There are plenty of unmissable events and festivals in Thailand in 2019. It’s the land of culture and there is no shortage of entertainment!
People here love to celebrate, whether it be with a nation-wide water-fight, a dazzling display of lanterns or a crazy tattoo festival. Regardless of where you are in the country, be sure to time your visit to coincide with one of the following events – there’s something for everyone!
Songkran (Thai New Year)
You simply can’t miss Songkran – one of the most anticipated festivals in Thailand in 2019! Every Thai New Year in April, the whole country erupts in what is probably the biggest water-fight in the world. We’re not just talking a few kids with water pistols – it’s literally everyone!
An Inescapable Celebration
Aside monks, nuns and the elderly, no one is allowed to opt out of Songkran. The biggest celebrations are in Chiang Mai (where the festival can go on as long as six days!) and Bangkok (where the famous backpacker haven Khao San Road is the place to enjoy it). However, even in remote islands, you’ll be able to grab yourself a water-gun and join in with drenching everyone in sight.
Fun for all the Family
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand with the little ones, make sure it coincides with Songkran – what another opportunity will they get to soak everyone they see? The streets are lined with punters ready to spray and be sprayed. It’s safe and friendly fun for everyone – whether you’re one or a hundred and one!
Location: Everywhere in Thailand!
Time of Year: 13-15 April 2019
Yi Peng Lantern Festival
A truly ethereal and otherworldly event, your list of things to do in Thailand in 2019 should undoubtedly contain the Yi Peng lantern festival in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. You’ll see locals homes and public places dotted with lanterns, but the main event is when thousands are released into the sky, creating a stunningly mystical atmosphere.
The act of releasing a sky-lantern is said to symbolize letting go of all the misfortunes and evils which have happened within the previous year. Buddhists also believe that you should make a wish when releasing your lantern – but of course, it will only come true if you continue to do good deeds!
The Festival of Lights
For sure, it doesn’t just end there. Releasing the lanterns is just a part of Loy Krathong and there is plenty more to see, especially if you are in Chiang Mai for the occasion. Expect Thai dance shows, live music, street vendors and fireworks, as well as the traditional Yi Peng parade.
Location: Nationwide – most notably Chiang Mai and Bangkok
Time of Year: 13th Nov 2019 (may vary – Yi Peng falls on the full moon of the 12th lunar month every year)
WonderFruit is an annual bohemian paradise. A self-proclaimed celebration of art, music, food and ideas, it’s sure to be among the most exciting events and festivals in Thailand in 2019. Running 24 hours a day for four days, you’ll catch music from all over the world (with De La Soul and Rudimental among past acts), fantastical art installations and more.
So Much to Do
From yoga and meditation to and sustainability and innovation workshops, WonderFruit is stacked full of things to see and do. It’s ideal for families, backpackers, honeymooners and practically anyone else. Despite its worldwide appeal, it retains a distinctly Thai aura – drawing from the abundance of food, culture and tradition which the country has to offer.
Feel Good Factor
WonderFruit is where sustainability meets art and has a thriving sense of social consciousness. It’s certified as carbon neutral, has a no-tolerance policy against single-use plastic bags and is generally a haven for nature-lovers. It’s founder Pranitan “Pete” Phornprapha believes the festival can help inspire social change.
One of the unmissable events and festivals in Thailand in 2019!
Location: The Fields at Siam Country Club, Pattaya, Thailand
Time of Year: December (dates to be confirmed)
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Put to one side the image of thumping music and hedonistic full-moon parties – the unique Chiang Mai Festival is a magical three-day event which is well worth a visit. A hive of beautiful colours, stunning flowers and celebrations, you’ll find Thai people from across the country showing off their spectacular traditional outfits.
You’ll find people selling flowers, orchids and garden decorations everywhere you look, as well as the unmissable Flower Festival Parade which usually takes place on Saturday morning of the festival.
The Flower Festival Queen
Every year, many of the girls atop the beautifully decorated floats and carriages compete to become the Flower Festival Queen. Towards the afternoon live music and drinks start to flow before the serious deliberations for the contest begin – by the evening a new Flower Queen will be crowned.
You’re sure to love it!
Location: Suan Buak Haad, Chiang Mai.
Time of Year: 1st-3rd February 2019
Pai Jazz and Blues Festival
Pai is a town known and famed for small jazz bars, where talented Thai musicians take to the stage to wow us with their skills. Bringing together a unique blend of culture and talent, performances take place in a variety of cafes, bars and restaurants.
Expect Groovy Vibes
The talented and vibrant line-up includes local musicians as well as international jazz and blues enthusiasts to create a groovy vibe on Pai’s famous walking street. This festival is still in its infancy but is sure to be a hit for many years to come. It’s a truly special place to kick back and enjoy some great tunes!
Visit now and you’ll be able to tell your friends that you were at this sure-to-be famous festival before most tourists even knew about it.
Location: Pai Walking Street, Wieng Tai, Pai City, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand
Time of Year: July 2019 (dates to be confirmed)
Wai Kru Magic Tattoo Festival
For those in search of the slightly chaotic and the weird yet wonderful, Wai Kru Magic Tattoo Festival is sure to be a hit. Every year, thousands of Buddhist monks gather at the Wat Bang Phra to apply traditional tattoos to anyone who wants them.
Sacred yet Slightly Chaotic
It is said that these Sak Yant tattoos have the supernatural power to bring protection and luck, however, these powers wear off over time – requiring them to be re-blessed once a year at Wai Kru Festival. In an amazing spectacle, thousands gather to have their powers renewed, many experiencing a strange trance-like state as the energy of the festival builds. After this, monks lead the crowds into prayer, completing the renewal process.
Location: Wat Lamut-Nara Phirom Road, Tambon Bang Kaeo Fa, Amphoe Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom, 73120 Thailand
Time of Year: 1st-3rd March 2019 (first Saturday of March)
River Kwai Bridge Week
Held in late November every year, the River Kwai Bridge Week aims to put Kanchanaburi on the map for tourism. If you’re looking for an educational yet fun event then this is a great choice!
A Glimpse into History
The highlight is, of course, the light and sound show which tells the somewhat sombre tale of this famous bridge’s construction, in honour of those who built it. A fascinating watch for people from all over the globe, it is shown many times over the course of the week and is an exciting yet poignant reconstruction.
Plenty to Keep You Busy!
Sure to be among the more unusual events and festivals in Thailand in 2019, there are plenty of reasons to tag along. This week-long celebration of Kanchanaburi includes a mini-motor show, concerts with popular musicians, cultural performances and a big fair on the bridge itself. It’s the perfect event for a bit of shopping and giving some of the local delicacies a try, whilst the kids hang out at the exiting funfair attractions!
Time of Year: Late Nov – Early Dec (dates to be confirmed)
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