International Balloon Festival
2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the long-running Thailand International Balloon Festival, being held this year at the Cowboy Army Riding Club (Don Kaew, Mae Rim). Visitors young and old can expect to see an array of colourful hot air balloons—operated by skilled pilots from around the world—taking off each morning at dawn, and floating up over the vibrant green grasslands and rice fields of Chiang Mai, all set against a beautiful mountainous backdrop. Meanwhile, during the evenings there will be a stunning balloon night glow performance—choreographed and synchronized with specially composed music, as performed by the Lanna Orchestra and the Tiger Drum & Opera. In addition, there will be art and jewellery exhibitions, many free workshops, and fine dining delicacies and drinks from leading hotels and restaurants. Finally, don’t miss the International Heritage section with booths from India, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Germany, and many other countries featuring performances, special activities, traditional foods, and more. Tickets are B300 each for a single day (children aged 7-12 years B100, and free for children under 7 years of age). Tickets are available online via www.eventbrite.com. For more detailed information, visit the official festival website at: www.thailandballoonfestival.com
Hok Peng Festival
The Hok Peng Wai Sa Ma-ha-that Chae Haeng Festival is a religious observance which takes place at Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, in the Phu Phiang District in Nan province. With its stunning undulating Naga leading to the main entrance, this temple’s principal claim to fame is a 55 metre-high golden stupa housing an ancient and holy relic. The festival itself is held every year on the 6th lunar month (“hok” means 6 in Thai, and “peng” means full moon in the Northern Thai dialect), and the rocket launch ceremony is performed as offerings are made to Buddha.
Thaibreak Festival 2018
Although there’s hundreds of reasons to visit the tiny but postcard perfect island of Koh Mak, in Trat province, this month’s Thaibreak Festival 2018 should provide extra enticement. Although not overly well-known, 2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of this exclusive gathering, as approximately 500 folk from across the globe—who share a vision of love, respect, and fun—will gather for three days and four nights filled with exceptional electronic music, beach and boat parties, and lots of swimming and sunning. Tickets are B3,500 (accommodations not included).
International Kite Festival
In spring Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan province has the perfect wind for flying kites, which is why the annual Hua Hin International Kite Festival is such a success. This year’s event takes place at the Army Non Commissioned Officer School, in Hua Hin, and festival highlights include the ‘Fancy Kite Show’, where 20 kite flying teams from countries including Switzerland, Germany, and France, complete to show off their high-speed flying skills. Other highlights include a weekend market, a kite exhibition, and the ‘Chula and Pak Pao Show’, where traditional Thai kites fly accompanied by a Thai classical music ensemble.
Thao Sranari Memorial Fair
March 23-April 3
One of the biggest festivals in Nakhon Ratchasima province is the Thao Sranari Memorial Fair, which is held every year to both celebrate and commemorate the victory of Thao Suranaree (or Ya Mo), a clever woman whose innovative ruses helped fight off the armies of the Lao King Anouvong when he invaded Siam in 1826. This year at the fair there will be the ceremonial lighting of an opening flame, plus firework displays, a Ya Mo sports competition, beauty contests, a singing competition, silk making and drawing competitions, cat shows, and cultural performances, exhibitions, and concerts from well-known artists.