Thailand is a country that truly loves a festival. There is a whole variety of them taking place throughout the year, so no matter when you visit, there will be a festival that you can go along to experience the rich culture of this amazing country for yourself.
Songkran, the Water Festival
This is officially the biggest festival in Thailand, it runs for three days, and it is great fun for all the family. It takes place all over the country in April each year, and it is a huge water fight accompanied by music, dancing, and drinking. You can use anything you like to take part in the water fight, including buckets, water guns, and hosepipes. The celebrations take place from the 13th to the 15th of April.
Phi Ta Khon, the Ghost Festival
This particular festival is a combination of different religious traditions and is held in Dan Sai, in the Loei Province, every year in either June or July – make sure you check for the exact dates before you visit. This is a three-day festival where attendees wear brightly colored yet grotesque masks. The festival has its origins in a combination of Buddhist and animist beliefs. The idea behind it is that the party is so great, even the dead want to come along and take part. Also, the timing of the festival is based on the lunar calendar and is held on the weekend of the 6th full moon, so check ahead for the dates in any particular year. The main parade takes place on Friday, and this is followed by the next two days of music, pageants, and Buddhist ceremonies. The only problem with this festival is that it can be difficult to get to – from Bangkok it is a 7-hour bus journey. As Dan Sai is a very small town, you need to make sure you book your accommodation as early as you can.
Yi Peng, the Lantern Festival
This is a festival on a much more sedate scale than the others. It takes place in Chiang Mai each November when people gather along the Peng River and release thousands of paper lanterns into the sky. This beautiful sight makes it one of the most popular and photogenic festivals. However, it is not the only part of the festival though, there are parades and religious ceremonies as well as fireworks events. Book your hotels in advance as they fill up quickly, particularly those located along the river.
Boon Bang Fai, the Rocket Festival
This is a festival that takes place in the Yasothorn Province, and it is very important to the farming communities of the area. Entire villages come together for a celebration before the start of the planting season in June and July each year. The idea behind it is that the rockets are sent to the Gods as an offering for plenty of rain to ensure a successful rice crop. Undoubtedly, over the years, it has become more competitive, with teams working together to create larger and more elaborate rockets each time. Yasothon Province is the main location for the festival, but there are smaller versions of the same festival in other districts. There is plenty of live music, various pageants, parties and drinking while the festival is on and it is very popular with tourists.