June 4, 2015
Festivals across Thailand in July
Revised April 2017
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
Below are a selection of events in Thailand, with links to the relevant Wikipedia web page, where you can find details on how to get to the province along with information on what else to do when you get there.
The date and time of the following festivals may change as a result of the weather or postponement by the organisers of the events. To confirm the dates and times….. Call the Tourism Authority of Thailand 1672 or 0 2250 5500.
For more on what’s happening each month click on any of the following
Candle Festivals across Thailand
When: July 2016
Where: Mainly North East Thailand
Candle festivals take place right across North East Thailand almost exclusively in July each year, prior to the 3 month Buddhist lent. It is believed the modern candle festivities have been taking place annually for over 120 years.
Candles make up an important part of most Thai merit making and no more so on Asanha Bucha Day and the start of the Buddhist Lent period, both typically held in July each year, this is also the traditional time for preparation for the rainy season. Merit making at this time of year comes with donating items for the personal use of the monks at local temple, who in turn will not leave the temples during the 3 months of Lent, these gifts include such things as clothes, food and candles.
This form of ‘merit making’ was and is still the core event of many village celebrations especially during Asanha Bucha Day, when the giving of candles and their use in the evening Candle Light Procession, the Wian Tian, takes center stage. During the Wian Tian, believers will walk three times around a Temple in a clockwise direction, carrying a lighted candle, it is this ancient religious event that forms the bases of these now major festivals.
For more on the different locations and the history of the candle festival click here.
Kathu Culture Street Festival
Where: Kathu District, Phuket
The 7th annual Kathu Festival, or the ‘Kathu Street Culture Festival’ as it is known by the people of Kathu, is a relatively new festival on the Phuket calendar. Kathu is one of the 3 districts of Phuket Island, the other 2 being Muang and Thalang. Kathu district includes Patong Beach and Kamala Beach.
From its humble beginnings the people of this once sleepy village who’s main income was once derived from rice farming and later tin mining, now offer one of the regions fastest growing and most vibrant of festivals,’ show casing as it does its tin mining past along with the local peoples Chinese ethnic background.
The event includes both Chinese and Thai influenced local treats (many of which are vegetarian dishes), lion dances, martial arts, exhibitions, traditional dancers and colourful parades where you will find the local people dressed in their best Chinese-style clothing as well as Phuket traditional costumes.
Kek River Rafting Festival
Where: Phitsanulok. Lower Northern Thailand
If you need your adrenaline fix then try this river for rafting. During the rainy season (don’t let the rain put you off it never lasts long and you will be wet anyway!) nature brings new life to the river that originates from the Phetchabun mountain range and the rapids become a wonderful (if at time scary) joyride. The full course is 8 kilometres long and takes around 2-3 hours, the course is divided into 1 – 5 difficulty levels, with 17 rapids.
Pang Sida Butterfly Watching Festival
Where: Pang Sida National Park Sa Kaeo. East Central Thailand
See more than 300 species of butterfly, while camping and trekking in the National Park visit the butterfly exhibition and play in the Pang Sida waterfall, it is also here as soon as the ground becomes touched by water butterflies in their hundreds will come to feed on the minerals that are released.
Cape Panwa Phuket Race Week
When: 19 – 23rd July 2017
Where: Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket
4 days of sailing and five nights of beach side parties at the 5-star Cape Panwa Hotel, at Asia’s most exciting and fastest growing regatta. With 500 plus sailors and friends expected to participate again this year.
Pattaya International Marathon
Where: Pattaya Central Thailand
The 26th King’s Cup Pattaya Marathon. The Pattaya International Marathon is one of Kingdom’s premier marathons and arguably its biggest attended, attracting a field of contestants from all over the world. Runners compete in three races: a full marathon (42 Km), a half marathon (21 Km) and a quarter marathon (10 Km).
Kaeng Hin Phoeng White-water Rafting Festival
Where: Kaeng Hin Phoeng, Prachinburi
White-water Rafting at Kaeng Hin Phoeng Festival is an annual event and during the rainy season, the water level is practically high, providing a faster flow, cleaner rapids, and generally less hazardous conditions. Through-out the event, there are a number of rafting competition.
Tak Bat Dok Mai Festival
When: 20th July 2016
Where: Phra Phutthabat District Saraburi
This annual event is a special and unique merit-making time for the local people of Phra Phutthabat District, who attend the temple of Wat Phra Phutthabat early in the morning to offer alms to the monks. In the afternoon the people will attend the temple of Wat Phra Phutthabat Ratchaworamahawihan, where they will offer the monks ‘Globba flowers’ that only grow in the province during the Buddhist lent period.
These herb like flowers which come in yellow, white and occasionally purple colours are also called “The Flower of Buddhist Lent”. It is believed that by offering purple flowers one will receive more blessings than those that offer other colours. The Flower of Buddhist Lent was only listed as a new species of plant in the world in the International Flowers Fair in July 2001
While the monks are walking to take the flowers to pay homage to the Lord Buddha, people wait along the route with bowls of clean water in which are floated flowers, they pour the water onto the feet of the monks as a means of washing away their own sins.
Buddhist Lent is from the first waning moon day of the 8th Lunar month to the 15th waxing moon day of the 11th Lunar month.
Where: Surat Thani
The Rambutan with its strange hairy skin and pale fruit is celebrated once a year by the people of Surat Thani, who in turn have been growing this deliciously sweet gem for almost 100 years. The fair is a blaze of colourful displays of local handicrafts, fruits and ornamental plants and an equally vibrant parades of floats bearing more of the same. There are also demonstrations from trained monkeys used to harvest coconuts along with a traditional Thai Fair including games and rides.
Dok Krachiao Blooming Festival
It is here during the rainy season when the blossoms of the wild Krachiao flowers (Siam Tulip), cover vast areas of these two national parks in a vibrant purplish pink colour. The festival also includes a selection of nature tours and treks around the national parks along with local performances and music concerts. There will be a vast array of booths selling local indigenous handy crafts and delicious food from the Chaiyaphum province. The best time to visit the fields of flowers is early in the morning when the dew is still on the ground and the early morning rays bounce of the just washed blooms.
Asanha Bucha Day
When: 8th July 2017
Asanha Bucha Day (Wan Asanha Bucha or Dharma Day) is an annual Theravada Buddhist holiday and is sometimes reffered to as “Buddha’s Birthday” is held on the full moon day of the eighth lunar month. The day is a celebration of Lord Buddha’s first sermon given to five disciples to introduce the middle way, the noble eight fold path, and the four noble truth. The day is characterised with candlelight processions. For more on the day click here
Wan Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent Day)
The day following Asanha Bucha is another significant day which celebrates Wan Khao Phansa, sometimes reffered to as Buddhist Lent Day (พรรษา ‘phansa’ or วรรษา ‘watsa’). The day is the start of the three-month annual retreat, which takes place during the wet season, and is observed by all Theravada Buddhist practitioners (90% of Thai’s are Buddhists). Also known as “Lent Commencement Day” or Vassa, both literally mean “rains retreat”. The day marks the beginning of the Buddhist Lent and where all Buddhist monks retreat to the temples. It is an auspicious time for Buddhist ordinations as it marks a period of spiritual renewal and is a time devoted to study and meditation. Buddhist monks remain within the temple grounds and do not venture out for a period of three months starting from this day.
Sukhothai Mini-Light and Sound show
When: 7th July 2017
Where: Sukhothai. Lower Northern Thailand
The former Thai capital city of Sukhothai will once again present a series of the mini-light and sound presentation with one show per month scheduled between April and September 2017. The show consists of classical performances and fireworks display.
The show takes place at Wat Sa Si inside Sukhothai Historical Park and starts at 19:30 Hrs. on Friday 7 April, 5 May, 2 June, 7 July, 7 September and 1 September. There will also be a special performance on 12 August which marks Thailand’s national Mother’s Day. Best of all its FREE.
TAT Sukhothai Office is also encouraging tourists to visit Rim Yom market, in the Kong Krailat district of the province, which is open on every first Friday and Saturday of the month. Here visitors can sample a wide variety of local dishes and enjoy shopping for some of the local products of Sukhothai.
Sukhothai, which literally means “dawn of happiness”, is located 439.7 km north of Bangkok or about four-five hours by car or 1 hour 15 minutes by air.
Laplae Durian Festival
When: Believed to be mid July
The festival in Laplae is the largest event of the year for this small, little visited district in Thailand’s mountainous northern interior. Orchards here are planted on hillsides so steep farmers use pulley systems to transport baskets of durian across the mountain gorges.
Lablae means “the hidden city,” and this little corner might have remained in obscurity except for their durian. The region has been making headlines for years because their durians lack the famous offensive odor. Although Thai scientists have been trying to breed an odorless durian for years, these durians just naturally popped up in somebody’s yard.
Highlights of the festival include tasting the nearly odor-free durians and attending a rowdy a contest in which contestants prepare a durian version of a Thai pounded salad – som tam – while dancing to a lively traditional band. The cacophony and flying stone pestles feels dangerous enough without watching out for the wickedly thorny 10 lb fruits piled around.
Betong Fruits Festival
When: 22 -29th July 2017
The Annual Betong Fruit Festival is BACK ! Bringing us another chance to venture to the Land of Never-ending Excitement, the Amazing Sights & Sound of Thailand. Discover Thailand’s best Seasonal fruits during the fruit festival, especially the famous Durians of Betong. The event is a time for the locals to go out of their way and spare no expense dressing up for the parade.
Betong is the southernmost town of Thailand and, located on the border with the Malaysian state of Perak, is popular with tourists from Malaysia. The name Betong is actually the Thai corruption of Betung, its original Malay name means ‘bamboo’.
We will aim to up date this post as more festivals come to light and dates of the festivals here become known.
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