• 150/1Rradchiangseng Rd, Haiya, Muaeng, Chiangmai, Wua Lai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 50100
  • Daily: 8am to 8pm

Best Festivals to Enjoy In Thailand

Thailand is a country full of wonders for any traveler. Whether it’s the amazing natural beauty,
the wondrous wildlife, the exotic food or the wild parties, there’s something about the land of
smiles that keeps everyone hooked and desperate for more.

One thing travelers tend to overlook when booking their trip to Thailand are the magical festivals that this predominantly Buddhist country enjoys throughout the year. Teeming with culture and tradition, these festivals can vary from intimate offerings to deceased relatives, to all-out street parties. We have compiled the 5 best festivals that are celebrated in Thailand every year, with tips on the best places to enjoy them

Songkran (The Water Festival)

Far and away my favorite festival in Asia, Songkran – which celebrates the Thai New Year –
takes place between April 13th-15th and roughly marks the end of the dry season and the start
of the monsoons. The festivities last for at least 3 days and sometimes even up to a week in the
busier places.

Traditionally, on the first day, everyone in each village must help to wash the dust from the dry
season off the Buddha statues in their temple. Slowly, this escalated into people throwing water
at each other, and now the festival is essentially a huge 3-day water fight. Even the local fire
department gets involved to spray people with their firehoses.

Loy Krathong (Festival of Lights)

For one of the most beautiful sights that you will see in Thailand, head to a city for Loy
Krathong. For this festival of lights, the locals make little boats out of banana leaves, place lit
candles and incense in them and send them down the rivers. Seeing hundreds of floating lights
is truly a spectacular sight.

Traditionally done to thank the Gods for good rainfall, this festival marks the end of the rainy
season and falls on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar – usually around
the start of November.

The best places to enjoy these festivities are in the bigger cities such as Chiang Mai and
Bangkok where there will be much more floating candles, but the celebration takes place all
over Thailand on many rivers and lakes. In smaller villages, the festival is much more intimate
and family-orientated.

To fully enjoy this event, get yourself to a riverside bar or restaurant where you can enjoy the
candles floating past. If you’d like to get involved, you can purchase your own banana leaf boat
from markets in the bigger cities and send it down the river with the locals.

Yi Peng

Another festival of lights, Yi Peng takes place on the same night as Loy Krathong but, whereas
Loy Krathong is celebrated all over the country, Yi Peng is generally only celebrated in the
Northern provinces.

For this festival, families light paper lanterns and send them skywards for a truly awesome
spectacle. In Chiang Mai, where this festival is held simultaneously with Loy Krathong, both the
sky and the water are alight with candles, and this is the best place to enjoy the festivities.

If you plan to experience this festival then try to book your room in advance as, especially in
Chiang Mai, rooms fill quickly and prices tend to skyrocket. If you want to send your own lantern
skywards, remember to make a wish first.

Magha Puja

Observed by all countries that practice Theravada Buddhism, this festival is one of the most
important to the religion and celebrates a time when Buddha gathered together his first 1250
disciples to explain enlightenment.

As one of the holiest days in the calendar, Buddhists take part in merit-making customs such as
alms-giving (offering food to the temple), listening to teachings at the temple and meditation.

Held on the third full moon of the lunar year, this celebration generally takes place in February.
If you want to go to a temple to observe this ancient practice, please remember to cover your
knees, chest and shoulders.

Chinese New Year

Although not strictly a Thai celebration, Chinese New Year is still a big event in Thailand as 14%
of the population are of Chinese descent.

As the festival is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, the exact date varies but is usually held
in either January or February. Although not a public holiday in Thailand, Chinese citizens get 2
weeks off work to enjoy it, and many come to visit family and party in Thailand.

Over the New Year celebrations, there are many parades featuring dragons and lions,
firecrackers are popping everywhere and the streets are packed with acrobatics and street

To enjoy this celebration at its best, head over to Chinatown in Bangkok where the atmosphere
is truly electric.

Now you know some of the best festivals in Thailand. When you book your next trip to the
country, why not try booking it around one of these celebrations so you can party with the locals
and soak in some real culture?