There are amazing festivals held annually around the World, that most of us would definitely add to our list of must see events to see.
There is the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Rio Carnival in South America, the Notting hill Gate Carnival in London, to name a few.
Here in Thailand we are very fortunate as they have many festivals each year, and some are actually quite unusual.
While you can enjoy some extra tee times on some of Asia’s best golf courses, the rest of the family will be busy enjoying many Thai traditions.
Here are a few of the more unusual events!
There is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, an ancient royal rite held in Thailand to mark the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season. This year it is on Tuesday, 10 May 2011.
Loy Kratong is a major celebration in November when Thais pay respect to the goddess of the waters by floating candlelit offerings on any and all waterways around the kingdom.
North east Thailand's most popular – and certainly most visited festival – is the annual Surin Elephant Festival. This is always held, come what may, on the third Saturday of November. Whilst undoubtedly it has become a tourist and commercial spectacle, the festival is also a fascinating tribute to all things "elephant"!
In this very well patronised tribute to the Buddhist kingdom's best loved animal, over two hundred of the giant beasts are assembled to entertain and thrill the huge crowd, which gets larger year by tear. Few visitors are disappointed with what they see.
The island of Phuket’s has several of its own festivals and perhaps the most distinctive event is their Vegetarian Festival, held annually over 9 days in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
A colourful event, it celebrates the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.
One of my favourites however, is the quaint Thai festival in April called Songkran. This festival celebra tes the start of the Buddhist New Year as well as the end of the dry season.
Traditionally, Buddha images are bought out of their chapels and ritually washed. This ritual bathing has evolved in larger cities to out-and-out water warfare.
For three crazy days, Thais and foreigner’s alike splash around the streets in a friendly water fight. This is the time to wear your swimwear, and just get wet or just sit on the sidelines and soak up all the fun.
Songkran is now extremely popular with tourists, to the extent that the Tourism of Thailand now is heavily promoting Songkran as a great time to visit Thailand. This year the festival takes place on April 13th-15th across Thailand.
Playing golf in Thailand is a kind of festival of sorts as well. Although there are no specific dates, we all like to celebrate a great day on the golf course, and helped by your smiling caddie, I am sure you will not be disappointed.