September 21, 2016
Festivals and events across the Kingdom in November 2016
In the wake of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing, several provinces have either cancelled or delayed indefinitely tourist events and festivals. Among them were the Illuminated Boat Procession in Nakhon Phanopm (Cancelled), and the Amazing Elephant festival in Surin (postponed). We will update this post once more information is forth coming.
There are a multitude of festivals across Thailand every month, listed below are just a few of these at times magical, spiritual and always fun events that encapsulate the very essence of the people of the Kingdom and its long and colourful past.
Getting to the bottom of the actual dates of any one event is never easy, with the dates determined by all manner of calendars and other strange and wonderful reasoning. see more
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 Tel: 662 250 5500, TAT Contact Center: 1672
For more on what’s happening each month click on any of the following
Loy Krathong 2016
When: 14th November 2016
Where: Through-out the Kingdom of Thailand
An annual Festival that lights up the water, the sky and your heart.
Loy Krathong (or Loi Krathong), is a colourful, joyful festival and is held every year on the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai lunar calendar. The Festival is held all over the country, as well as parts of Myanmar (Shan State) where it is known as Tazaungdaing, it is also held in Laos, where it is known as Lai Heua Fai.
The festival at times is mistakenly thought to be the same as the ‘Yi Peng – Festival of Light’, and the Mae Jo Sky Lantern Event, this is in part due to the use of the same Lanna- style sky lanterns (Khom loi (Thai: โคม ลอย), literally: “floating lanterns” which are released during the festivities. See our post explaining the differences between Yi Peng and Loy Krathong and the Mae Jo event. For more details on the festival of Loy Krathong its history and on both the Krathong and sky lanterns click here
For more on the best seven venues to see Loy Krathong across the Kingdom click here.
Buriram Long Boat Racing Festival
PHOTO: SOMCHAI POOMLARD
When: 5-6th November 2016
Where: In Front of Satuek’s District Office Satuek District, Buriram Northeast Thailand
The racing takes place on the Mun River each year on the first full weekend in November there are usually around 40-50 boats joining the competition from nearby provinces. Other than the racing and on land, visitors can also enjoy the colourful long boat procession and other cultural performances.
A Brief History of Long Boat Races
Long Boat-Racing is one of Thailand’s oldest traditions and the events have been arranged continuously since the Ayutthaya time (approx. 600 years ago) When they were used to enhance the physical and mental strength of the men folk, as the country was almost Continuously at war with its neighbouring countries of Burma Lao and Cambodia.
What today’s festivals all have in common is a great atmosphere punctured by the tumultuous noise and vibrant colours that take hold of your senses and leaves you wanting more. Combine this with the assault on your taste buds and nostrils from the vast army of people selling local produce including delicious food and drink and you can tell why the Thai people enjoy these festivities so much. For details on the other Longboat Festivals click here
Phra Pathom Chedi Festival
When: 11 – 19th November 2016
Where: Nakhon Pathom Central Thailand
Phra Pathom Chedi Festival is held annually during the 12th, lunar month. The festival is a time to pay homage to Phra Pathom Chedi, and is held over nine days and nights. There are all kinds of entertainment, including parades, traditional song and dance displays, a Thai fun fair as well as displays of the local handy crafts and products.
The Poinsettia Phurua Festival 2016
When: 1 November 2016 – 31 January 2017
Where: Phuruea National Park, Loei
The 5th Poinsettia Phurua Festival will this year take place from 1 November, 2016 and go on until 31 January, 2017 in Loei, to make the most of the cooler winter weather in Thailand’s northeast. The festival celebrates the festively coloured poinsettia flowers, which are so often associated with Christmas and are in full bloom at this time.
The Poinsettia plants are grown commercially over a vast area making a glorious scarlet carpet that attracts sightseers and photographers from all over the country. But the cool weather is also a great reason to visit the area of Phurea National Park at this time. Visitors revel in the chance to put on warmer winter clothing while exploring the hills and villages.
During the festival, there are lots of attractions including evening lantern displays and classical musical performances, so visits over the Christmas and New Year period can feel very festive. The Poinsetta Phuruea Festival takes place just by the entrance to the Phuruea National Park Amphoe mueng Loei.
For more information, contact:
TAT Loei Office
Tel. +66 (0) 4281 2812; +66 (0) 4281 1405
Rafting in Pai River
When: 1 July – 31 December 2016
Where: Mae Hong Son Northwest Thailand
Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas runs the Pai river and thanks to the abundance of water at this time of the year it offers one of the best white water rafting experiences in the world. The middle section of the Pai River stretches over 60 kilometers of rocky landscape and non-accessible jungle forest; it offers fun by way of as many as 60 rapids, stretching up to class 4.
The course provides an excellent back drop between the wilderness and the challenge of the rapids for both the novice and experienced white water enthusiasts.
Flora Park Mist Festival
When: 1 November 2016 – 28th February 2017
Where: Wang Nam Khiawo District, Nakhon Ratchasima Northeast Thailand
Known as the Switzerland of Isaan the districts motto is ‘Cool climate town’, it is this time of the year the district is a mass of colour. The festival is held on an area of over 50 rai at Khao Phaeng Ma and you can expect to witness a carpet of blooms from more than 100,000 flowers of over 20 different species, along with the spectacular vertical garden.
Throughout three months, the park will feature botanical art exhibitions, spreading over its sheer size of 70 rai (27.67 acres). Highlights include rose garden which has many different rose varieties approximately 2,000 roses, a farmer’s market, “Faprathan Farm” Learning center for sustainable agricultural development – organic vegetable farming and coffee plantation, vertical garden, and a labyrinth of more than 200,000 potted flowers and plants, and many more.
For more information, contact:
Flora Park Wangnamkeaw
Tel: +66 (0) 89 812 8851, +66 (0) 81 372 8851
Bangsaen Speed Festival 2016
When: 22 – 27th November 2016
Where: Bira International Circuit Chonburi
Bangsaen Speed Festival is the biggest motor sport event in Thailand and a part of the Thailand Super Series. Held around the later part of the year since 2007, with teams from Formula BMW and Formula Renault, competing in this 5 day-long event, this year promises to be another ear piercing, exhilarating street racing week, that includes both 4 wheeled and two wheeled events. (The two wheeled racers normally have the last day of the event to themselves TBC)
For more on this event with contact details for the race organisers click here
Lop Buri Sunflower Blooming Festival
When: 1 November 2016 – 31 January 2017
Where: Lopburi Central Thailand
The festival kicks off around November until late December every year as this is when the sunflowers are in full bloom. Festival highlights include scenic, train, bicycle, tractor and elephant tours around the ocean of sunflowers. If you are in the province in November why not see the hilarious Monkey Buffet Festival
River Kwai Festival
When: 25th November – 5th December 2016
Where: Mueang District, Kanchanaburi Province Northwest Thailand
Each year the world famous River Kwae Bridge, becomes the focal point of these celebrations. Event highlights include historical and archaeological exhibits, a carnival, folk and cultural performances, rides on World War II vintage trains, and a spectacular light and sound presentation re-enacting the bridge’s World War II legacy. See more River Kwai Bridge Festival and The Sights and Sounds of Kanchanaburi
Pattaya Long Boat & Buffalo Racing 2016
When: Normally late November (TBC) from 9:00 – 18:00
Where: Mabprachan water reservoir. Banglamung district, Pattaya
This annual Free event, now in its 16th year, sees teams from all over the Kingdom doing battle on the waters of this large expanse of water east of Pattaya.
There is normally a procession through main tourist in the city of Pattaya to promote the races. The parade includes colourfully decorated floats and a marching band which moves down Beach Road through Walking Street to Bali Hai Pier.
There are also many other fun-filled activities during the event, such as a fascinating long-drum competition, exciting buffalo race and much much more. Picture from www.pictures-thailand.com
Silk and Phuk Seow Festival 2016
When: 29 November – 10 December 2016
Where: City Hall on Thanon Na Soon Rachakarn. Khon Kaen Northeast Thailand
Thailand has for centuries been famous for its production of silk and the making of silk garments and no more so than the Northeastern city of Khon Kaen, which again plays host to this annual event. The festival aims to promote the art of both silk weaving and the rearing of silk worms and is held in tandem with the moving phuk seow/siao ceremony, a traditional friendship-deepening ritual of the Northeast which involves the exchange of symbolic wrist strings. (Also known as the su Khwan ritual)
“Seow” (a word for “friend” in Northeast dialect) refers to two people who are full of great loyalty, sincerity and share a close relationship with each other. Nothing, even death, will put them apart. This relationship is not only supposed to happen among the two “friends”, but also be felt and shared with others in their families.
The Festival also includes a number of colourful street processions, featuring local people in traditional clothes, a beauty pageant, traditional Isan cultural shows as well as exhibits on the silk industry all of which add to the fun of this glorious festival.
For more on the festival and the ancient ritual click here
The Mae Jo Event 2016
When: Possibly 16th October and 14th November 2016
Where: The lantern release is at the Lanna Dhutanka temple in the Mae Jo district of Chiang Mai
This event is often confused with the Lanna Festival; Yi Peng (click here for more on the events). This year’s ‘Pay to Watch’ programme, is apparently already sold out, but it appears the organisers have reinstated the free event, which is far more traditional and where many Thai’s dressed in traditional Lanna clothing, take part in the religious ‘khatin’ (or ‘khatina’) robes ceremony.
For more contact the event organisers
For my money the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, which is spread over three days, is a far better event, firstly its free to attend and thousands upon thousands of sky lanterns (far more than at Mae Jo) are released all around the city throughout the duration of both the Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals. See more on the difference between Yi Peng, Loy Krathong and the Mae Jo Event. For more on theYi Peng Festival of Light click here
When: 13th-15th November 2016: Yi Peng day 14th November In the wake of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing this event has scaled back and there will be no fireworks or music
Where: Parts of Northern Thailand – Mainly Chiang Mai
The festival of Yi Peng is a celebration in its own right, as an event to recognise the end of the rainy season and the end of Buddhist Lent. It is believed the event would have corresponded to the Buddhist Wan ok phansa Festival, which is celebrated normally in October, much later the Yi Peng Festival date was changed, to co-inside with the Loy Krathong event.
Yi Peng Festivals take place at various locations around northern Thailand, but it is in Chaing Mai, the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom, where this ancient festival is at its grandest.
The celebrations unlike Loy Krathong are spread over 3 days and involves the local people lighting candles in clay holders Phang Prathip (or Phang Prathit), along with making numerous lanterns to decorate their homes, carry in parades and to give to their temples. (They are given to pay homage to the five Buddhas). Also during the 3 days of Yi Peng; there is a mass launching of sky lanterns as well as fireworks, setting adrift lighted rafts, making merit and listening to the great sermons of Maha Chat, (Vessantara Jataka sermon)…….all in all three hectic days, filled with sound, gun-powder smoke, laughter and humility. For more on this event click here
See more on the difference between Yi Peng, Loy Krathong and the Mae Jo Event
Sukhothai Loy Krathong Festival of Light
When: 9 -14th November 2016 In the wake of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing this event has scaled back and there will be no fireworks or music
Where: The Ancient City of Sukhothai. Sukhothai Province
When in the early evening here amongst the ruins of this once great city, the ancient temples once more come alive to celebrate Loy Krathong. It is here as the buildings are lightly bathed by an array of colourful lights that they once more take on a new reverence and majesty, which is complimented by the candle lit Krathong’s as they are released to the surrounding water and the Sky Lanterns that are sent high into the night sky. See more detailed information click here
Surin Elephant Roundup 2016
When: 17-20 November 2016 In the wake of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing, the Amazing Elephant festival in Surin is postponed.
Where: Si Narong Stadium, Sikhoraphum Castle (temple) & The Monument of Phaya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang in Surin Province
Surin Elephant Roundup 2015 – The event takes you back to a time when wars were won or lost on the backs of these wise and formidable animals
It is a cultural festival held every year in Northeast Thailand (Isan). The festival has its origins in the ancient royal hunts which were conducted in the province around the time when the Roman Empire was collapsing.
Where there were once a vast wild elephant population in the Kingdom estimated at the beginning of the 20th century to be in excess of 300,000 with a further 100,000 domesticated elephants, today there are as few as 3,000 – 3,700 wild elephants and a total captive population of 3,500 – 4,000.
This relatively modern event started in the 1950’s and is staged over three days, it includes a variety of shows displaying the physical prowess and skill of these intelligent and majestic animals. The venue for part the event, Si Narong Stadium, has been dubbed the “world’s largest domestic elephant village”
See more on this festival click here
When: 10 – 13th November 2016
Where: Brahmathat Court Phimai Historical Park & Chakkarat Stream. Nakhon Ratchasima Province Northeast Thailand
This is Korat or Khorat time to shine with this festival to celebrate the glorious period of Phimai, and the significant role the town played in the very long history of the region.
The festival is in three distinct parts: The Brahmathat Court Light & Sound Show, Long-Boat Racing and the Korat Cat Competition
When: Annually last Sunday in November
Where: Lopburi City in the Lopburi province (also known as Lavo, Lavapura, and Luovo) Central Thailand
One of the few almost non spiritual and one of the most recent annual events to be added to the social calendar of the Kingdom of Thailand is that of the fun filled and some what bizarre ‘Monkey Buffet Festival’ (the first festival only took place in 1989). It is held near the Khmer temple of Phra Prang Sam Yot near the railway station in the Old Town of Lopburi, aptly nicknamed “the city of monkeys,”
Pattaya International Firework Festival & Contest
When: 25 – 26th November 2016 In the wake of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing this event has been cancelled
Where: Along Beach Road Pattaya Central Thailand
Come join in the fun that is the Pattaya International Firework Festival and Contest, with 2 days of pop concerts, parades and literally tonnes of fireworks, spread over two days and nights it has something for every-one and the really good news it’s all FREE. See More
Hill Tribe Culture & Sunflower Festival – Doi Hua Mae Kham
When: 1 November – 10 December 2016
Where: Mae Fah Luang District, Mae Hong Son Northwest Thailand
Doi Hua Mae Kham is one of the largest mixed hill-tribe villages in Thailand. Here you will find the ancient Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Yao people, along with Hmong and Tai Yai. Located in the north-western extremity of Chiang Rai province on the border with Myanmar, it is about as remote a place as one can still find in the Kingdom.
The spectacle of this annual tribal event, coincides with the blooming of the Giant Mexican Sunflowers that cover the surrounding hills and valley, which makes for a natural amphi theatre into which is poured the diversity of cultures and history of the many hills tribes that still live here. The same district also runs the Blooming Bua Tong (Mexican Sunflower) Festival which is held on the same dates.
When: 26 November 2016
Where: Lopburi North Central Thailand
Once again King Narai’s Palace, officially known as Phra Narai Ratchaniwet located in the old center of Lopburi town plays host to the annual “Chom Wang, Fang Dontri” ( live band performance), featuring the National Symphony Orchestra, plus a number of Thai artists.
Most of the music is scheduled for the evening, when the old ruins bathed in subtle lighting are used as a wonderful back drop, that said the day also has a number of traditional cultural and music performances. If you are intending to stay on in Lopburi town, you will find the next day is the Monkey Buffet Festival
The Ploenchit Fair 2016
When: Saturday the 26th November 2016 from 10.00 am – 8.00 pm
Where: Bangkok Patana School, 643 Soi La Salle, Sukhumvit 105 Bangkok
The Ploenchit Fair is quite simply Bangkok’s Big Day Out. Arguably the biggest Fair in Asia, it has been part of the social scene in Thailand since the first Fair was held in The British Embassy in 1957.
Everybody comes to the Ploenchit Fair – the theme is a traditional British fairground and it’s a day to meet all your friends, pick up some fabulous bargains, sample great international cuisine, exhaust the children with a variety of fun fair games and rides, or just knock back some champagne, cold beer or even Pimms while enjoying great bands who perform throughout the afternoon on the main stage.
There’s something for everyone at the Fair – games, rides and competitions for the kids and adults including a Bungee Jump, Water Roller Ball, Hands Spin Boats, Giant Slide, Golf, Coconut Shy, Grand Raffle to name but a few. The main stage hosts a variety of excellent bands and performers through out the day while a genuinely mind boggling array of food and drink is available from some of the best bars and restaurants in Bangkok.
There will be a free shuttle bus service from Bang Na skytrain to and from the Fair. There is also ample parking.
Prasat Sikhoraphum Celebration 2016
When: 18 – 19 November 2016
Where: Prasat Sikhoraphum, located in between the cities of Surin and Sisaket East Thailand
This annual celebration is held every third weekend of November at the ancient Khmer monument of Prasat Sikhoraphum. The event is to show case the ethnic and cultural diversity of the local Khmer, Lao, and Suay people and includes numerous cultural performances and demonstrations, plus a host of stalls selling each of their particular food and handicrafts. In the evening and within the shadows of this once Hindu temple there is a spectacular light and sound show depicting its history.
North East Thailand houses a number of Khmer monuments, of which Prasat Sikhoraphum is one of the largest and best preserved. This Khmer monument is located North of Angkor (current day Siem Reap in Cambodia), which was the center of the ancient Khmer empire, it is also East of Phimai which also has an annual event on the 10 – 13th November.
For more on the Prasat Sikhoraphum event click here
If you know of other festivals or events worth noting please do send them in with pictures and we will try to add them here.
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