Festivals & Events - What to do ?

All of Thailand's major festivals are celebrated in Bangkok. Many Thai festivals are joyful, colourful events that invite visitors' participation. Most festivals are connected either with Buddhism, the annual rice-farming cycle, or commemorations honouring Thai kings. Some occur on fixed dates. Others, particularly those associated with Buddhism, are determined by the lunar calendar. Many merit national holidays. Bangkok's festivals and events are as follows :

Chinese New Year Festival
Chinese New Year Festival
Chinese New Year Festival
Date : 9-10 February 2013
Location : China Town

Come to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the biggest Chinatown in Thailand, Yaowarat Road renowned as the Golden Road, the Land of the Siamese Dragon. Watch the beauty, treasure the Chinese cultural demonstrations and experience a wide range of Chinese cuisine available at famous restaurants as well as fashion shows depicting ancient Chinese attire from various regions. The goldsmith shops offer you beautiful souvenirs. Last but not least, Chinese movies are sure to fascinate you.
Chinese New Year is the most important event of the traditional Chinese holidays. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month and this year, it falls on 9-10 February 2013.

In Bangkok, the Samphanthawong District, is the largest China Town in Thailand. It's also well–known as the street of goldsmith shops and various tasteful dishes. Its people still preserve their ways of life, tradition and culture. That's why, the Chinese New Year celebration in this square is a major festival and well organized every year.

It's now time to put on a red shirt or blouse and say "Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gong xi Fa Cai" which means, Happy New Year and have a prosperous year!

What to do and see.
- Pay homage to the "Guan Yin" statue from China and enjoy Chinese cultural performances from various regions and provinces of this country as well as wonderful cultural performances from the Kalasin College of Dramatic Arts and fabulous shows by GMM Grammy artists. Pick up your camera and snap the beautiful Chinese decorations and lights in China Town and its neighboring streets.
Thai kites Festival
Thai kites Festival
Thai kites Festival
Date : 9-12 March 2013
Location : Sanam Luang Royal Parade Ground, adjacent to the Grand Palace

Many people refer to the hot wind of summer, known locally as "Tapao Wind" as the kite wind, as it coincides with the kite-flying season. Sanam Luang Royal Parade Ground, adjacent to the Grand Palace of the King during this time is full of colours as kite enthusiasts gather here to fly their kites.

For this colourful event, a Thailand International Kites Festival was eventually introduced to take place in March each year with the purpose to promote and preserve kite-flying as part of the national heritage. The Festival truned out to be a great success having attracted huge crowds of kite flyers and those interested in the sport.

Kite-flying was introduced to Thailand during the Sukhothai period.However , the first ever recorded kite-flying contest was held under the auspices of King Chulalongkorn whose "King's Cup" was awarded to the winner of the contest.

Kites from each country have their own unique looks, shapes and colours which help distinguish one from the other. At the Thailand International Kites Festival, more than 20 countries from seven continents are represented with kites of great variety and originality. Amoung the participating kites are Chula and Pukpao kites from Thailand, Megabyte from Newzealand,Japan's string of 1,000 kites, stunt kites from America and those from India , Malaysia, Singapore, England and Australia.

As Kite flyers from around the world gather, the crowds will have the opportunity to marvel at the encounter of the Chula and pakpao kites in mid air. Of course, on top of the spectacular exhibition of kites from around the world the Festival offers many other activities of interest at Sanam Luang beginning at 10:00 am. until dusk. More details about the Festival is available from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The 1997 Thailand International Kite Festival brings 140 flyers and half a million spectators to downtown Bangkok.

Bangkok Songkran Festival
Bangkok Songkran Festival
Bangkok Songkran Festival
Date : 13-15 April 2013
Location : Nationwide

The traditional Thai New Year is an occasion for merriment all over the city, but most notably at Sanam Luang, near the Grand Palace, where the revered Phra Phuttha Sihing image is displayed and bathed by devotees. In the Wisutkasat area, a Miss Songkran beauty contest is held and accompanied by merry-making and entertainment. Khao San Road degenerates into a war zone as farangs and locals duke it out with super soakers.
Visakha Buddha Bucha Festival
Visakha Buddha Bucha Festival
Visakha Buddha Bucha Festival
Date : 24 May 2013
Location : Sanam Luang, Phranakhon District, Bangkok

Decorated processions on Visakha Bucha Day of government and private working units and exhibition about Visakha Bucha Day, contest of flower bush Trays, Contest of Soraphanya Reciting.
Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2010
Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2010
Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2010
Date : 1-4 August 2013
Location : Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Bangkok

Thailand's annual "Amazing Thailand Grand Sale" got underway this month and continues to offer visitors great bargains right through to 31 August.

This year, as fuel prices escalate, both visitors and residents are looking for more value and bigger discounts when they are shopping. Thailand never disappoints.

Most mega stores and shopping malls are offering discounts of between 10 to 70%, so there are bargains galore for the shopper prepared to browse around the stores.
Fortunately, most of Bangkok's major shopping malls and stores are located close to the city's skytrain or metro transport systems, making it very convenient to hop from one store to the next.

Both the Sky train and the Metro, offer day use stored-value cards for visitors to make it even more convenient to use the two systems. Bangkok's main shopping districts and streets are to be found along Ploenchit and Sukhumvit roads.

Many of the department stores have direct bridge linking them to Skytrain stations. Just a short walk from the Skytrain stations and visitors discover some pretty impressive department stores and shopping plazas namely Siam Discovery Centre, Siam Centre, Erawan Bangkok, Amarin Plaza, Gaysorn, Central Chidlom, Home Pro Plus, Robinson Department Store, The Emporium and The Mall Department Store.

Discounts are also available in King Power duty free shops, both at Suvarnabhumi Airport and downtown locations. There are even discount deals on luxury treatments at spas, a round of golf at a selection of courses at all major tourist destinations, travel packages and even medical check-ups at world-class hospitals.

Spotlight on Bangkok's Film Festival
Spotlight on Bangkok's Film Festival
Spotlight on Bangkok's Film Festival
Date : 24-30 September
Location : Bangkok

Now in its seventh year the curtain will rise on the annual Bangkok Film Festival, 24 to 30 September, in the heart of Bangkok's downtown swank shopping district. The spectacular event promises to deliver more than 80 exciting films with the focus on a new generation of film makers particularly from throughout Asia.

The event is co-hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, with the gala opening set in the forecourt of the upscale Central World shopping mall.

The opening ceremony promises to be an extravagant affair reflecting classical art and Thai heritage, while the welcome dinner will be hosted near the Chao Phraya River to accentuate the city's rich and historical ambience.

Other events and film showings will be at various venues including Paragon Cineplex, Siam Paragon Shopping Complex, SF World Cinema and Central World.

Thailand has for decades earned a reputation as superb location for shooting international movies. A Google search of movies shot on location, in part or whole, in the country confirms its popularity with over 700 examples. Its popularity as movie location has helped to ensure that the local film industry has also prospered and improved in quality.

This development is reflected in comments made recently to Hollywood's foremost entertainment publication, Variety, which interviewed, Jareuk Kaljareuk, chairman of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, who also acts as the festival director.

He said: "The Thai film industry has expanded both in its technological advances, its professional skills and its artistic development. It is ready to take its place as a leading member of the international filmmaking community."

Although still to be confirmed, the possible contenders for the Golden Kinnaree Awards, according to Variety, are: Canadian helmer Xavier Dolan's "I Killed My Mother," which won three out of four prizes at Cannes' Directors' Fortnight; Jacques Audiard's Cannes' Grand Prix winner "A Prophet"; Lukas Moodysson's thriller "Mammoth"; and "Burma VJ" by Danish documentary maker Anders Ostergaard.

The Golden Kinaree Awards will be held at Chatrium Suites, a Dusit Group hotel in Bangkok.

Popular action actor, Jean Claude Van Damme, will attend the festival. He is no stranger to Thailand having first visited the country to star in the movie, The Quest, shot on location at the Mountain Inn hotel in Mae Hong Son back in 1996. At this year's film festival he will introduce his latest film "Until Death".

Other international movie stars attending the event include Byung-Hun Lee, the Korean star who had a role in the blockbuster movie G.I. Joe and Armand Assante, well known for his action movies over the last two decades.
Ok Phansa & Thot Kathin
Ok Phansa & Thot Kathin
Ok Phansa & Thot Kathin
Date : October
Location : Nationwide

Ok Phansa celebrates the end of the Rains Retreat and introduces the Kathin period when, throughout Thailand, the Buddhist laity present monks with new robes and other items deemed necessary for the monkhood's upkeep during the forthcoming monastic year.
Loi Krathong and Candle Festival
Loi Krathong and Candle Festival
Loi Krathong and Candle Festival
Date : November
Location : Nationwide

Loy Krathong occurs o n the night of the full moon in November. People go to rivers and canals to float Kratongs – small floats made of cork and banana leaves - to thank the rivers for their bounty and support throughout the year, and as a means of making merit and gaining good luck. Each Kratong has a flower, a candle and three incense sticks - the candles and incense sticks are lit before placing the Krathong in the water and making a wish. The sight of hundreds of candles floating down the river is quite something! Pure Thailand!
Bangkok Marathon draws a record turnout
Bangkok Marathon draws a record turnout
Bangkok Marathon draws a record turnout
Date : 22nd November
Location : Front of Wat Phra Kaew on Sanamchai road, Bangkok

The Standard Charter Bangkok Marathon, 22 November, is now a firm fixture on the Asian marathon circuit attracting top runners and thousands of enthusiasts many of whom travel with their families for a welcome holiday at the close of the race.

But before the holiday can begin, runners need to cover 42 km on a course that wends its way through historical districts, past city landmarks, such as the National Museum and the Chao Phraya River to a finishing line in front of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha) on Sanan Chai Road, close to the vast parade ground known as Sanam Luang.

On two scores, this marathon is special. It attracts an enormous turnout of more than 50,000 participants, at all fitness levels and categories. It is also one of the few marathons in Asia that beats the tropical heat by starting at 0200, when Bangkok's usually grid-lock streets are almost deserted.

The event has a time limit of seven hours for all participants with staggered starts that take into account the various performance levels of the runners. For example, runners who estimate they can finish the course in five to seven hours assemble at the starting line on the road next to the Grand Palace at 0200. They have to be back at the same point by 0900, the cut-off time for all participants.

Wheelchair participants in the full marathon start at 0320, while elite runners with times of less than five hours leave at 0330.

It makes for a very sensible and healthy solution that beats most of the heat and humidity with the last participants crossing the finish line three hours after sunrise at the very latest. The event has some high powered support from Tourism Authority of Thailand, National Jogging Association of Thailand, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and they have determined that this event should show case the city's tourism appeal and be open to the widest possible participation.

Not surprisingly, the event has a strong appeal to not only semi professionals racing for gold and enthusiasts determined to improve on their best times, but also to ordinary folk, who have set themselves an easier goal related to their favourite sport of jogging.

There are five categories including the 42.195-km Marathon; 42.195-km wheelchair. For those who are less ambitious they can join a 10.55-km quarter marathon, which is no mean feat as the pace is much faster and competition tough at all age levels. To appeal to the widest audience possible there is also a 5 km Walk-Fun Run and a Walk for Health and Environment. The award ceremony starts at 0800 for the marathon itself followed by presentations to winners in all other categories
Annual Flower Show
Annual Flower Show
Annual Flower Show
Date : November 26 - 29
Location : Bangkok

Activities :
- Floral Hat Exhibition by 30 celebrities
- Exclusive performance by "Nuvo"
- Shopping Extravaganza - over 50 shops at the Hotel and The Promanade
- Unwind at "The Terrace By Singha", while listening to Koh Mr. Saxman, Odd Kiriboon and Ekkchai Srivichai
- Customise your own handbag and notebook
- Cooking classes, flower arrangement classes by Sakchai Guy, Sakul Intakul and Chitra Konuntakiet and many more

Admission : 100 baht
Proceeds to benefit the education of students at Umphang Wittayakom School in Tak Province.
Beer Garden Festival
Beer Garden Festival
Beer Garden Festival
Date : November
Location : Major Ratchayothin, etc.
November is the start of Thailand's annual beer garden season, where tables and chairs are brought out onto the street and Singha, Heineken, and a welter of other beers are available on tap!

A lot of places make a tremendous effort to make this time of year a great experience, with many venues setting up a stage and offering live music (including pop and jazz) and spectacular sound and light shows.
Thailand's New Year Countdown celebrations
Thailand's New Year Countdown celebrations
Thailand's New Year Countdown celebrations
Date : 31 December
Location : Bangkok

Thais know how to party. Some might say at the drop of a hat. A party brings out the best in national identity – a broad genuine Thai smile. So should we be surprised that Thailand is a favoured venue to celebrate New Year? This is the land of smiles and "sanook".

Whether the countdown is in Bangkok, Phuket or a far northern destination, the celebrations will carry the hallmarks of fun and genuine hospitality that make the country such a rewarding destination to visit.

Of course, Bangkok has a mission to fulfill. It aspires to make its 2010 New Year Countdown a mega-celebration, on par with the biggest and brightest in Asia Pacific.