Koh Samui Travel Guides

January

Buffalo Fighting Festival Unlike bullfights in Spain, Samui’s bulls are not killed and fight each other instead of a sword-wielding man. Buffalo fights are held on special occasions such as New Year’s Day and during Songkran in mid April. The animals are decorated with jazzy ribbons and gold painted leaves on their horns. Holy water is used to bless the bulls before the fights. On fight days, two rounds are organized, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The bull fighting stadium is located in Nathon town.

Children’s Day On the second Saturday in January every year, there is a special celebration for children. Many attractions let children enter for free or half price on this day.

April

Songkran The most frenetic festival in the country is that of Songkran, the Lunar New Year and all-around national water fight. Held from the 13th to 15th April each year…it’s a wet one! Traditionally it was celebrated by Buddha images being bathed with water and the showing of respect to monks and elders. From the sprinkling of water onto someone’s hands it has evolved into mass drenching for anyone who decides to venture outdoors. This has to be one of the friendliest, though wet, festivals anywhere and a great way to make new friends. Around Bangkok’s Khao San Road, Songkran lasts up to 9 days!

Keep cameras and cell phones protected if you participate in Songkran…nothing is spared if you get a dousing!

May

Buddha’s Birthday On 15 May local Wats (Buddhist Temples) celebrate by holding candlelit processions. A tourist may take part in these parades and it can prove great fun.

August

The Queen’s Birthday on 12 August is also Thailand’s Mother’s Day. As with all royal anniversaries this celebration guarantees a firework display.

November

Loy Kratong Some of the most beautiful sights are the festivities relating to the annual festival of Loy Kratong held on November’s full moon. All over the country, little floats (kratong) are made from banana trunks, flowers and candles and set afloat on the water. This symbolizes the casting away of troubles and a call for a happy future. As the moon rises in the evening people converge around bodies of water throughout the country to release their kratongs. In some areas large paper hot-air balloons are released.

December

The King’s Birthday is 5 December. The King is much revered throughout Thailand, and all Thais celebrate his birthday and government buildings, private homes, businesses and the palace are all illuminated specially for the occasion. In Phuket, they hold a regatta in his honour.

Official National Holidays

January 1 - New Year’s Day
February (full moon day) - Makka
April 6 - Chakri Day
April 13 - Songkran, Thai New Year
May 1 - Labour Day
May 5 - Coronation Day
May (full moon day) - Visakha Bucha
July (full moon day) - Asanha Bucha commemorates the first sermon of Buddha
August 12 - Queen’s Birthday
October 23 - Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 - King’s Birthday
December 10 - Constitution Day
December 31 - New Year’s Eve