Festivals & Events In Bangkok
January: Chinese New Year (which usually falls in late January or early February) is celebrated in Bangkok in a big way – with festivities focused mainly in the Chinatown area but also in the rest of Bangkok. You’ll see dragon parades, lanterns, fireworks and crackers, and lots of food stalls!
February: With no major holidays in February (except for Chinese New Year) the best way to spend this month is to explore the countryside before the temperatures start to rise. January and February are ‘kite season’ in Bangkok , with many locals heading to Lumphini Park to take advantage of the strong winds – where you can either watch the kites flying in the sky or buy your own and try your luck. The 57-acre Lumphini Park is a great place to sit down for a picnic, hire a canoe or look out for the giant three-metre-long Komodo dragons that inhabit the park.
March: March is a dry month, perfect for island travel ! While Thailand’s main island destinations are several hours away, there are still beaches you can visit on a quick day trip from Bangkok. Less than 90 minutes away from the capital, Bang Saen is a quiet beach getaway that offers a four-kilometre-long coastline, with palm trees and excellent dining options. If you’re up for a longer drive, Hua Hin , about 2.5 hours south of Bangkok, offers plenty of beaches and plenty of water sports.
April: April in Thailand can only mean one thing: Songkran celebrations. Songkran is Thailand’s New Year celebration, which officially takes place between 13 and 15 April , but actually spans a whole week. During this time, locals don’t work, many shops and buildings in the city are closed, and Bangkok is the quietest and most deserted you’ve ever seen.
Songkran is a time for cleansing, both spiritually and physically (it’s the equivalent of “spring cleaning” in Thai households), which also means massive water fights in the streets. As a tourist, you will be the primary target, so expect to be hit with high velocity water guns, buckets and hoses multiple times a day as you walk around Bangkok. If you don’t mind the “attacks” and are willing to stay out, there are plenty of street festivals, parades and food stalls throughout Bangkok to keep you entertained. Keep in mind that April is often the hottest month of the year in Bangkok , so be prepared to plan your entertainment indoors in air-conditioned spaces.
May: Visakha Bucha is the most sacred Buddhist festival in Thailand, a day dedicated to celebrating the teachings of the Buddha. Since the holiday is based on the lunar calendar, the exact date of the celebration varies from year to year – but keep in mind that on this day (and sometimes the day before and after), clubs, many restaurants and even shops will be closed and the city in general will be quieter. If you plan to visit one of Bangkok’s temples on this day, you’ll find lots of candles, incense and other quiet celebrations. May is a very humid month best spent indoors discovering museums and restaurants.
June: There is a lot of rain and no major festivals in Bangkok during June , making it a good month for indoor fun, including visiting the Chatuchak covered market (Bangkok’s largest market with over 8,000 stalls) and the many temples around the city.
July: From mid-June, Bangkok is in an extended sale period known as the Amazing Grand Sale – and through July, most malls, markets and even small shops offer discounts of up to 80 percent on everything from high-end clothing to electronics and household products and even jewellery. This is the best time to visit if you want great shopping deals or want to take home an expensive piece of artwork or traditional items you couldn’t afford otherwise.
August: In the Chinese calendar, the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (which usually means August) is dedicated to the Hungry Ghost Festival-a sort of Hallow’s Eve day where restless spirits are free to roam the Earth in search of food, comfort and sometimes revenge. Heading to Bangkok’s Chinatown during this festival means lots of colorful festivities, including burning incense and Joss paper (sheets of paper also known as “ghost money”) and offerings of food left on the side of the road to appease the spirits.
The annual International Thai Film Festival (ITFF) also takes place in Bangkok in August and is a great way to discover indie films and shorts from around the world – but also a great way to escape the heat and rain of the monsoon and spend some time indoors.
September: September is usually the wettest month of the year and, while this means it’s not a good time to visit the islands or beaches, it’s a good time to head to Bangkok!
The Moon Festival is another Chinese festival that is widely celebrated in Thailand, as this is probably the best festival for sweet lovers. Apart from mooncakes, you can find all kinds of sweet treats sold all over the city during this festival, such as roasted chestnuts and ginseng and green tea ice cream. Traditional long wooden boat races are held all over Thailand during the month of September – including Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi, which are less than 30 minutes from downtown Bangkok.
October: Intended to be a time of catharsis, restaurants across the city offer vegetarian dishes, with some going completely vegan during the festival. Watch for yellow flags announcing that a particular restaurant is participating.
November: Thailand’s most beautiful festival, Loi Krathong , falls in November – in fact, on the first day of the November full moon. Loi Krathong is a light-filled celebration where Thais do good deeds and pay respect to the water spirits by releasing tiny floats into the river. The tiny vessels (krathongs) contain candles, coins or sweets and are traditionally made from banana leaves. In Bangkok, hundreds of thousands of floats are usually released into the Chao Phraya River and surrounding canals, and the flickering lights make for a spectacular sight.
December: December is not only the driest month in Bangkok , but also one of the coolest, with daytime temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius and evening temperatures that can reach the low 20s. This is the best month to walk around the city and discover flea markets, explore the waterfront along the Chao Praya River and enjoy all the street food you could ever want.
Bangkok, Thailand…! All year festivals…!