Public Holidays and Festivals in Thailand: The Complete Guide

HomeArticlePublic Holidays and Festivals in Thailand: The Complete Guide

Knowing festivals and public holidays in Thailand is more than knowing when to have fun. Thailand holidays and festivals will surely make your trip unforgettable and we're happy to have you joining us! However, there are local cultures to consider as well as non-fixed dates (in some cases) to look out for.

Our one-stop guide to public holidays and festivals in Thailand includes not only the dates, but also explanations and local tips for each Thai festival and holiday. Since we'll update the guide regularly, we hope it helps you plan your Thailand travel more easily and effectively.

Public Holidays and Festivals in Thailand: Scented water and flowers traditionally used during Songkran Festival

Public Holidays in Thailand (2019)

Thailand Holidays in January

January 1-2 - New Year’s Day and Substitute Holiday for New Year’s Eve

The international New Year's Day is one of Thailand holidays. New Year holidays in Thailand start from New Year’s Eve, but many Thais take days off earlier for family reunion or vacation. Brace yourself for the crowds at most tourist attractions.

Thailand Holiday in March

March 1 - Makha Bucha Day

Makha Bucha Day commemorates the gathering of 1,250 enlightened disciples of Buddha, all of which were ordained by Buddha himself. All the monks came together on a full moon day without being summoned and listened to Buddha’s teaching. On this Thailand holiday, devout Buddhists go to temples to make merit and join the candlelight processions or wian tian. Since this is one of the Buddhist holidays in Thailand, alcohol isn’t on sale.

* This Thailand holiday is observed on the third full moon, usually in February or March

Thailand Holidays in April

April 6 - Chakri Day

One of the unique public holidays in Thailand. April 6, 1782, was the day that King Rama I founded the Chakri Dynasty. The dynasty is Thailand's current ruling dynasty.

April 13-16 - Songkran Day and Substitute Holiday

The traditional version of New Year holidays in Thailand. Songkran is celebrated for three days and it's more than the time for water fight. Like New Year holidays in Thailand, Songkran is time for family reunion and vacation. Popular tourist destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya are well-known for wild water fights on the streets. If you’re looking for more traditional Buddhist festivities, visit the temples and join the locals in their merit making during these Thailand holidays. Discover both the crazy and the calm sides of Songkran in our Songkran Festival guide.

Thailand Holidays in May

May 1 - Labor Day

Labor Day is a holiday for people working in the private sectors and banks. Malls and shops are still open, though.

May 29 - Visakha Bucha Day

Visakha Bucha Day marks the birth, the enlightenment and the passing into Nirvana of Buddha. Like other Buddhist holidays in Thailand, there are Buddhist rituals at temples and alcohol selling is banned. 

* This Thailand holiday is observed on the sixth full moon, usually in May or June

Thailand Holidays in July

July 27 - Asahna Bucha Day

Asahna Bucha Day marks Buddha’s first preaching to his first five disciples. Like other Buddhist holidays in Thailand, Buddhist rituals are held at temples and no alcohol is sold.

* This Thailand holiday is observed on the eighth full moon, usually in July

July 28 and 30  - Birthday of King Rama X and Substitute Holiday

The birthday of Thailand’s present king.

Thailand Holidays in August

August 12-13 - Mother’s Day and Substitute Holiday

Thailand’s national Mother’s Day is also the birthday of Queen Sirikit. Look out for discounts for moms, especially in restaurants, stores and public transportations.

Thailand Holidays in October

October 13 and 15 - Commemoration of the Passing of King Rama IX and Substitute Holiday

In remembrance of Thailand’s previous king.

October 23 - Chulalongkorn Day

Commemoration of the passing of King Rama V.

Thailand Holidays in December

December 5 - Father’s Day

The late King Rama IX’s birthday is also Thailand’s national Father’s Day. Like Mother’s Day, some restaurants, shops and public transportations give dad discounts.

December 10 - Constitution Day

Thailand’s first constitution was pronounced effective on December 10, 1932, so the day celebrates democracy in Thailand.

December 31 - New Year’s Eve

Part of the long New Year holidays in Thailand. If you’re in for live music and fireworks, Bangkok countdown parties are the places to be. Central World and Asiatique The Riverfront are the most popular venues. However, many Thais start the New Year more calmly by praying at temples.

Public Holidays and Festivals in Thailand: Yi Peng Festival or Lantern Festival, the highlight of Chiang Mai's Loy Krathong Festival

Festivals in Thailand (2019)

Thai Festivals in January

January 13 - Children’s Day

Where: Nationwide

Thailand with kids, especially in Bangkok? Your little ones will love all the exclusive activities for kids on this special Saturday. Children’s Day events at major shopping malls like Siam Paragon change themes every year and they have always been exciting, like the Pokémon event with plenty of photo opportunities. Family attractions like amusement parks also offer discounts for children. If you’re ready to face the crowds, happiness is guaranteed for your kids.  

* This Thai festival is held on the second Saturday of January

January 17-March 17 - Worship of Buddha Footprint at Khao Khitchakut National Park

Where: Khao Khitchakut National Park, Chanthaburi

Adventurers unite! Opening for only about two months every year, Khao Khitchakut National Park in Chanthaburi is one of the greatest and most sacred adventures in Thailand. Most hikers are Thai pilgrims who aim to get to the top of Khao Phra Bat to worship Buddha footprint. It’s one of the most local festivals in Thailand. See our guide to this Buddhist festival at Khao Khitchakut National Park for more details.

* This Thai festival is usually held from January to March


January 19-21 - Bo Sang Umbrella Festival

Where: Bo Sang Umbrella Village, Chiang Mai

Home to world-renowned Thai-style paper umbrellas, Bo Sang Umbrella Village welcomes art lovers and culture enthusiasts every day. However, the lovely village becomes even more alive during the festival with traditional Thai shows, umbrella contest and the Beauty Pageant Bike Parade. Discover more in our guide to Bo Sang Umbrella Festival.

* This Thai festival is held on the third weekend of January

Thai Festival in February

February 5 - Chinese New Year

Where: Nationwide, especially in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Phang Nga, Phuket and Suphan Buri

Many Thais, especially in the cities mentioned above, are descendants of Chinese, so Chinese New Year is one of the most important festivals in Thailand. Don red and head to Chinatown or major Chinese shrines and you’ll find beautiful spectacles like red lanterns, lion dances, dragon dances and more. According to local beliefs, there are certain things you shouldn’t do on Chinese New Year’s Day. Find more details here.  

* This Thai festival is held on the first day of the year in the Chinese calendar, usually in January or February

Thai Festivals in May

May 11-13 - Bun Bang Fai Festival (Rocket Festival)

Where: Phaya Thaen Park, Yasothorn

Celebrated in many Northeastern cities before the planting season, Bun Bang Fai or Rocket Festival is a call for rain. Locals create rockets and launch them into the sky in hopes that the god of rain will hear their wishes. Yasothorn is where the biggest Bun Bang Fai Festival in Thailand is.  

* This Thai festival is held on the second weekend of May

May 14 - Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Farmer’s Day)

Where: Sanam Luang, Bangkok

Rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism, Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held to honor and bless rice farmers in Thailand. The king presides over this ancient ritual, so this is one of the most sacred festivals in Thailand. You’re allowed to watch the ceremony, but please dress respectfully. This is also a holiday for the government sector.  

* This Thai festival is usually held in May, date depends on Hora determination

Thai Festival in June

June 16-18 - Phi Ta Khon Festival (Ghost Festival)

Where: Dan Sai Village, Loei

In spite of its grim name, Phi Ta Khon or Ghost Festival is one of the most colorful and fun festivals in Thailand. Villagers of Dan Sai put on large ghost masks made from sticky rice steaming baskets and banana or coconut tree trunks. Since the festival also features fertility rites, don’t be surprised to see the masked villagers holding enormous phalluses in the parade.

* This Thai festival is usually held in June or July, date depends on Dan Sai’s medium determination

Thai Festivals in October

October 8-17 - Vegetarian Festival

Where: Nationwide, especially in Bangkok and Phuket

Like Chinese New Year, major Thai-Chinese communities are where the festivities are at. During Vegetarian Festival, many locals abstain from eating meat, seafood and dairy products. You’ll find many vegetarian food on sale during this time. Ritualized mutilations are also performed at Chinese shrines.   

* This Thai festival is held from the first to the ninth days in the ninth Chinese lunar month, usually in September or October

October 24 - Bang Fai Phaya Naak (Naga Fireballs)

Where: Bueng Kan and Nong Khai

Every year, people gather to watch balls of red light rising above Mekong River. The phenomenon still remains a mystery and local legend has it that the ghostly lights are fireballs of Phaya Naak (Thai name of the mythical serpent Naga).     

* This phenomenon can be witnessed on the eleventh full moon

October 31 - Halloween

Where: Bangkok

Though you can’t expect jack-o'-lanterns and autumn vibes in Thailand, plenty of clubs and bars throw crazy costume parties with live music and DJs.

Thai Festivals in November

Mid November-early January - Christmas Illuminations

Where: Bangkok

Although Thailand doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, many shopping malls and private companies in Bangkok go all out with Christmas illuminations and decorations. Themes change every year and Christmas light hunting in Bangkok is a great thing to do. See last year’s Christmas lights here.

November 22 - Loy Krathong Festival

Where: Nationwide, especially Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Sukhothai

Krathong, a float traditionally made of banana leaves, banana trunks and flowers, is floated on the water  to pay respect to the river spirit. Krathong also contains incense sticks and candles, so the sight of many lit krathong in the river is breathtaking. Believed to originate in Sukhothai, Loy Krathong Festival at Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the most beautiful festivals in Thailand. Chiang Mai is also known for Yi Peng or Lantern Festival, which is part of the city's Loy Krathong Festival. Check out our posts for more about Loy Krathong Festival and krathong.   

* This Thai festival is held on the twelfth full moon, usually in November

November 25 - Monkey Banquet Festival

Where: Lopburi

Lopburi Historical Park is home to not only ancient temples, but also monkeys. Every year Lopburi locals treat them to all-they-can-eat food and fruits. Definitely one of the most unique festivals in Thailand, if not the world!

* This Thai festival is held on the last Sunday of November

Thai Festivals in December

Date TBA - The Glorious of Ayutthaya Fair

Where: Ayutthaya Historical Park, Ayutthaya

The ten-day festival celebrates the history and heritage of Thailand’s glorious ancient capital. Watch light and sound show and illuminations at temples, join fun traditional activities with the locals, sample Ayutthaya’s signature river prawns and so on. Find out more about the Glorious of Ayutthaya Fair here.

December 25 - Christmas Star Procession

Where: Ban Ta Rae, Sakhon Nakhon

Ban Ta Rae is Thailand’s biggest Roman-Catholic community and Christmas celebrations there are  the most beautiful Christmas festival in Thailand. While the glittering Christmas star parade (complete with Santa Claus and other Christmas symbols) takes place on Christmas Day, visitors can see the quaint village decorated with star-shaped lanterns since mid-December. 

So many cool things to do, right? Now that you have more ideas of where to join and what to do, you can enjoy public holidays and festivals in Thailand even more. TakeMeTour and our community of Local Experts hope you get to experience the local spirit through these Thailand holidays and festivals!