NOTE: This is a guest post
Thinking of heading to Thailand in the near future? There’s so much to get involved with in the Asian nation, but one of the most exciting prospects comes in the form of the many different types of festivals you’ll find hosted throughout the course of the year. Today, let’s take a look at five amazing festivals you simply have to visit on your travels of Thailand.
National Elephant Day
The title says it all with this one. Elephants have been an iconic and important symbol of Thailand for centuries, so it only stood to reason they would be given their own national day of celebration in 1998.
Photo by Jen Hunter via Flickr
For a 24-hour period the elephants found in local zoos and sanctuaries are treated like kings – with gigantic banquets of fruit and sugar cane hosted totally for them. The ceremony is said to bring good luck to both the elephants themselves and their handlers.
The Thai are nothing if not creative. From elephants to rockets, this festival was originally created in order to convince the Gods to make love – with the thought process being that would encourage crops to grow more freely. Sounds legit, right?
The sizes of the rockets will vary greatly – with some reaching sizes which can even be comparable with bombs. In fact, in 1999 a 120kg rocket would explode just 50 meters above the ground, killing five people and wounding a further 11. Don’t let that put you off however, with safety heightened at the event drastically since then.
Buffalo Racing Festival
Chonburi plays host to one of the more unique global festivals held every year, in the form of the amazing prize buffalo races. It’s believed the tradition started when local farmers got bored after bringing their animals to market at the end of the rainy season.
Photo by Karunakar Rayker via Flickr
Across the past 100 years, the quirky races have transformed into a festival which is looked forward to on an annual basis. The contests are now a spectator sport, which are said to bring in a lot of money to the local community every 12 months.
Songkran Water Festivals
The Songkran Water festival is easily one of the most fun you’re likely to find scattered throughout Thailand. This special occasion sees people taking to the streets armed with buckets and water guns, with the region said to be totally transformed into one gigantic water fight during this period of April.
You’d be smart to leave you valuable electronic items at home, or at least zipped up tightly inside a plastic bag to prevent them suffering from water damage. What’s most important when it comes to this festival however, is remembering to have fun.
Monkey Banquet Festival
From elephants to monkeys, the Thai people are certainly keen to celebrate their native species. In Lopburi the monkeys will take over on the last Sunday of every November, as they’re presented with a relative smorgasbord of delicious simian treats.
Photo by Adam Baker via Flickr
While the monkeys are the natural selling point of the event, it’s hardly a surprise the primary aim is to bring as many tourists as possible to the area to witness the spectacle (and hopefully spend some of their hard-earned cash).
Do any of these amazing Thai festivals grab your fancy? Try one out for yourself when you’re next in the country. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.