Holidays in Thailand

Originally posted on March 15, 2010


It seems that every time you turn around there is another Thai national holiday.  They seem to always occur when you need to go to the bank or to immigration.  In fact, there are more than a dozen (the number seems to change yearly) Thai national holidays.  That compares to 10 U.S. federal holidays and only 8 “bank” holidays in England.

For New Years, the Thais celebrate January 1st, Chinese New Years, and Songkran, also known as Thai New Years.  In true Thai fashion, Songkran is a three-day celebration of partying and water splashing.  For Songkran, many old-time expats will stock up enough provisions so that they can stay home for the three days to remain dry and sane.

Chinese New Years is not an official holiday but lots of businesses, especially restaurants, will be closed for up to a week or two.

Another unofficial holiday celebrated around the country is Loy Kratong.  This is one of the favorite Thai holidays when people all go down to the local lake or river and float (loy) their ceremonial vessels of flowers, candles, and burning incense (kratong).  There are parades with larger floats, and lots of fireworks.  It is one of the many “festivals of light” celebrated around the world at this time of year.  But remember, it is still a work day.

Constitution Day is an interesting holiday.  You would think that with the frequent constitution changes, the day you celebrate it would be forever changing.  But December 10, Constitution Day, is the celebration of Thailand’s first constitution back in 1932.

It is useful for visitors to Thailand to know what holidays are coming up.  For instance, you may want to schedule your visit so you can take part in the Songkran celebrations.  Or, you may want to schedule your visit so you will miss Songkran.  Check below to see when the upcoming holidays will be celebrated.

Thai Holidays

New Year’s Day – Happy New Year, January 1.

Chinese New Year – The new moon day of the first lunar month.   Not a true national holiday but widely celebrated.

Makha Bucha – The full moon day of the third lunar month .  The Lord Buddha’s sermon to the first large gathering of monks.

Chakri Day – Celebrates the founding of the current dynasty, April 6.

First day of Songkran – April 13.  Wet

Second day of Songkran –April 14. Wetter

Third day of Songkran – April 15. Wettest

Labor Day – International Labor Day, May 1.

Coronation Day – The crowning of Rama IX, May 5.

Visakha Bucha – The full moon day of the sixth lunar month.  The birth, enlightenment and death of the Lord Buddha.

Buddhist Lent – The first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month.  The annual three-month rainy season retreat.

H.M King’s Birthday – July 30.

Mother’s Day, Queen’s Birthday –  August 12.

The passing of King Bhumibol – Oct 15.

Chulalongkorn Day – The death of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V – October 23.

Loy Kratong – The full moon day of the 12 lunar month.  Not a national holiday but a beautiful festival of lights.

Father’s Day, King’s Birthday, Dec 5

Constitution Day – The celebration of the 1932 constitution,   December 10.

New Years Eve – Drive Safely, December 31.


Since many of the Thai holidays use the lunar calendar, the dates on our calendar will change every year. You will probably have to check on an official Thai holiday calendar to be sure.

Here is a list of the numerous Thai holidays.