BY Guinness Bear

Top 10 Best Thai Festivals You Must See in Thailand

Are you a bit of a festival freak, gala geek, or even carnival crazy? 🧔 Then you are in luck, as Thailand has some of the most extravagant festivals yearly that attract many local and foreign tourists.

Thailand's festivals are an intricate part of what makes the nation tick. They are an example of how their colorful culture and ways penetrate every part of life in the Kingdom. 

Here are the top 10 essential Thai festivals you should not miss on your tour for once in a lifetime experience 🧔


#10 Full Moon Parties at Koh Phangan

Full Moon of Every Month through the Year
Where: Koh Phangan (Koh Phangan) Island

In 1985, a group of tourists found out about the beauty of the full moon in Koh Phangan and spent a night partying. From that moment on, Haad Rin cove becomes a party beach every month on the night of the full moon 🧔 The full moon party kicks off at dusk and carries on through the night, making the beach one of the biggest open-air nightclubs till dawn. It receives more than 30,000 visitors. The local and international DJs play loud music, and bars serve drinks and cocktails all night. If you are in Thailand, you definitely don't want to miss this crazy full-moon party. You can get glow-in-the-dark body paint and a drinks bucket, a tradition.

If you are a party freak, this is the sort of party you have been waiting for and should be on your bucket list, which makes it one of the top 10 Thai festivals 🥇 


#9 Chinese New Year

First Day of the Chinese Lunar Year between January and February
Where: Chinatown of Bangkok

Thailand has a large Chinese population, and the Chinese New Year celebration here is a big festival. The main celebrations are held in the Chinatown of Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok). It is the beauty of Thailand that different communities live together in harmony and celebrate all the festivals together 🧔 The streets of Chinatown are decorated with traditional Chinese lanterns and filled with crowds of worshipers and dragon dancers. The Chinese new year is celebrated between January and February, which marks the first day of the Chinese lunar year. In Bangkok, during Chinese New Year celebrations, you can enjoy discount sales in shopping malls, promotional offers, and cultural performances 🏅


#8 Phuket Vegetarian Festival

9th Lunar Month of the Chinese Calendar
Where: Phuket Town 

One of the most covered Thailand events in media terms is the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 🧔 The festival has become infamous because of the strange acts of self-mutilation that go on, which makes this one of the goriest festivals in the world. In Phuket Town, for 10 days in October every year, the festival deals with the darker side of the spirit and supernatural world. 

Popularized in men’s magazines such as FHM and Maxim, photos of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival usually center around Thai men sticking objects into their bodies, such as metal poles, machine guns, and even hooks, which takes place in the last couple of days of the event. Over the 10 days, the streets are closed down in the evening, and there are lots of vegetarian food stalls, music shows, and all manner of carnival things taking place. 

If you are in Phuket in October, we would strongly recommend you head over to Phuket Town with your camera in hand to enjoy the fun in one of the best festivals here 🏅


#7 Lopburi Monkey Banquet

Last Sunday of November Every Year
Where: Phra Prang Sam Yot temple, Lopburi 

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! 🧔 Lopburi is located 150 km north of Bangkok and is home to the unique Lopburi Monkey Banquet held each November at the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi.

The temple is overrun with monkeys, so each year, they organize the most enormous monkey buffet the world has ever seen! The banquet is for 3,000 monkeys and combines 4 tons of fruit, vegetable, and other edibles. It’s like Mad Hatter’s tea party with more intelligent conversation and better manners. The temple grounds are usually a den of tranquility, but not during this unique festival. Do be careful if you reach for some food, or primates might swarm you! It sounds like an all-you-can-eat Thai BBQ buffet! 

When it comes to festivals, nobody does it like in Thailand 🥇


#6 Chonburi Buffalo Racing Festival 

Every October after the Rainy Season
Where: Chonburi City 

I'm not sure about you, but I have run away from a few buffaloes in my time 🧔, but have never ridden on one. The Chonburi Buffalo Racing Festival might seem like a fun and friendly Thailand event, and it is, but do not underestimate how seriously the buffalo breeders and contestants take these races. The racing has been taking place for over 100 years and is a colorful spectacle that attracts many local spectators and Western onlookers from Bangkok and Pattaya. The races are fun; there are lots of food and drink stalls, live concerts, and much more that make this a fascinating experience 🏅


#5 Rocket Festival (Bun Bang Fai)

Full Moon in May
Where: Phaya Thaen Public Park, Yasothon

Bun Bang Fai, or the Rocket Festival, is another excellent way to experience the rich culture and tradition of native Thailand 🧔 The rocket festival is celebrated in the northeastern part of Thailand in Yasothon on the weekends in the middle of May, just before the start of the crop plantation period. The origins of this festival date back centuries ago, and firing the rockets into the sky means enchanting the rain gods for a good monsoon season. Visitors can enjoy dance, and music parades throughout the three-day celebrations, followed by a spectacular competition of rockets fired into the skies. This festival has become so popular that more than 50,000 visitors attend it each year, and many foreigners also take part in rocket competitions 🥇


#4 Lantern Festival (Yi Peng)

Full Moon of the 12th Lunar Month
Where: Chiang Mai 

Taking place over the same period as Loy Krathong in October and sometimes November, depending on the year, the Lantern Festival (Yi Peng) is quite possibly the most stunning in terms of aesthetics 🧔 This Thai festival takes place on the banks of the Peng River in Chiang Mai. It is a remarkable sight you must see firsthand at least once. At the festival, thousands of lanterns are released into the sky, which is a sight to behold 🏅 Bring your camera, and you will get some of the most outstanding photos imaginable. 


#3 Ghost Festival (Phi Ta Khon)

When: Weekend of the 6th Full Moon on the Lunar Calendar
Where: Dan Sai, Loei Province 

You might not believe in superstitions and ghosts, but Thai people most definitely do 🧔 This three-day festival, known as the Ghost Festival (Phi Ta Khon), takes place in Dan Sai, which is in the Loei Province in the north, about a 3-hour journey from Chiang Mai. Combining local traditions, spirituality, and a party-like atmosphere, thousands of locals visit this Thai event in masks, and it is a mixture of Buddhist and animist beliefs. This Thai festival is always held on the weekend of the 6th full moon on the lunar calendar. The festival is supposed to recreate a party that both the dead and the living would like to attend. There are lots of pageants and live music shows.

So if you want to know more about Thai superstitions and ghosts, this event is unmissable and among the top 10 festivals 🏅 


#2 Loy Krathong Thai Festival

Full Moon of the 12th Thai Month 
Where: Nationwide 

Loy Krathong is one of the most fascinating and colorful spectacles of any Thai festival held throughout the year 🧔 The festival is routinely held on the Full Moon. This is usually on the 12th month of the Lunar Calendar. It usually falls in November on the Gregorian calendar. On the evening of the festival, all stretches of water in Thailand are filled with decorative floats. They are called ‘Krathongs’ and are made from a banana tree trunk, banana leaves, and many flowers. You can buy them or make them yourself. Casting the floats out across the water signifies casting away the stresses and troubles of the past lunar year. Ready to start anew. It is an enjoyable experience 🥇 You can take part anywhere in Thailand because it’s a nationwide event.


#1 Songkran Thai New Year (Water Festival)

When: 13th to 15th of April
Where: Nationwide 

Songkran Thai New Year is the world’s biggest and most exciting water festival. The Thai festival can last a week or more, depending on the region.

When you absolutely have to drench everyone on the street and smear them in talcum powder, accept no substitutes 🧔 Songkran is Thai New Year, which is routinely held on the 13th of April and lasts 3 days in most areas. In Phuket, the water festival is just 24 hours. But it can take a week or more to unfold in places such as Pattaya, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok), and Chiang Mai. The streets will be awash with water pistol-toting badasses trying to drench you thoroughly. So make sure you are a hunter and not the hunted. Make sure you leave your valuables in your hotel safe. Or water from the pistols might not be the only kind leaking from your face. 

Being the most significant festival, it takes the top spot on my list of top 10 Thai festivals 🏆


From self-mutilation and ghostly spiritual happenings to racing buffaloes at breakneck speeds, releasing colorful lanterns to lots of monkey business and everything in between, you have never lived if you haven’t experienced a few of these unique events 🧔 Thai festivals bring together the entire nation. It is the perfect time to see the local people at their best. 

If you want to sample an authentic slice of Thai culture and life, visit one of these festivals while you are here on holiday and immerse yourself in the Thai experience 🧔

Written by
Guinness Bear

Hi, I am Guinness Bear. I am a prolific traveler and spend my days traveling across the most beautiful places and recommend it to you. So join me on my trips and enjoy every part of it.


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