Thailand boasts some of the world’s best festivals at times that don’t line up with the Commonwealth of Nations’ school holidays.
Try to set your trip for Loy Krathong, held on the full moon in November, and make your way to Chang Mai. There you will witness the waterways filled with floating Krathong (banana leaf rafts lit with candles) and the night-sky speckled with flying lanterns. It’s truly a stunning sight.
If you’re visiting in the spring shoot for Songkran, one of the world’s most unusual, fascinating and brilliantly chaotic festivals. Songkran marks the Thai New Year and spans from April 13th-15h. During the celebration businesses throughout the country shut down (particularly in Bangkok and Chang Mai) and citizens partake in a national water fight. The streets are filled with revelers signing, spreading mud paste on each other’s faces and dumping water on each other. It challenges Spain’s famous Tomatina Festival for both messiness and enjoyment. Both Loy Krathong and Songkran offer excellent opportunities to connect with locals.
The Songkran festival in Khao Lak is much more low key – meant for families and great fun. It also coincides with some seriously incredible diving to! One of the best times to Dive Khao Lak
At the end of the day, finding a way off the Banana Pancake Trail is simple-all it takes is a spirit for adventure, a thirst for something new and a willingness to split from the pack. The only downside is you might have to try a new dish for breakfast. I’d say it’s certainly worth the trade-off.