran Festival Tip # 2: It’s customary to get wet during Songkran, but intentionally squirting people in the eyes is disrespectful. Be considerate of older adults, children, and monks.

Yee Peng (Yi Peng)

What is Yee Peng in Thailand?

Yee Peng is a cultural festival primarily celebrated in northern Thailand, with Chiang Mai being the most popular destination for the festival. Also known as the Thailand Lantern Festival, Yee Peng is famous for releasing thousands of floating lanterns that light up the night sky. Apart from the floating lanterns, various colorful lanterns crafted by skilled artisans decorate temples, houses, and public streets, making the festival unlike any other.

Yee Peng dates back to around 800 years ago and is used to celebrate the end of the wet season and the beginning of the cooler dry season.

What is the Best Location for Yee Peng?

Chiang Mai is the best location for Yee Peng as it’s a festival primarily celebrated in northern Thailand. You can find many places around the city worth visiting to celebrate Yee Peng. If you stay near the city, you won’t need to travel far to enjoy Yee Peng. 

Major landmarks around the city worth visiting for Yee Peng include Pratu Tha Phae Gate, the Three Kings Monument, and the Narawat Bridge. All of these locations are free to visit. In addition, during Yee Peng, many festivals of lights and lanterns happen a few days before the full moon. 

Why is Yee Peng worth Experiencing?

Millions of travelers visiting Chiang Mai each year agree that experiencing the Yee Peng festival is well worth it. This festival provides a glimpse into the ancient Lanna culture, celebrated enthusiastically for about a week. The Yee Peng lantern festival is a haven for photographers, with thousands of floatable lanterns being released into the night sky. This festival is a truly memorable experience!

Want to attend Yee Peng this Year?

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is a well-known festival in Thailand, often called the “Thai Festival of Lights.”1 Interestingly, it is celebrated at the same time as Yee Peng, which means you can experience two cultural festivals at the same place in Chiang Mai. This is great news for tourists who want to immerse themselves in Thai culture and tradition.

The Loy Krathong festival is believed to have originated about 800 years ago in Sukhothai, which is located in central Thailand. It is a well-known festival that attracts many visitors who come to witness the act of floating small lantern-like objects, called krathongs, with burning candles down a river or a lake. This festival is similar to the Yee Peng lantern festival, but people float them on the water instead of floating lanterns in the air. The festival is a way of paying respect to the Goddess of water and expressing gratitude while praying for a bright future.

Loy Krathong Day is an annual festival celebrated in Thailand on the Full-Moon Day of the Twelfth Lunar Month. 

Where is the Best Place to Experience Loy Krathong?

Loy Krathong is a famous festival celebrated all over Thailand. However, if you had to choose only one place to experience it, Bangkok would be hard to beat! Every year, Bangkok puts on a dazzling display to celebrate Loy Krathong, and you can expect to see many thousands of lanterns (krathongs) floating down the Chao Phraya River, resembling a highway of candles in the dark of night.

To make the most of your experience, it’s best to arrive by dusk, as the krathongs are usually lit as soon as the sun starts to go down. Remember to bring your camera!

If you’re looking for the best spot to view the Loy Krathong celebrations, I recommend the Krung Thep Bridge in Bangkok due to its central location and Chao Phraya River crossing. During this time, the city will also be full of celebrations throughout different areas and zones, so expect plenty of fireworks, music, and traditional dances. Being in the heart of this mega-city during an event like Loy Krathong will help you maximize your experience.

Thailand Pride Month

Why Thailand Pride?

Pride festivals serve as a platform to recognize, unite, and move forward together for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and the wider society. Pride Month is a significant effort towards achieving this goal in Thailand, featuring educational, enjoyable, and supportive events.

When is Pride celebrated in Thailand?

In June, numerous countries across the globe celebrate Pride Month, which means there will be various Pride festivals and events held during this time. However, Thailand is now also striving to establish its annual Thailand Pride Festival in November after welcoming its first event in 2022.

Why is Thailand Pride Worth Experiencing?

Over the years, an increasing number of people have participated in Pride Month celebrations worldwide. Thailand has been a popular destination for gay travelers and retirees for a long time, and Pride Month is the busiest time of the year. Thailand recognizes a “third gender” in its society, and this fact is widely accepted across the country. Therefore, Pride Month and Thailand Pride Festival are well-received in the “Land of Smiles.” Besides the typical rainbow flags and colorful outfits, visitors can enjoy cultural performances, delicious food and meet great people. Additionally, the breathtaking scenery and pleasant weather make it worth every penny.

Where is the Best Location for Pride Month in Thailand?

The best location to experience Pride Month in Thailand is Bangkok.

Bangkok, the largest city in Thailand, is consistently ranked as the world’s top travel destination city. If you plan to participate in the Pride month festivals, expect a massive turnout, as the town is very LGBT+-friendly. The Pride parade takes place on Silom Road and is now officially recognized as one of Bangkok’s 12 monthly festivals.

Are you ready to celebrate? 

Check out B.A.G. Travel’s posted global tour events, or contact us for a customized group tour.


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