October 4, 2016
Festivals Across the Magical Kingdom of Thailand
Annual Festivals Across Thailand: The Kingdom of Thailand is awash with festivals and special events through-out the year, from national celebrations featuring the heartwarming Loy Krathong Festival in November, to the riotous Songkran Festival at the start of the Buddhist New Year in April. Then there are the unique local festivals, that have in most cases been running for centuries in this most diverse of nations. Listed here are the biggest and best from all across the country
January (มกราคม – MÁ-GA-RA-KHOM)
While the Kingdom will celebrate with the rest of the world the beginning of a new year, it will also celebrate with equal relish the Chinese New Year in February and its own Buddhist New Year, that of the wet and wild Songkran Festival. For a full list of what to find in the way of festivals in January click here
Weather: January is one of the best (and hence most popular) months of the year to visit Thailand with favourable weather conditions throughout the country.
Northern Thailand is likely to be cool and dry, enjoying a refreshing breeze: perfect conditions for trekking in the Golden Triangle region and cycling around the Chiang Mai countryside (avg temp: 20-24°C). Evening temperatures in the far north can be a little chilly during February so it’s worth packing a light jumper. Bangkok is also dry although warmer due in part to its lower altitude. Temperatures are expected to hover in the high 20’s°C throughout the month. The Island Of Koh Chang experiences its best of weather around this time of the year, the days are warm and the night time temperatures are a good few degrees cooler
If you are planning to visit Khao Sok National Park, in southern Thailand, exploring the rainforest and sharing time with the resident Asian elephants, January is one of the driest months of the year, however being the rainforest, showers can be experienced even during dry season.
In the south, conditions on the beaches are similar from one coast to the other, however whilst on the west coast beaches rainfall this month is rare, the east coast beaches such as Koh Samui & Koh Pha Ngan may experience the odd short shower, especially at the beginning of the month as the wet season draws to an end. On both coasts you can enjoy a cooling breeze, helping to keep the temperatures more moderate than later in the year (avg temp: 26-29°C). Dry conditions and warm sea temperatures in January are also favourable for diving off the west coast (around Phuket, Khao Lak & Krabi).
February กุมภาพันธ์ – GOOM-PHA-PHAN
While February is as we all know the shortest month of the year, it is still brimming over with all manner of events, from the religious festivities surrounding Makha Bucha Day, to remembering fallen legends and former kings and so much more.
listed here are the biggest and best the Kingdom has to offer. The exact dates of these events are never easy to get to the bottom of…………..for all manner of reasons see our post detailing how these annual events are scheduled.
Weather: Northern Thailand is likely to be cool and dry, with little chance of rain (avg temp: 22-25°C). These favourable weather conditions make February an ideal month for the outdoor activities that the provinces are well known for.
Dry conditions can also be expected in Bangkok, although temperatures will be warmer than further to the north due in part to the city’s lower altitude, and tend to hover in the high 20’s°C.
In the south and central provinces, dry sunny weather is the order of the day with plenty of blue skies and little chance of rain. Average daily temperatures of 26-31°C can be expected. The islands of Koh Chang & Koh Kood (on the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand) may experience the occasional rain shower but these are short lived and shouldn’t deter visitors to these islands. The Gulf of Thailand also provides favourable diving conditions, with good underwater visibility and water temperatures around 27°C.
March มีนาคม – MEE-NA-KHOM
While the month falls in the middle of two New Years, with the Chinese New Year falling in February and the Buddhist New Year ‘Songkran’ taking place in April, March still does not let up and there are a multitude of glorious festivals right across the country to immerse your-self within. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here
Weather: Temperatures will now be starting to rise throughout Thailand, and this is most often felt in Chiang Mai and the north of the country where the cooler winter months make way for the start of summer and daytime temperatures can hit 35°C. High temperatures and little chance of rain can also be expected in Bangkok and central Thailand, making sightseeing hard work, so plan for shorter experiences rather than all-day visits.
March and April you may witness the effects of ‘slash and burn’ farming used throughout Asia. New ground is cleared in February and, once dry, any wood and brush not required is burnt. Fires are lit across the country – but are particularly prevalent in the north and north-east of the country – and these can create a hazy effect at times.
Predominantly dry weather continues on the eastern Islands of Koh Chang, although humidity levels are high and increasing temperatures can hit 30-32°C.
In the south, dry, sunny weather is the order of the day with plenty of blue skies and little chance of rain. Average daily temperatures of 26-31°C can be expected, with the west coast beaches of Phuket, Khao Lak & Krabi marginally warmer than Koh Samui and the east coast beaches. Favourable diving conditions continue in the Gulf of Thailand, with a good chance of spotting manta rays and whale sharks during March.
April เมษายน- ME-SǍ-YON
April is in the main all about the one national (crazy) festival that is Songkran, the dates are supposedly the same across the Kingdom, 13-15th April, but many of the provinces will have a local ‘Songkran Festival’, where the dates, at times names and periods of festivals may vary. (See our list of the biggest Songkran events across Thailand). For more on the history, spiritual meaning and the rules, (yep you may not believe it but the festival has its own set of rules), in what is the world’s largest water fight, see our post Wet and wild in Thailand. For a full list of all the other major festivals in this month click here
Weather: March and April you may witness the effects of ‘slash and burn’ farming used throughout Asia. New ground is cleared in February and, once dry, any wood and brush not required is burnt. Fires are lit across the country – but are particularly prevalent in the north and north-east of the country – and these can create a hazy effect at times. Temperatures throughout Thailand in April can be summed up in two words – hot and very hot– with average temperatures frequently in the high 30°C’s. The heat in Bangkok and central Thailand (around Kanchanaburi) can be particularly oppressive, making sightseeing hard work, so plan for shorter experiences rather than all-day visits.
To avoid the heat, head south and east, where temperatures are slightly cooler (avg temp: 29-34°C). Rain showers expected on the west coast beaches of Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi, especially as the month progresses. The east coast also enjoys more favourable dive conditions than the west coast this month, with good underwater visibility and the possibility of spotting whale sharks around Koh Tao and Koh Samui. Koh Chang in the east still has good snorkeling and the coral reefs are at their best around April
May พฤษภาคม – PRÉUT-SA-PHA-KHOM
While Songkran takes centre stage in the Kingdom every April, the month of May is slightly less manic and is more about the Royal Family, Buddhism, agriculture shows and the manic arms race that takes place across the Northeast of the country every- year. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here.
Weather: May sees a welcome drop in temperature throughout the country, although highs of 33-34°C are not unusual, and most (but not all) regions experience a notable rise in rainfall, albeit low and sporadic initially. This has changed in the last 2-3 years and the rainfall has been far less in Central Thailand, than in previous years. Despite the possibility of rain, May is a great month to visit Thailand as plenty of sunshine is still expected and the visitor numbers are far lower than in previous months.
June มิถุนายน – MÍ-THÙ-NA-YON
There are dozens of festivals across the magical Kingdom of Thailand in June, listed here are just a few of the less known and on the whole less flamboyant events, while possibly not on the radar of most visitors they are certainly worth visiting if you are in the neighbourhood and want to get closer to the real Thailand. For a full list of the major and minor festivals in this month click here.
Weather: Whilst far from guaranteed, (the rainy season in Central and eastern provinces is getting later and later every year) there is a reasonable chance of rain throughout much of Thailand in June. Temperatures remain high (avg temp: 29-31°C) and, at least initially, the rain is likely to come in the form of short downpours, with periods of good weather expected throughout much of the day.
In the north and central regions, the rainfall begins to bring some green-ness back to the hills and rural countryside, and some depth to the rivers and waterfalls, although slightly muddy conditions can be expected if you plan on trekking in the Golden Triangle region.
Weather patterns in the south and on the islands are similar to May. Khao Sok National Park is warm and wet, although humidity levels have dropped slightly. There is a high chance of short lived showers on Koh Chang and Koh Kood as there is on the west coast beaches of Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi. For guaranteed sunshine, Hua Hin & Cha Am and the east coast beaches of Koh Samui, Khanom and Koh Pha Ngan are the pick of the bunch, with little, if any, rain expected. Favourable dive conditions continue around Koh Tao and the east coast islands.
July กรกฎาคม – GA-RÁ-GA-DA-KHOM
Here in the Land of Smiles, festivals are a way of life, with any number taking place at any one time, all across the country. Getting to the bottom of the actual dates is never easy, with the events determined by all manner of calendars and other strange and wonderful reasoning. see more. July is a month of Buddhist beliefs the Monks retreat and spirits of the dead. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here.
Weather: Temperatures drop yet again slightly throughout Thailand in July (avg temp: 28 – 29°C), and as the month progresses, rainfall will increase with short daily showers likely to become more prolonged as you move towards August, and some of the heaviest rains of the year.
In Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle region, heavy rains will make trekking hard work; however the countryside is more green and lush, and the rivers and waterfalls are in full flow.
In terms of beaches, the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood are particularly wet in July, which like its northern provincial cousins, the rain brings out the best in the flora and its many waterfalls Further south, rough seas may be experienced off the west coast and the beaches of Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak have a much higher chance of heavy downpours than the east coast beaches of Koh Samui, Khanom and Koh Pha Ngan, which are significantly drier and are still enjoying prolonged sunny spells. July is a particularly popular month for diving around Koh Tao.
August สิงหาคม – SǏNG-HǍ-KHOM
While July is undoubtedly the month of candles and Buddhist lent, August is the month for the deceased to return to this realm. Along with the much celebrated Queens Birthday (the same day is celebrated as Mothers Day) and a host of Food Fairs. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here
Weather: Rainfall across much of Thailand is at its peak in August, with Chiang Mai the north and north east typically receiving their heaviest rainfall of the year. In the more rural northern regions, such as Nan and Chiang Kham, the rain can make travelling around fairly difficult. Temperatures continue to drop slightly although humidity levels will remain high (avg temp: 26-30 °C).
Rain can be expected almost every day on the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood, and the west coast beaches of Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi will also be experiencing their wettest month of the year. As with previous months, Hua Hin & Cha Am, and the east coast beaches of Koh Samui, Khanom and Koh Phan Ngan are enjoying drier conditions with plenty of sunshine, before the rains arrive in September.
September กันยายน – GAN-YA-YON
September in Thailand is possibly the quietest month in the year for festivals, but that said it is still has so much to offer from the sporting events, you can take part in, to those best left to others. The Kingdom is also awash with ancient spiritual events that in some cases celebrate the dead as they return to this realm to visit their relatives. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here
Weather: Country-wide, September tends to be the wettest month of the year in Thailand with all corners of the country receiving rain in varying amounts. Temperatures continue to decline gradually throughout the month (avg temp: 25- 9°C) and thunder storms are not unusual as the humidity reaches its peak.
Beach conditions are generally poor with heavy rain and rough seas experienced on the west coast (Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak) and increasingly heavy rains in Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan on the south east coast. If you feel lucky then the resorts of Hua Hin & Cha Am are likely to offer the best beach conditions across the country.
September is one of the wettest months Koh Chang, so take suitable waterproof clothing if you plan to visit this month. Don’t be put off by the rain: average temperatures during the month are a comfortable 25-26°C, the rainforest is green & lush, and there is more chance of spotting wildlife.
It’s not all bad news: visitor numbers are (unsurprisingly) far lower than in previous months and low season hotel deals can be had.
October ตุลาคม – TÙH-LA-KHOM
October is undoubtedly the festive month in the Thai calendar, with heaps of events marking the most important four days; the end Of Buddhist lent, which is celebrated right across the Kingdom and goes by a multitude of names. The Vegetarian Festivals kicks off in early October and is celebrated across the Kingdom in communities with a large Thai Chinese community. Then there is the start of the nationwide Kathin festivities, last but not least, are the numerous events taking place through-out the country, celebrating the Walking dead, which starts with Sart Thai Day.
Combine these with the many other events that take place this month and you soon realize, why this is the Nation’s busiest month for festivals. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here
Weather: October is a month of change, although when that change will actually arrive is anyone’s guess! The rains should start to recede and the humidity levels fall as the month progresses. Temperatures are also declining as October marks the start of ‘winter’ in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and northern Thailand (avg temp: 24-27°C).
When it comes to Thailand’s beaches, the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood are experiencing the wettest conditions, although rainfall is significantly less than in previous months. Don’t be put off by the rain: average temperatures during the month are a comfortable 25-26°C, the rainforest is green & lush, and there is more chance of spotting wildlife. Further south, average temperatures are a comfortable 25-27°C, but rain levels are still high on both sides of the peninsula. However, drier days and blue skies for all the islands, are just round the corner.
November พฤศจิกายน – PRÉUT-SA-JÌ-GA-YON
November is when everyone, gets to join in possibly the Kingdom’s most colourful and moving of festivals, that of Loy Krathong, but that’s not all that happens this month, there are a whole host of other festivals across the land that celebrate the uniqueness of its people their faith and their many cultures. For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here.
Weather: By November, rain is becoming a distant memory for much of Thailand, especially later in the month. Humidity is now also out of the picture as temperatures remain relatively low (by Thai standards).
November is a good time of year to visit Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and northern Thailand as the region enjoys predominantly dry, sunny days with pleasant temperatures conducive to outdoor activities. Evening temperatures in the north can be a little chilly so it’s worth packing a light jumper. Central Thailand is also experiencing favourable weather conditions making November a good month for sightseeing in and around Kanchanaburi.
For beach lovers, the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood are the pick of the bunch in November, with very little rain expected and average temperatures in the region of 28°C. Hua Hin and Cha Am also enjoy plenty of sunshine and minimal rainfall this month. Further south the east coast resorts of Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan are in the midst of wet season, so are best avoided in favour of Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi on the west of the peninsula.
December ธันวาคม – THAN-WA-KHOM
There are always a multitude of Festivals running at any one time across Thailand, the majority of which encapsulate the true essence of this truly remarkable country, it can be felt in the warmth of the welcome, you can expect from its people, in the reverence the Thai’s have for their religion and their monarchy, and without doubt the fun the people find, in the most simple of things. Thainess is also about tantalizing all of your senses, in the noise and vibrancy of the music and dance, the amazing colours that are every-where and of course the aroma and textures of the Thai food, all of which combined allow you to become part of the “Real Kingdom of Thailand.” For a full list of the major festivals in this month click here
Weather: December is one of the best months of the year to travel in Thailand: expect minimal rainfall, favourable temperatures and plenty of sunshine.
Low humidity levels and average temperatures of 26°C in Bangkok and central Thailand are ideal for sightseeing. The north of the country also enjoys favourable weather conditions for trekking in the Golden Triangle region and cycling around the Chiang Mai countryside, with temperatures slightly cooler than in Bangkok (avg temp: 23-25°C).
Sun seekers have the pick of virtually all Thailand’s beaches in December with daytime highs of 31°C not uncommon and blue skies the order of the day. The only region to see much rainfall is the south east (Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Khanom) although plenty of sunshine punctuates the showers. Dry conditions and warm sea temperatures off the west coast make December an ideal month for diving around Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi and the eastern islands of Koh Chang/Koh Hood.
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