It is important to look at the list of Thailand Public Holidays when you are planning a trip. There are several festivals that are celebrated around the country, during which time it can get really crowded, and you will find banks and public offices closed during the time. Hotels, restaurants and transport may be more crowded than usual since even the Thais take time off during these public holidays to get away from the cities or to visit their families. Here is a month-wise list of the Thailand public holidays for 2013, to help you plan your vacation better.
New Year’s Day – Tuesday, 1st January 2013
Although this is more a western holiday, since it follows the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day is one of the public holidays Thailand celebrates.
Chinese New Year – Sunday, 10th February 2013
This is one of the Thailand Public holidays that does not affect the country as a whole, as it is not a national holiday. The Chinese New Year is a traditional Chinese festival that is celebrated worldwide, wherever there is an influence of Chinese immigrants. In Thailand, every city has its own Chinatown where this holiday is celebrated. Most businesses in the area are closed for the day. You will get to witness ceremonies, processions and firework displays.
Makha Bucha – Monday, 25th February 2013
Makha Bucha is a Buddhist religious festival that is celebrated all over Thailand. It holds special significance among the Thailand Public holidays since the majority of the Thai population follows Buddhism. It is believed that it was on this day 2500 years ago that Buddhism came to Thailand when 1250 monks were ordained by the Buddha. In most cities, you will see monks performing ceremonial rituals in the temples at dusk and candlelight processions on the street, as a way of observing veneration.
Chakri Day – Saturday, 6th April 2013
Chakri Day is a public holiday Thailand celebrates to commemorate the rule of the Chakri dynasty. It was on this day in 1782 that Bangkok was founded by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (also known as King Rama I). In Bangkok, the present ruler, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is the ninth king of the dynasty, along with other members of the royal family performs ceremonial rituals for his ancestors and leads a procession to lay a wreath under the statue of King Rama I at the Memorial Bridge.
Chakri Day – Monday, 8th April 2013
This day is the substitution day Chakri Day as this year the official Chakri day falls on a weekend.
Songkran – Friday, 12th April to Tuesday, 16th April 2013
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year and one of the most widely celebrated Thailand public holidays. Also known as the Water Festival, it is celebrated over three days. During this time be prepared to get drenched as you walk on the streets as the whole country turns into a venue for water splashing, symbolic of washing away the sins of the previous year. In some places such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai, the celebrations extend over a week. This is a time when Thais travel back home to be with their families, so transport can get really crowded. This includes the Monday and Tuesday as substitution days for public holidays as 2 of the normal Songkran holidays fall on a weekend this year.
Thailand Labour Day – Wednesday, 1st May 2013
The International Labour day, which is celebrated the world over, is also one of the national holidays in Thailand.
Coronation Day– Sunday, 5th May 2013
This is a day that marks the commemoration of the coronation day of the present king in 1949. On this public holiday Thailand celebrates, the King dresses in full regalia. Buddhist monks are fed. Decorations are bestowed on citizens for meritorious contributions, and the Thai Army and Navy fire 21 gun salutes in honour of the King.
Coronation Day– Monday, 6th May 2013
This day is the substitution day Coronation Day as this year the official Coronation day falls on a weekend.
Ploughing Ceremony – Monday, 13th May 2013
Since a large percentage of the Thai Population is involved in farming, the ploughing ceremony is among important Thailand public holidays. There are actually two ceremonies that take place during this festival – one Buddhist and the other Brahmin. Both involve rituals that bless the plants and pray for a bountiful crop the next year.
Visakha Bucha – Friday, 24th May 2013
This Buddhist holiday is an important memorial day for Buddhism, which celebrates the three significant events in the life of the Buddha – his birth, enlightenment and attainment of nirvana. This is one of the national holidays in Thailand that has religious significance and has also been declared a World Heritage Day by UNESCO.
Asanha Bucha Day – Monday, 22nd July 2013
Asanha Bucha is also one of the Thailand public holidays, which has a religious connotation. It is celebrated to mark the day when Buddha began his teachings as it was on this day, centuries ago that he shared his experience of enlightenment with his disciples.
Buddhist Lent Day – Tuesday, 23rd July 2013
This day, which is also referred to as Khao Phansa, marks the commencement of a three month period of lent, usually at the onset of the rainy season, when Buddhist monks retreat to temples or Wats for spiritual renewal. It is a time spent in study and reflection. This is one of the national holidays in Thailand.
Queen's Birthday – Monday, 12th August 2013
The birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is an important day for the people of Thailand. The day is also celebrated as national Mother’s day in the country and is on the list of Thailand Public holidays as a mark of respect for the beloved queen.
Wan Awk Phansa Day – Saturday, 19th October 2013
This national holiday marks the end of the Buddhist lent period and usually marks the end of the rains. It is believed that on this day, the Buddha returned after a three month period spent visiting his mother in heaven. On this public holiday Thailand observes, Buddhists go to the temples for merit making.
Chulalongkorn Day – Wednesday, 23rd October 2013
This national holiday celebrates the life of King Chulalongkorn or Rama V, who is considered one of the greatest monarchs and was responsible for bringing about social and economic reforms in Thailand. The anniversary of his death is observed as one of the Thailand public holidays.
Loy Kratong – Saturday, 17th November 2013
One of the prettiest festivals celebrated in Thailand, Loy Krathong is a day when the Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on waterways throughout the country. Since this is an evening festival, it is not on the list of Thailand public holidays. However, if you are planning a trip to Thailand in November, it is worth trying to plan your trip to coincide with the festival.
King's Birthday – Thursday, 5th December 2013
The Thais have a lot of respect for all their kings. The birthday of the present ruler, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is one of the national holidays in Thailand. It is also celebrated as Father’s Day throughout the country.
Constitution Day – Tuesday, 10th December 2013
This day is celebrated annually to mark the commencement of Thailand’s transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, in 1932. As with other Thailand public holidays, this is a day when the public shows respect to their king. Photographs and pictures of the king are on display throughout the streets, and the national flag is hoisted atop government offices and most private buildings.
New Year’s Eve – Tuesday, 31st December 2013
This is the last day of the western calendar and also features on the list of Thailand public holidays as a national holiday.
The good thing is that most of the attractions and shops remain open even during national holidays in Thailand. However, you may have to face certain inconveniences such as not being able to change your currency at a bank or not being allowed to buy alcohol from the shops. Knowing if any of the Thailand public holidays fall during your visit can help you prepare for any eventuality.
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