Central - Festivals and events


Bang Sai Folk Arts & Crafts Fair

Basket-work at Bang SaiEach year, a festival is held in January at the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Center in Ayutthaya. The fair showcases, Thailand's cottage industries and craft products, and allows visitors the opportunity to buy locally made products, view demonstrations of Thai folk arts, and enjoy live entertainments.

The Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Center is a part of the SUPPORT Foundation (Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques), under the Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

Set on an area of 285 rai (14 acres), this Royally supported art and craft center is located at Bung Yai, Bang Sai District, 24 km from Bang Pa-in. The center offers a glimpse of how farmers in the four regions of Thailand live and work, and how Thai folk arts and crafts are produced. It also offers training to farmers and villagers in folk arts and crafts as a means to keep traditional art forms alive.

Products and activities on view include fern vien basketry, woven basketry, artificial flowers, hand-woven silk and cotton, silk dyeing, wood carving, miniature hand-modeled dolls, furniture production and cloth-made products. The products are sold at the center and all branches of Chitrlada Stores.

To get there, take a bus from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Tel +66 2 272-0299) or take a boat up the Chao Phraya River. The center is open 8.30 am to 4.00 pm daily except Monday.


Getting Soaked at SongkranOne of the high spots of the Thai calendar is the annual New Year celebration, or Songkran, which falls on or around April 13, when the sun moves into Aries. This national holiday lasts for three days or more. The word 'Songkran' originates from the Sanskrit meaning 'beginning of the solar year'. The holiday-loving Thais therefore get to celebrate New Year three times each year: the Western New Year on January 1, the Chinese New Year in February, and the Thai New Year in April.

Traditionally, Thais visit temples at this time of year to offer food to the monks and to participate in bathing ceremonies for Buddha images. At home, young people pour scented water into the hands of their parents and elders as a mark of respect and to receive the blessing of the older folk.

The temples and ruins of Ayutthaya present a beautiful backdrop for the Thai New Year. The town puts on a special light and sound presentation with a spectacular display of fireworks over the old town for Songkran. Boat tours around the island-town are organized by the provincial administration. To enjoy Songkran in a very traditional setting, Ayutthaya is well worth the short traveling time from Bangkok.

Loy Kratong

Traditional Loy KratongNovember's festival of light, or 'Loy Kratong', is one of the best-known events in the Thai festival calendar. The event is at its most beautiful and spectacular at Ayutthaya, the town at the confluence of the Pasak, Lopburi and Chao Phraya Rivers.

Loy Kratong is held on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month. The festival is thought to have originated in Sukhothai in the 13th century when a young queen named Nang Noppamas floated the first 'kratong' offering to the deities of the river. Today people add coins, candles and incense to 'kratong', elaborately fashioned from banana leaves and a section of banana trunk. Folklore has it that couples who float a kratong together are destined to become lovers one day.

In Ayutthaya, the main celebrations take place on Beung Phra Ram, the large lake between Wat Phra Ram and Wat Mahathat. Music, dance and 'likay' performances are organized, along with spectacular fireworks displays.

Another site for the celebrations is at the Chan Kasem Pier. The celebrations here are quieter and closer to the traditional. Thai families come here to launch their kratong onto the river, either from the riverbank or from a boat in mid channel.

Bang Sai, 24 km west of Ayutthaya town, is one of the most beautiful sites for the Loy Kratong celebrations. This is the site of the Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Center and, as might be expected, the celebrations tend to be more traditional, with kratong made from eco-friendly natural materials.

Ayutthaya Historical Park

Phra Si Sanphet TempleDuring December, Ayutthaya celebrates the splendor and glory of its past with displays of traditional culture and lifestyles, various entertainments, and a memorable light and sound show - all with the fitting backdrop of Ayutthaya's ancient ruins and temples.

The Ayutthaya Historical Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. The Park covers much of the old town of present-day Ayutthaya and includes most of the important temple and palace ruins from the Ayutthaya Era (1350 to 1767).


River Khwae Bridge Week

Light and Sound Spectacular at Kanchanaburi Every year in late November to early December, a week-long festival is held in Kanchanaburi to commemorate the final bombing and destruction of the infamous bridge over the River Khwae. The spectacular pyrotechnic show attracts thousands of tourists for the week, and it may be difficult finding a place to stay in Kanchanaburi.

The Bridge over the Khwae has been popularized in numerous novels and films since the end of the war. Spanning the Khwae Yai River, about 3 km north of Kanchanaburi town center, the iron bridge is part of the 'Death Railway', built by the Japanese during World War II as a supply route linking Thailand and Burma. Allied prisoners of war and Asian slave laborers built the railway through dense mosquito-infested forests and mountainous terrain. An estimated 16,000 prisoners of war and 100,000 Asian coolies perished as a result of brutal treatment, starvation, disease and exhaustion during the 16 months it took to complete the 415-km railway.

Allied bombs destroyed the original bridge in 1945. The black iron structure that stands today was built after the war and is still in use. A small train museum in front of the bridge has some of the original war-time engines on display.

In addition to the light and sound show, the festival features historical and archeological exhibitions, a carnival, folk and cultural performances and rides on vintage World War II trains.

The Bridge over the Khwae is easily reached by songthaew from the town center or by train from Kanchanaburi or Bangkok. The drive from Bangkok takes about two hours.


Pranakorn Khiri Fair, Khao Wang Fair

Khao Wang Fair in the nightEvery April Phetchaburi hosts the Pranakorn Khiri (also known as Khao Wang) Fair, on the famous hill overlooking the town of Phetchaburi. In this festival, tourists can appreciate the illuminated Khao Wang at night, and browse around for locally produced goods.

The main attractions are light & sound presentations and Thai classical drama, celebrating the local history. Folk music and plays such as likae, lakhon chatri, shadow plays, hun krabog (bamboo puppets) and cow racing can be seen. Cultural demonstrations are given, such as cooking of khao chare and desserts, stucco molding - a traditional art of Phetchaburi, mural painting and the lifestyles of the Thai Song Dam people. The activities offer an easy way to get to know Phetchaburi's culture and people.

Please see Pranakorn Khiri Historical Park (Khao Wang), for more details.

Chomphu Phet and Tha Yang Products' Fair

Chomphu PhetFebruary to May is the season for Phetchaburi's famous fruits, especially its rose apples or 'chomphu phet'. To celebrate the harvest and promote the delicious fruit, a fair is organized every year at Tha Yang District. The fair is usually held at the Health Garden of Tha Yang District where most of the fruit orchards are located. In addition to Thailand's best 'chomphu phet' - the sweet and luscious rose apples, visitors can buy other top-quality fruit, such as maprang, a plum-like fruit, the little-known mayongchid, limes and bananas.

Thai Song Dam's New Year Celebration

Thai Song Dam (Lao Song)'s performancePhetchaburi is home to the Thai Song Dam, a distinctive ethnic group originally from Laos. Every April, for the traditional Thai New Year, Thai Song Dam from Ratchaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Suphanburi, Phichit, Surat Thani and elsewhere converge on the Cultural Center in Khao Yoi District of Phetchaburi to hold their New Year celebrations. Merit-making ceremonies are performed at the village and native costumes are brought out for this special occasion. Rarely seen folk music and plays are held at this unique event.

Prachuab Khiri Khan

Paying Homage to A Buddha Relic Fair at Khao Chong Krajok

Temple on Mirror MountainEvery June 12, Paying Homage to A Buddha Relic Fair is held at Mirror Mountain (or 'Khao Chong Krajok') where the temple is located at the hilltop. This temple enshrines a Buddha relic and a Buddha footprint that was greatly respected by local Buddhist and others. In this fair, people set a ceremony and cover around the pagoda with blankets to pay homage to a Buddha relic. When staying at the hilltop, visitors can see the beautiful scenic of Prachuab Bay, that's a reward of your footstep up to the hill.

Hua Hin Food Festival

Streetfood at Hua HinHua Hin's famous food festival is held at the end of November. Here you can try out some of the region's best food and fresh seafood, as well as popular dishes and sweets from nearby provinces such as Phetchaburi. Food contests, cooking demonstrations, fresh seafood stalls and night bazaars are the main draws at this popular festival in the seaside resort of Hua Hin.

The Brave Men's Remembering Fair at Manao Bay

Manao BayTo remind of the brave men in the Japanese Army's invasion during the Second World War, on December 8, 1941. Every December 7-10, the Brave Men's Remembering Fair is set at Manao Bay, within the 53rd Squadron. Many interesting things can be found in the fair such as the technological exhibition of the Thai Squadron's each department, a lot of stalls providing local products and Thai performance.

Article Source: http://www.thailand.com

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