5 festivals with a fantastic vibe Bangkok

Rob Bua Lotus Throwing Festival

Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai,
Moo 11, Bang Phli Yai,
Samut Prakan Province
+66 (0)32 471 502
www.watbangpleeyainai.org

This festival celebrates the end of the rainy season and pays homage to Buddha images that are carried by boat. What makes it special is that everyone throws lotus flowers at the images and into the canal, turning it into a giant flower throwing melee.

Chinese New Year

Yaowarat Road

Bangkok’s immense Thai-Chinese community ensures this is one of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in Asia. You can see traditional Chinese opera performed, watch dragon parades, and all of Chinatown turns into a massive street party full of great food and entertainment, with colourful shrines packed with worshippers as well.

Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival

Moo 3, Wat Lamut-Nara
Phirom Road, Nakhon Chai Sri
Nakhon Pathom Province (west of Bangkok)
+66 (0)34 389 333
 

Every March this temple holds a bizarre ritual whereby devotees come to ‘recharge’ their mystical ‘sak yant’ tattoos, purported to protect them from harm. They go into trances, and then proceed to act out their tattoos, which range from tigers to hermits to birds. The temple was made famous when Angelina Jolie got a tattoo here.

Vegetarian Festival

Best to see in Phuket or in Bangkok Chinatown

This festival celebrates the Chinese emperor gods, with much of the city going vegetarian for the week. Of more interest to tourists will be the practices of devotees putting sharp objects through their cheeks and parading through the streets in one of the more macabre rites on the planet.

Songkran

Held throughout Thailand
www.songkranday.com

Thais celebrate their New Year in April, and do so by hosting the world’s biggest water fight. While traditionally a religious holiday in which Buddha images had water poured on them symbolising the washing away of sin, these days it includes water pistols out in the street, with everyone being fair game. Given that it is at the hottest time of year, it’s a welcome relief for most folks.

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