FOR visitors to Thailand, travelling to see one of these festivals is one of the best ways to experience authentic Thai culture.

Songkran Thai New Year, 13-15 April

Songkran Festival is Thai New Year’s national holiday and an event where water parties and fights break out in the streets of towns and villages day and night. For locals, it is a time for family, paying respects to the past while welcoming the new year and visiting temples. Some of the best locations to celebrate the Songkran Festival are Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Hat Yai.

Loi Krathong, November

Loi Krathong is celebrated on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month, which is usually November. The annual festival comes from the tradition of making krathongs or decorated baskets, from banana stalk and leaf or coconut shell and decorated with incense, offerings, flowers and candles. The boats are then floated out to pay respect and thank the water spirits as well as to apologise to rivers and streams for pollution and for their use of water. In Chiang Mai, Loi Krathong is also celebrated alongside Yi Peng, a lantern festival.

Bun Bung Fai (Rocket) Festival, May or June

The rocket festival is celebrated in the Northeast as the rainy season begins. Known as Bun Bung Fai, the festival is seen as a way of encouraging the rains to fall and to help the local rice crops to grow. The celebrations involve the firing of homemade rockets up into the sky with teams competing against each other. There are also parades with floats and displays of traditional costume and dancing.

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