Festivals and Holidays

Magha Bucha
Makha Bucha celebrates the Buddha's first sermon to his disciples.
Chinese New Year The beginning of the Chinese lunar year is widely celebrated - with festive meals, devotions and fireworks. As the Thai embrace its Chinese heritage this festival becomes more widely celebrated - at the very leats most people will light firecrackers in the early morning.
Chakri Memorial Chakri Day commemorates the founding of the current dynasty, Rama I.
Visakha Bucha The holiest Buddhist holiday celebrates the birth, enlightenment + entry into nirvana of Buddha.


Songkran celebrates the Thai New Year with
good natured water throwing throughout the Kingdom. Traditionally the gentle pouring of a small amount of water over someone's shoulder was to wash away the past year so as to come into the new year cleansed. On Samui this festival lasts only 1 maybe 2 days -unlike Chiangmai where it continues for several days. Never-the-less be prepared to get wet if not thoroughly drenched.
Asarnha Bucha + Khao Phansa This day marks
the beginning of the Buddhist 'lent' period, when monks retreat to their temples.


Chulalongkorn Memorial Celebrates the life of Rama V one of Thailand's most revered kings.
Loy Kratong people make small floats from
banana leaves + flowers to contain incense, candles and maybe a lock of hair or finger nail clippings. These are launched on waterways all over Thailand. These floating shrines symbolise the cleansing of the past and pay homage to Mother Water. Wishes are made when the floats are launched at night. On Samui Chaweng Lake
is a favourite spot to set these kratong afloat. A lively fair is held along the Nathon township waterfront.


Samui seems to stay open day after day. So it may come as a surprise to some travellers they are visiting during a holiday. Most of us know about Songkran and Loy Kratong. But there are a number of other public holidays and festivals celebrated in Thailand. Note that bars, with the exception of those in hotels, are closed on the evening of the King and Queen's birthdays, religious festivals and the night before political elections - though this rule is less strictly enforced nowadays. But be prepared for a quiet night.