Bangkok Events Calendar
Calendar of Events 2016
A city that never sleeps, Bangkok is one of the best places in the world to savour life – be it shopping, dining, drinking, clubbing or partying – and there’s no better time to take it all in than at festival time. Songkran, or Thai New Year, is undeniably the most anticipated and exciting annual event in Bangkok, as the entire city ‘shuts down’ to celebrate three days of water-throwing and fun parties, with Khao San Road at its epicentre.
Apart from Songkran, Loy Krathong and Chinese New Year are equally exciting times in Bangkok. Other lesser known but no less impressive spectacles include the Trooping of Colours, Rama VIII Traditional Long Boat Races and the Golden Mount Fair.
Cultural events have also become a major part of the Bangkok experience, as the city sees an increasing number of foreign expatriate communities. La Fete and Ploenchit Fair are the two best known events in this category.
Concerts in the Park
January 10th, 24th, 31st and February 7th, 14th, 21st 2016
A series of free open-air concerts on Sundays in Lumpini Park throughout January and February is hosted by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Starts at 17:30 and runs for around 2 hours. The music varies and includes plenty of classic Thai and Western music, including famous Thai singers, music from movies and musicals and plenty of popular classical tunes that you will recognise. Head to the northwest corner of the park near Salasin Road, where you will find the Sala Bhirom Bhakdi Pavillion. There are no chairs but you can rent a mat to sit on.
National Children’s Day
Date: 9th of January 2016
One the second Saturday of January every year Thailand dedicates a day to the future of their country by hosting a day celebrating children and thanks them by offering discounts and hosting special activities. Both the MRT and BTS will be free for children under 140 cm tall, Museum of Siam is open to all for free, Government House opens its doors and children can have their picture taken in the Prime Minister’s office. Most shopping malls will also have rides and activities.
Date: Thursday, 8 February 2016
Time: noon - midnight
Location: Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowaraj), from Chalerm Phrakiat gate to Chalermburi Intersection
Chinese New Year brings one of the most exhilarating celebrations to Yaowaraj, which is officially the Chinatown of Bangkok. The entire length of the street comes to life with crowds of worshippers, exploding firecrackers, dragon dancers, and families of Chinese descent who gather to partake in the street fanfare as well as to enjoy sumptuous Chinese banquets.
In other parts of Bangkok, Chinese restaurants and shopping malls roll out special Chinese New Year promotions, which range from discounts on goods and services to free feng-shui advice for their customers. Read More...
Date: 14 February
Location: Major hotels and shopping malls
While love really should be celebrated every day, Valentine's Day is an excuse to raise the bar a few notches, to show that special person in your life just how much you care. Check out a string of promotions from major Bangkok hotels if you plan to impress your date with a romantic dinner. And don’t forget to pick up that special gift or a bouquet of flowers from many participating shopping malls across the city. Read More...
Bangkok International Jazz Festival
A festive atmosphere will once again draw all jazz lovers to the heart of Ratchaprasong Intersection, as the CentralWorld Square comes to life with the sound of live jazz for six straight days. Hear world-class artists, including Christian McBride, Chieli Minucci and Melody Gardot, as well as Asian maestros from India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and local universities. Although you can’t get your toes in the sand, unlike the annual jazz event that takes place in the popular resort town of Hua Hin, CentralWorld Square’s cosmopolitan vibe sets the stage for an absolutely jazzed-out week.
Time: 14:00 - 23:00
Location: Suan Amporn (Rama V Monument)
A combination of temple fair and open-air market, the Red Cross Fair usually takes place twice a year to raise funds for the Thai Red Cross society. What you can expect from the event is a multitude of merchandise from private, government and non-government organisations as well as carnival games and food stalls. There’s also an exhibition area where you can learn more about the activities of the Thai Red Cross and free health consultations and basic check-ups by healthcare professionals from prominent government hospitals. The fair usually draws large crowds, so plan to arrive early. Read More...
Date: 13 – 15 April 2016
Having fun is a big part of Thai culture, and having fun in the scorching heat is no exception. The hottest month of the year, April sees the entire country go bananas in friendly water fights and street parties that last nearly a week. During Songkran, most office buildings, banks as well as family-run shops and restaurants shut down completely, while big shopping malls usually remain open. Bangkok experiences a mass exodus, as at least half of its residents travel back to their hometowns for family reunions. In their place are tourists, who fly into Bangkok particularly to enjoy one of the most colourful and festive times of the year. Read More...
Royal Ploughing Ceremony
Date: 9th March 2016
Time: From 08:30
Location: Sanam Luang (Royal Field)
This highly ceremonial event marks an auspicious beginning to the new planting season every year. Presided over by HM the King or member of the Royal Family, the ceremony follows a strict agenda whereby court Brahmins, dressed in ceremonial gowns, lead two sacred oxen in a ploughing ritual around the Royal Field as they sow rice seeds onto the ground. The symbolic importance of this ceremony occurs when the sacred oxen eat from a plate of offering – rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and rice whisky – which predicts whether or not the upcoming planting season will be bountiful.
As with any events presided over by members of the Royal Family, be sure to dress appropriately in polite attire if you plan to attend the ceremony.
Amazing Thailand Grand Sale
Time: 10:00 – 20:00
Location: Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) and participating shopping malls across the city
Shopping has never been more fun, especially when you get more bang for your baht. Part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s ‘Amazing Thailand – Always Amazes You’ campaign, the event is an opportunity to bag all kinds of deals imaginable, from discounted merchandise to holiday packages and tours. It’s like a one-stop shopping for all your holiday-in-Thailand needs. Usually while the event takes place at QSNCC, shopping malls around Bangkok roll out special promotions of their own, such as midnight sales and mid-year sales campaigns. So, if shopping is your passion, this is one of the best times to visit Bangkok.
Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival)
Location: Chinatown (Yaowaraj)
Originating in China, where the legend of revolutionary heroes on a full moon night was born, the Moon Festival takes on a new meaning here in Bangkok. Stripped of its cultural significance, besides the fact that it’s a delicacy from China, the festival is an exciting time to waltz into a gourmet market or bakery and feel the spirit of the Moon Festival through a colourful shelf display. The burst of culinary creativity that goes into the filling is just amazing. Choose any food imaginable and there’s a corresponding mooncake flavour, whether coffee, prune, durian, roasted chestnut, green tea, or the more bizarre like ham, ginseng, peanut butter and even ice cream.
Location: Chinatown (Yaowaraj), citywide
One of the most anticipated events in Bangkok, the Vegetarian Festival is popular among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Restaurants and street stalls across the city put up yellow flags to announce their participation in the festival; while some still serve non-vegetarian dishes, most opt to go pure vegetarian for the entire length of the festival.
Due to its Chinese origins, every year the festival centres along Yaowarat Road, popularly known as Bangkok’s Chinatown. Here, you will find some of the most creative and mouth-watering vegetarian recipes, from typical tofu dishes to mock-meat dishes made with processed tofu. You will be amazed at the variety available and how close these dishes actually taste to real meat. Read More...
Royal Barge Procession
Location: Riverside (Around Grand Palace)
On the 9th of November the Chao Praya River will play host to the Royal Barge Procession, an ancient tradition revived by current King Bhumibol Adulyadej. A very unusual site, these barges have only made an appearance 16 times in the last 65 years. 52 boats are taking part in celebration of the King’s 85th Birthday this year, and the event will start at 15:00 from near the Rama VIII Bridge, ending at Wat Arun at 16:00. You can book tickets, or try and find a spot along the river, although the popularity of the royal family means that prime viewing spots will taken from early morning. There are also two full dress rehearsals on the 2nd and 6th of November if you can’t make the official event.
Date: 14 November 2016
Location: All waterways in Bangkok, Nationwide
Every year, Loy Krathong falls on the full-moon night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November), when rivers are filled to the brim and the moon shines at its brightest. Thais gather along the river banks with their lit ‘krathongs’ (vessels made of banana trunks or polystyrene), then release them down the river. Well into the night, the rivers glitter underneath the moonlight, as flickering candles send a thousand pinpoints of light far into the horizon. This sight, many would say, is truly magical. Read More...
Trooping of the Colours
Date: Thursday 1 December 2016 TBC
Location: Royal Plaza
Modeled after the British Army’s Trooping of the Colours ceremony, this spectacular event is held a few days prior to HM the King’s birthday anniversary on 5 December. Members of the three armed forces – the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force – together with the royal guards, all donning colourful uniforms specific to their regimens and plumed hats, declare the oath of allegiance and march in unison before HM the King and Queen and members of the Royal Family.
This is worth making an effort to see. The event is very popular among locals, who arrive as early as mid-afternoon to reserve their seats around the Royal Plaza. So if you plan to be at the event, go early and make sure to dress appropriately in polite attire.
Date: Throughout December
Location: Ratchaprasong Intersection
Christmas in Bangkok, like everywhere else, means big business. This is the time of the year when the city's hotels enjoy maximum occupancy, and when shopping malls dazzle and delight visitors with decorations, displays, events and promotions that are designed to make consumer goods fly off the shelves.
The real showstopper, however, are the Christmas lights. Buildings, trees, bridges, lamp poles and sometimes even tuk-tuks and pavement food stalls are adorned with colourful, twinkling lights, turning Bangkok into a fairy wonderland. Read More...
Date: 31 December every year
Time: 18:00 – 01:00
Location: CentralWorld Square, citywide
Celebrating New Year's Eve in Bangkok can be truly spectacular, and there's something for everyone. The biggest of countdown event in Bangkok happens in front of CentralWorld Square. With several hundred thousand revellers expected to attend, this is where it'll be happening! Enjoy the beer garden, lucky draws, spectacular light and sound shows and live on-stage performances by popular local artists.
If you fancy something more private and intimate, it's a good idea to splurge on a New Year's Eve set dinner at one of the riverside hotel restaurants or classy rooftop venues. But no matter where you are, at midnight dazzling fireworks magically light up the skies above the city. Partying continues into the early hours and, as soon as the sun comes up, many Thai people head to temples for merit-making - to ensure that a happy and prosperous year follows. Read More...