Whichever month you travel for a Thailand holiday you are likely to have the chance to see a festival or special occasion when people often dress up in traditional costume. These will be colourful events usually with music and dancing. Several but not all of these occasions commemorate something religious, mostly Buddhist. If you are undecided on when you want to book a Thailand travel package, then bear in mind these dates when you are making your decision:
• The Songkran Festival in April is the Thai New Year. The lunar calendar is more important in Thailand so precise dates change year by year. However, those dates are available a year ahead so you should have no trouble booking accurately. Water plays an important role; it is not in the form of rain but it is thrown around by the locals as part of the fun. If you want to join in during your Thailand travel, then get a water pistol. The Had Yai Midnight Songkran is held in Songkhla and I San Maha Songkran Festival in Nong Khai. Elsewhere, think about the Ayutthaya Songkran Festival or the Phra Pradaeng Songkran in Phra Pradaeng. Chiang Mai is another place where you will see processions, cultural shows and a beauty pageant.
• Whilst not a cultural festival, the Bangkok International Film Festival, usually in January is worth thinking about. There are several entertainment events and concerts.
• Most Thailand private tours include Chiang Mai and the Bo Sang Umbrella Fair and San Kamphaeng Handicraft Festival, also in January, includes competitions, cultural performances and street stalls selling a range of crafts.
• A month later in Chiang Mai the Flower Festival certainly provides a splash of colour. It is a good time to visit the north and there is also a Flower Queen Beauty Pageant.
• In March, there is National Elephant Day but the real cultural event is National Muay Thai Day when there are martial arts events, small and large across the country.
• The Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Bangkok is in May while the Isaan celebrate the Rocket Festival with homemade rockets fired these days from UPC piping, formerly bamboo. Yasothon is the best place to go.
• Fruit Day in early summer (May – June) in Chantaburi has a number of fairs organized by the local women when there are parades and competitions featuring the best fruit of the region.
• Hua Hin Jazz Festival in June attracts plenty of performers, local, national as well as international.
• If you like to dress up and join in think about the Bun Luang & Phi Ta Khon Festival in Dan Sai District in June. There will be ghost masks, fancy noses and quilted costumes.
• Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival in July marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent.
• Awk Phansa marks the end of Lent and is usually held early in October while there is a Buffalo Racing Festival later in the month in Chonburi.
• Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival is in October. All sorts of signs of devotion are performed by locals.
• Traditional New Year is still a holiday. There are events nationwide and certainly if you are near the coast during a Thailand family tour, head of the beach.
This is quite a comprehensive list and several of these dates will be celebrated throughout South East Asia where the predominant religion is Buddhism. If you are considering an Indochina travel package then it is worth planning in order to see something, either in Thailand or elsewhere in the Region as a whole. If you are in any doubt then ask your Myanmar tour operator for more information.