Thai Holidays thailand holidays festivals

Thai Holidays you should know

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 528 0

All Thai holidays are very colorful, eventful and bring the whole community together. Definitely a great way to get culturally educated.

All Thai holidays are very colorful, eventful and bring the whole community together. Definitely a great way to get culturally educated.

It is to be noted that Thais have these days off, so not many businesses are in action. Therefore transport, banks, shops will not be open.

(It is recommended not to travel during these holidays).

Also on a few events, especially to do with the Royal family, there will be no alcohol served.

New Year’s Day – 1st Jan

New Year’s Day was originally observed on 15th March in the old Roman Calendar. However despite the different religions and calendars, this is still celebrated.

On Koh Phangan

Full Moon Beach (Haad Rin Beach) is the place to be for the countdown. Replicating the Full Moon Parties there are usually more then 30,000 people of this beach, dancing and drinking, waiting for the New Year to begin.

Full Moon Beach (Haad Rin Beach) is the place to be for the countdown. Replicating the Full Moon Parties there are usually more then 30,000 people of this beach, dancing and drinking, waiting for the New Year to begin.

Beach bars play music from different genres; hip-hop, trance, house, dance …

Fit with a beautiful display of fireworks and a huge crowd counting down in unison, this will be a hard place to beat on this date.

Click here – For more info on what it will be like, visit our Full Moon Party page.

Top Tip – Book you accommodation in advance as the prices rocket around this high season.

Feb 05: Chinese New Year – 5th February 2019

Chinese New Year is celebrated by a quarter of the world’s population. It will be a public holiday in several countries in East Asia.

There is no set date, (it changes every year). Chinese New Year ranges from January 21 to February 20

There is a small population of Chinese heritage, here on Koh Penang. A few Chinese Buddhist temples around the island. Not to mention Chinese walking street with the local small shops. So you will see the traditional yellow and red decorations and festive events over the dates.

Traditions

The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself ancient and obscured by the amount of time. It is popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.

On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbours.

Fun Fact – The Chinese decorate everything red for Chinese New Year

Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red.

In traditional Chinese culture, firecrackers were originally used to scare away evil spirits. (This can be set off as early as 7am! So wear the ear plugs).

As the legend goes, a monster called Nian would come out to eat villagers and destroy their houses on each New Year’s Eve. The villagers discovered that burning dry bamboo to produce an explosive sound scared away the monster.

Food

Traditional foods eaten during the Spring festival are fish (the Chinese word for ‘fish’ sounds like the word for ‘surplus,’ so the eating of fish is supposed to bring a surplus of money and good luck); Chinese dumplings (as their shape is said to be like that of silver ingots, which were used as money in ancient Chinese); spring rolls; rice cakes and rice balls.


Fun Fact – You eat dumplings for every meal, every day

Songkran Festival – 13th-15th April

The Songkran festival is the traditional Thai New Year’s Day and is most know to be the biggest water festival in the world, consisting of huge water parties all over the country.

It is a Buddhists tradition so it is also celebrated in neighboring countries, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Burma.

Traditions

Songkran is often known as the Thai Water Festival. The custom originates from spring cleaning aspect of Songkran. Part of the ritual was the cleaning of images of Buddha. Using the ‘blessed’ water that cleaned the images to soak other people is seen as a way of paying respect and bring good fortune.

April is the hottest part of the year in Thailand, so being soaked is a refreshing escape from the heat and humidity.

Nowadays Thais will walk the streets having ‘water fights’ using containers of water or water guns, or stand at the side of roads with a hose and soak any one who passes by.

You may also get covered in chalk, a custom originating from the chalk used by monks to mark blessings. This combination of water and powder is almost identical to the celebrations of Holi, and indeed, it maybe that the customs originated in India as certainly Songkran is celebrated more widely and longer in the Northern part of Thailand.

Here on Koh Phangan

The area to be in is Thong Sala where the bulk of the water fights will be happening. However if you are driving around you should expect kids (and adults) on the side of the road waiting for you to get a soaking.

A great idea is to hire a truck and have your store of water in the back of the truck, ready to spray everyone.

Driving

Driving bikes is NOT advised, as the roads are very slippy due to the water and many accidents happen. So if you want a good Songkran to remember, stick to walking.

Prepare to get very wet!

Yi Peng – 11th November 2019

Yi Peng, (known as Lantern Festival) another light festival, is celebrated on the same day alongside Loy Krathong in Northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai. It is different in that lights are placed into sky lanterns. Swarms of sky lanterns, decorated with good luck wishes and prayers are released to the sky. Yi Peng usually starts 2 days earlier than Loy Krathong.

Loy Krathong – 13th November 2019

What is Loy Krathong?

In the Thai language, ’loy’ means to float, while ’krathong’ is a small container, traditionally made from a piece of banana-tree trunk, containing a candle, incense and flowers.

The krathong floating on the water symbolizes one’s willingness to let go of hatred and anger.

Loy Krathong is one of Thailand’s best-loved festivals, occurring at the November full moon to mark the end of the rainy season. On the night of the festival, Thai people make a wish as they launch their krathongs on the rivers. Some people place hair and fingernails inside the krathong: by doing so, they want to float away their past mistakes and negative thoughts. It is a purification ceremony to enlighten the mind.

Where to go?

Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and Bangkok are the best places to celebrate the festival while visiting the country.

However there are still some bars/restaurants still celebrating this when you are join in with the traditions. E.g. Sunset Walk Bar, Ban Tai, Koh Phnagan.

Holidays Related to the Royal Family

May 06: H.M. King’s Coronation

Jul 29: H.M. King’s Birthday

If 28 July falls on a weekend, the holiday will be observed on the following Monday.

The day commemorates the birthday of the King of Thailand, Vajiralongkorn, also known as Rama X.

Known as Rama X, King Vajiralongkorn has reigned Thailand since 13 October 2016, following the death of his father, King Bhumibol.

Vajiralongkorn was 64 when he became king, making him the oldest Thai monarch to ascend to the throne.

Aug 12: H.M. Queens Birthday Holiday

This holiday marks the birthday of the current queen mother of Thailand, Queen Sirikit.

Sirikit was born on 12 August 1932. Sirkit met Rama IX in France in 1946 when he had already become ruler of Thailand. The royal couple were married on 28 April 1950, a week before the King’s official coronation.

Across Thailand, buildings are decorated to honour their queen, with the most splendid are in Bangkok, where many buildings and streets are festooned with coloured lights, flowers and portraits of the queen.

Oct 14: The passing of King Bhumibol (observed)

Dec 05: King Bhumibol’s Birthday

The day commemorates the birthday of the late King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is also Thailand’s National Day and is the day when Father’s Day is celebrated in Thailand.

Known as Rama IX, he reigned Thailand since 9 June 1946 until his death on 13 October 2016, making him the longest-reigning monarch ever in Thailand’s history, ruling Thailand for over 70 years.

Despite being a constitutional monarch, and not legally being allowed a role in politics, Bhumibol made several decisive interventions in the Thai political sphere and has been credited with helping facilitate Thailand’s transition to democracy in the 1990s.

The holiday itself is a colourful affair. Buildings across Thailand will display flags, bunting and portraits of the late King, while around the Grand Palace area of Bangkok, the streets are decorated with thousands of marigolds.

Thailand, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, King Rama X, His Majesty, King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand, Rama IX, Peoples King, Thailand, King, Kingdom of Siam

Marigolds are chosen for their colour, as yellow is the predominant colour of the celebrations; as the King was born on a Monday and in Thailand, yellow is the colour for Monday.

Chulalongkorn Day – 23rd October

The day commemorates King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) who passed away on 23 October 1910.

He was the fifth monarch of Siam from the House of Chakri and is considered one of the greatest kings of Siam (now Thailand).

He is remembered as the king who introduced many social and political reforms that helped to modernize Siam including to abolish slavery.

He succeeded to the throne in 1868 when he was 15 years old and was crowned king in 1873. He ruled until his death in 1910. He was known to the Siamese people as Phra Phuttha Chao Luang.

Makha Bucha Day – 19th Feb

Maka Bucha is a public holiday in several Mekong region countries such as Cambodia and Thailand.

The date of this important Buddhist festival depends on Lunar cycle. The holiday may also be known as Magha Puja.

On this day, the full moon of the third lunar month (called Tabodwe); seven months after Buddha began his teachings, over a thousand monks gathered to hear Buddha preach.

Buddha ordained these monks and spread the principles of Buddhism. This marked a key event in the development of the religion.

45 years later, on the same full moon in the third lunar month, Buddha again delivered his teachings shortly before his death.

This third lunar month on which both events occurred is known in Buddhist Pali language as ‘Makha’. ‘Bucha’, means to honour.

How is Maka Bucha Day celebrated?

In the morning many Thai people wake up early to give alms to monks. In the evening, temples are full of people listening to sermons. They often perform a ritual known as the candle ceremony where they walk clockwise three times around the temple. holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle. Each of the three circuits represents one of the three jewels (ideas at the heart of Buddhism) – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Other Thai Holidays to note

May 20: Visakha Bucha Day (observed)

May 22: Royal Ploughing Ceremony

Jul 16: Asahna Bucha Day

Jul 17: Buddhist Lent

Dec 10: Constitution Day

All about Koh Phangan’s History

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 1284 0

Learn all about Koh Phangan’s history with these fun facts, figures and the story of how Koh Phangan is the way it is today.

Do you know the meaning of “Koh Phangan”?

Let’s start with the basics, one cannot learn the history of an Island without knowing why it is named this way…

KOH = island

PHA = meet or find

NGAN = beach visible at low tide

Koh Phangan is Thailand’s firth biggest island

Koh Phangan is an island paradise in the gulf of Thailand, located 70km from the mainland and just 12km from Koh Samui, Phangan does not have an airport (yet) and relies heavily on ferries from the mainland and Koh Samui.

AREA: 125 km²

POPULATION: 11,846 (2004)

PROVINCE: Surat Thani Province

What is Koh Phangan known for?

Parties – It is world-famous for its monthly Full Moon Party. This boisterous night-long celebration, which is tied to the lunar calendar, draws revelers to its southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin.

Beaches – We have some of the best in the world! And we are not being biased. To see a description of all 35 beaches – click here. 

Culture – More than 95% of the population are Buddhist, but there are a few mosques and churches that can be found around the island. One Buddhist holidays you can see many locals go to the temples and celebrate. To visit the temples – click here.

Lifestyle – Apart from tourism, another prominent industry for the island is fishing. You can find many lovely restaurants selling the freshest fish – what is the catch of the day?

 

 

Each month Koh Phangan and Koh Samui produce and export 1 million coconuts to Bangkok!

History of Koh Phangan

A hundred years ago, Koh Phangan was not just some unknown island. On the contrary, every Siamese at the time knew that Koh Phangan was a favoured destination of Thai Royalty, most notably King Rama the Fifth, also known as Chulalongkorn, who lived from 1868 until 1910.

Chulalongkorn is reported to have visited the island at least 14 times between the years of 1888 to 1909 after he purchased a steamship which allowed him to cruise the Gulf of Thailand. His imprint can be found carved into in the rocks of the waterfall at Than Sadet.

Prior to this, was the Bronze Drum of the Dongson Culture (100-500BC), that was found on neighboring Koh Samui in 1977, identified that there were settlements of people on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan more than 2000 years ago.

Other reports state that some archeologists and historians believe the first group of people who migrated to the island were Muslim Sea Gypies (Pigmy, semung and Proto-Malay) who traveled by boat from the Malaysian Peninsula.

Then after the Hainan Chinese migrants were among the first permanent settlers in the area approximately 200 years ago.

Koh Phangan has always been a melting pot of various cultures, with: Malay, Thai and Chinese influences, all living peacefully together.

Modern Koh Phangan

The big change on Ko Phangan started after the first bungalows were built for foreign tourists to come and visit around 20 years ago. From there the island has rapidly developed with roads, infrastructure and internet access everywhere on the island.

The islanders changed their ways of life to grow with the expanding tourist industry.

 

However Ko Phangan is much less touristic than its neighboring island Koh Samui and still has it deserted beaches, and hidden spots. To find these out – check out Phangan Explorer’s view points and hidden gems.

10 Tips and Tricks to have the best time at Full Moon Party

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 897 1

 

10 Tips and Tricks to have the best time at Full Moon Party

 

Why is Full Moon Party so famous?

Every month on Full Moon, up to 20,000 people on Haad Rin beach are fuelled on buckets of alcohol, from countries all around the world, listening to loud electronic/dance music, painted in UV artistic and creative designs, dancing to their hearts content under the stars, until the early hours of the morning. An event not to be missed!

Where?

The main party is on the Full Moon Beach (Haad Rin Beach), however the party is celebrated in the whole of this pier town.

Fee?

100THB entry fee, which goes towards the mass clean up the next day from rubbish, straws, lost items and whatever else gets left behind.

 

The 10 Tips and Tricks:

 

  1. Have a meeting place

This may sound like something your mum would do when you were a kid, but it is extremely easy to lose people in large crowd in the dark. So to avoid pick a point to meet I this ever occurred.

  1. Book accommodation in advance

Near Full Moon time, the prices of accommodation rise to the roof, and availability is scarce. So be savvy and do a little research prior, to get the best deals.

 

  1. Leave the valuables at home

Just take what you need, and nothing else. Pick pockets are crafty where they use your unaware, distracted state to their advantage. If you insist on bringing one, be sure that your pockets are deep enough or you have a secure pouch to place them in to protect them from getting swiped or from slipping out.

 

  1. Buckets

These are basically sandcastle buckets filled with a deadly concoction of alcohol finished with 10 straws poking out. The easy way to get absolutely hammered. They can be seen everywhere from the 100’s of lined up stall, side by side, all over the beach. Buckets are usually 150THB-400THB, depending on the alcohol. However they are all open drinks so never leave unattended and watch the drink tender make your bucket as they may put a nasty surprise in there instead.

 

 

  1. Don’t drive

There is no need to risk it and drink and drive. Taxis are doing their runs all over the island this day of the month, so no need to worry about transport.

 

  1. Buy your own pain.

More fun and a lot cheaper to DIY. The small pots can be bought in the town streets or prior to the events at 100THB with paint brushes. A great warm up activity to get you hyped.

 

  1. Stay away from fire jump rope

This might look appealing and a great idea in the moment, however with the next day’s painful burns, you will surely have some regrets.

 

  1. Hydrate

You can easily dehydrated from the continuous dancing and hot and humid weather. Drink a lot of water before and during the event! It will also help your hangover the next day.

 

  1. Shoes or flip flops?

This all comes down to personal preference. It is a beach so ideally flipflops are more suitable, however just expect the occasional crazy dancing drunk to step on your foot. But wear something on your feet as you never know what is on the ground.

 

  1. Don’t go in the ocean

There’s a reason the water is warm, and it’s not because you’re in Thailand. People use this as the easiest available toilet! Plus not to mention the correlation between drunkenness and drowning. Be smart!

 

Full Moon Party is an unforgettable experience, with crazy stories and wild people.

Just take these top tips on board and you will be remembering your Full Moon experience for the right reasons.

Koh Phangan survival guide

Koh Phangan Survival Guide

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 413 0

 Koh Phangan Survival Guide

Phangan Explorer has seen the damage to the people who didn’t respect and listen to this advice … they didn’t end up so well.

In this Koh Phangan Guide, here are a few pointers on how to make sure your memories are terrific, not traumatic.

 

Motorbike Injuries

Drinking and driving, lack of experience and crappy roads are poison for many injuries on Koh Phangan. Just checkout the walking wounded you can find every time you look around and you see what I mean! BE CAREFUL! Motorbikes are the number one cause of injury to tourists. The roads to and from Haad Rin and Thong Nai Pan are very dangerous. If the roads are going to be attempted we strongly recommend wearing a helmet.

 

Going “overboard on the buckets”

Drinking can be the source of some great times, and insanely fun when spent with friends. However Thai whisky is strong and unforgiving. Drink too much and you will dancing and acting like a rag-doll with no bodily awareness, making you a target for criminal elements prowling the party. Take care of yourself!

 

Drugs are No fun at the Full Moon parties

Come on guys, Full Moon Party is now the most famous for illegal substance and drug abuse and this might seem like a great reason to get in on the action. Wrong! Thai law hands out harsh penalties for those caught participating in the cycle. The incumbent government also believes that foreigners are providing market and creating a bad example for Thai youth across the country. There are dozens of plain clothes cops at the party and they get a bonus catching drug users.

 

Fighting and disrespecting the locals

This is a sure way to get yourself beaten up or have a bottle smashed over your head no matter how tasty you are. Be cool, smile and walk away from any potential conflict. You will enjoy your holiday so much more.

Also NEVER speak ill or any of the kings/royal family. It is an extremely serious offenses, and results with imprisonment, where they will lock you up and throw away the key.

 

Motorbike prices

Prices will vary, however they are generally around 300THB per day for a motorbike. The bigger ones/ 125cc are a little pricier at 400THB plus per day.

You will need your passport when renting, and to sign a waiver form in the case of accidents. Check what you are going into as you don’t want to be paying a lump sum for repairs due to a knocked over bike.

 

Taxi Prices

Prices can differ depending on where, and what time you are travelling. Regular price from Thong Sala (main pier) to Haad Rin Beach (Full Moon Party Beach) is 100THB, even on Full Moon night! However if you are going solo to the top of the island, prepare for a costly visit.

You can try to bargain however most drivers now have fixed rate sheets. Recommended to get a group of you together for big trips.

 

 

Taking care of your valuables

Don’t take your valuables to any parties, or beaches. Then you won’t even have to worry about risking losing them. Simple. It only takes a split second, when you concentration is on the music or alcohol, for some sleaze to take your possessions away into the crowd. Save yourself to agro!

 

Help us clean the beach

All of us on Koh Phangan are very concerned about keeping our environment and the beaches clean. Be a part of the solution not the cause! Put your trash in the bin and look for free fag containers for your cigarette butts.

7/11 minimarts will force an excess of plastic on you from bag to straws to spoons. But do you really need all that for one bottle of water?