Thailand, with its lush green landscapes, picturesque beaches and buzzing cities, is appealing all year round. However, with an array of festivals, markets and celebrations on offer it’s helpful to plan ahead to make sure that you don’t miss out. Here, we round up some of our favourite times to visit this gorgeous country.
For Gorgeous Flowers: February
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival takes place every February, and is an explosion of colour across this famed city. Much like the Chelsea Flower Show, there is an exhibition of flowers, gardening techniques and horticulture in the Suan Buak Hat Park.
The park is a sight to behold in itself with rare orchids, impressive flower displays and competitions to keep you entertained. However, the floats which parade the city are where this celebration really comes into its own. These floats feature vibrant flowers woven into intricate designs which create figures such as dragons and temples.
For Mass Water Fights: April
Songkran is the celebration of the traditional Thai New Year and is celebrated across the country from the 13th – 15th April. New Year celebrations are always fun but when combined with mass water fights, it’s hard not to get caught up in the infectious nature of the event. The celebrations begin with trips to temples in the morning and the pouring of water in the afternoon.
Celebrating this event is a communal affair so don’t be surprised to find a bucket of water being thrown over you, whether you’re beside the sea in a bikini or strolling the streets of Bangkok. To join in with the fun is simple. Buy a water pistol and don’t be afraid to squirt it at passing strangers.
For Fireworks: New Year’s Eve
As well as going all out for Thai New Year, Thailand knows how to celebrate the 31st December in style. Many of the cities including Bangkok and Chiang Mai offer huge, dramatic firework displays for everyone to enjoy. In Bangkok, these centre around the Central World shopping centre where there is live music, light shows and screens depicting the celebrations across the globe. These celebrations are family-friendly so all ages can enjoy watching the clock strike midnight.
Those looking to dance the night away should head to Khao San Road where backpackers flit between bars and groups of friends. Elsewhere, the infamous Full Moon party in Ko Phangan hits peak hedonism for New Year’s Eve with tens of thousands of revellers congregating to drink cheap, cheap drinks and dance for hours.
To Experience Chatuchak Market: Weekends
Chatuchak Market, on the outskirts of Bangkok, has to be seen to be believed. This sprawling market sells almost anything that you could imagine. From the food stalls Bangkok is famed for, to pet stores where you can cuddle kittens, plant stalls for gardening and homeware stalls selling tiles, kitchenware and much, much more.
It is one of the world’s largest markets and getting to grips with its size can take a while. But it’s worth a visit even if you’re not looking to purchase anything yourself, simply for the window shopping opportunities. Whilst there are a few stalls open all week long the main action takes place at the weekend so if you’re making plans to visit Bangkok, be sure to visit over a weekend when you can explore in all its chaotic glory.
For Incredible Light Displays: November
The Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festivals are celebrations of light held just outside of Chiang Mai. This festivals use the releasing of lanterns as a way of removing negativity, and personal worries and as a celebration of both Buddha and Phra Mae Khongkha, the Thai water goddess. In the past, this spiritual festival was partaken solely by monks and yet, in recent years the public has been invited to join in.
The biggest of the Yi Peng celebrations takes place at the MaeJo University just outside of Chiang Mai, and sees thousands and thousands of paper lanterns set adrift in the sky. It is an impressive spectacle and it is well worth taking a good camera along with you to capture the moment.