Calendar

Oct
21
Sun
2018
National Nurses Day
Oct 21 all-day

วันพยาบาลแห่งชาติ – 

Commemorating the birthday of the ‘Royal Grandmother’ Princess Srinagarindra

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Nurses Day in Thailand

National Nurses day marks the Birthday of Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother. Born on October 21 1900, she is nowknown across Thailand for the work she has done throughout her life to improve the National Thai health system. To recognise her massive contributions, her birthday has been designated as National Nurses Day.

At the very young age of 13 years old, she enrolled as a student of Nursing & Midwifery at Siriraj School. She carried on studying in USA after receiving a Scholarship from Prince Mahidol. She met the Prince whilst staying in America and they soon married. She went on to help her husband make many reformations to the health system. Even after Prince Mahidol’s death, she continued in this self appointed role. Princess Srinagarindra helped provide scholarships, built new nursing schools and arranged Thailand’s first nursing convention. Thailand thanks Princess Srinagarindra for all her amazing work and will continue to remember her every year on National Nurses Day.

Princess Srinagarindra celebrating nurses day

Title Photo by: Office of His Majesty License: CC BY 1.0

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Oct
23
Tue
2018
King Chulalongkorn Day
Oct 23 all-day

A National Holiday celebrating one of the greatest Kings Thailand has ever had.

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Chulalongkorn Day

October 23rd is a National holiday commemorating the death of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). He was one of the greatest and most revered Kings the country has ever had. His largest achievements being the abolishment of slavery and saving Siam from Western colonisation. His lasting impact is easily visible on the reverse of 100 Baht note. On the right you can see him fully dressed in his Navy Uniform. On the left, a depiction of him abolishing slavery in all forms.  Known as the Royal Buddha, King Chulalongkorn was truly a King of the people.

Chualalongkorn Day commemorated on the reverse of 100 Baht note Photo By: Miran Rijavek License: CC BY 2.0

Abolition of Slavery

Chulalongkorn is most widely known for the abolishment of slavery. He knew the plight of the common man and was famous for disguising himself and walking the streets to see what life was like for the less fortunate. In 1867 over one Third of Siam’s population were essentially slaves. He saw the violence of the American civil war and believed it to be caused by the almost instant transition of slaves to free men. So through a slower process of social and political reforms, from 1864-1905, Chulalongkorn peacefully eradicated slavery in all its forms. For most Thai people today, this was his defining act. Below you can see a large memorial of King Chulalongkorn in Bangkok.King Chulalongkorn Memorial in bangkok Photo by: dsin travel License: CC BY 2.0

Thailand as we know it

Although Siam didn’t officially become the Kingdom of Thailand until 1939, the borders of the country were very much shaped by King Chulalongkorn. Siam was a much larger area than Thailand and encompassed much of Laos, Cambodia and even parts of Myanmar. As Western Colonisation began to encroach on all fronts, the King saw he needed to take drastic actions to prevent his country being lost to the West. He need to unite the people and play the West at their own game; politics.

Here come the French!

The first territorial cession of Siam came in 1863, when the King of Cambodia put his country under French protectorate. However, the French took a little bit more than they should. Some areas, including Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) were actually part of Siam. But the French refused to leave.

In 1888 the French invaded Laos. Then in 1893 they requested the cession of all land east of the Mekong river. When the King refused, this led to France invading the Chao Praya river with huge gunboats. Siam were forced to agree to the cession of Laos. But France kept on encroaching and had occupied as far Chantaburi and Trat. King Chulalongkorn needed to act quickly before all was lost.Map of Siam 1950 Photo by: David License: CC BY 2.0

Modernisation of Siam

In order to prevent the West from controlling his country, King Chulalongkorn knew he needed to embrace certain elements of the West. He was the first king to send his Princes to a Western education. He himself travelled much of Europe to learn the ways of the West. After the clear defeat from French Gunboats, he reformed the Navy by hiring the Danish Naval Officer Andreas Richelieu. Incidentally, This is where the name Richelieu Rock comes from. Richelieu Rock is a Mecca of a dive site known to Scuba Divers worldwide.

Chulalongkorn split his country into official provinces which were all overseen and ultimately run by a central authority. This essentially removed local dynasties and united the country in a way more recognisable and acceptable to Western ideals. He modernised the army by introducing military conscriptions and established a defence ministry. he started to build the railways so he could easily keep eyes everywhere. He built Siam’s first Power plants.

He started Siam on the path to becoming a democracy. All the reforms he made lead to Siam becoming officially recognised as a country on an international scale. The French agreed to recede from Chantaburi & Trat and so the borders of Modern day Thailand had been set. There have only been small changes in Thailand’s boundaries since King Chulalonkorn’s death in 1910.Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Photo by: Chris Brown License: CC BY 2.0

King Chulalongkorn’s Legacy

King Chulalongkorn was one of the greatest Kings Thailand has ever had. Around the country you can see statues and images of him. Just take a peek at the back of the 100 Baht note. There is a University (pictured above) and a large pavilion name after him. Then of course, October 23rd, is a national Thai holiday. This seems fair when you consider the massive positive impact he had on the country. It is fascinating to contemplate how different Thailand could have been if France had been allowed to move in.

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Nov
22
Thu
2018
Loy Krathong @ The 813 Police Boat
Nov 22 @ 18:00 – 22:00

The most picturesque Festival in Thailand. Get involved with your very own ‘Krathong’

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Why Khao Lak should care about Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is a fine example of Thailand’s intense relationship with water. At its most beautiful, a traditional ‘Krathong’ is made from the stalk of a Banana tree and intricately decorated with folded banana leaves. It takes place the night of the Full moon, the 12th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar (usually November). Place a candle, incense sticks, some of your hair/fingernails, and a few coins inside your Krathong, and send it off down the river.A Typical 'Krathong' at Loy Krathong Photo by: John Shedrick License: CC BY 2.0

The candle’s shining light pays respect to the Buddha, while the small boats drifting off represent letting go of ones negativity and past transgressions. The hair/fingernails represent the passing of your own deeds and actions. It is also used as an offering to Thailand’s goddess of water. It is a thank you for the water they have been given and an apology for any mistreatment or pollution.

Khao Lak’s entire tourist sector depends on water. The Andaman Sea gives us beautiful beaches, Scuba diving and Snorkelling. The Rains provide us with an abundance of National Parks, Waterfalls and rivers. Songkran gives us the opportunity to play with water. But maybe we should take one day a year for more quiet contemplation of how important water is to us, and our responsibility to take care of it.

Thailand’s love and hate relationship

Thailand has a very historical relationship with water. Loy Krathong marks the end of the rainy season and end of the rice harvest. Sonkran’s traditions of pouring water is a symbol of cleansing and washing away your sins. Monsoon rains plays a huge role in Thai culture too. ‘Vassa’ (Wan Khao Phansa) is when monks wait out the Monsoon rains by staying inside a monastery and performing intense meditation. Lay Buddhists use this time to give up one of their vices, which is why Vassa is often referred to as ‘Buddhist Lent’.A typical 'Naga' monster as seen in most Thai temples Photo by: Petr & Bara Ruzicka License: CC BY 2.0

However, there is also a fear of water instilled in some Thais. As a safety precaution against drowning, Thai children are taught about the ‘Naga’. This serpent like river monster from Buddhist mythology is often enough to scare kids from entering the water. Think the Loch Ness Monster of Thailand. If you have lived here for a while, you probably know several Thai people that live within five minutes of a beach or lake, yet never learned how to swim.

Thai people know they need to respect water. The Tsunami is of course the biggest event in Khao Lak’s history. More generally, rising sea levels and droughts may all have huge impacts on Thailand’s future. For all the reasons above, this respect and relationship with water is why Loy Krathong is just as important as Songkran.

How to get involved

Loy Krathong is one of the most picturesque and colourful Festivals in Thailand. Seeing thousands of flickering lights floating down the river can give you some beautiful holiday memories. Many hotels get involved with traditional dances, fireworks or lanterns. But if you would like to experience the traditional way of doing things, then the best area to visit around Khao Lak is the 813 boat in Bang Niang.The finished product at Loy Krathong Festival Photo by: Megan Smith License: CC BY 2.0

Above you can see a fully finished Krathong. Here we explain how to get your own. The 813 boat has the largest gathering of people. There are shows and strangely, even a beauty pageant. Food stalls line the pathway to the entrance and of course, stalls for you to buy your own Krathong. Visit in the evening once it has become dark, then follow these 3 easy steps to get involved:

  • Choose your Krathong

Have a look around the many stalls to see which one you like the most. One word of advice is to choose one made from natural (biodegradable) materials. Banana stalk, spider lily plants or bread are all ok. Try not to pick a styrofoam one.

  • Put a bit of yourself in

The Krathong should already come equipped with a candle and incense. Now is the time to add a bit of yourself. You can put in one of the hairs from your head or cut of a fingernail. This represents your past transgressions and by sending them down the river you are effectively letting them go.

  • Let go…

Follow the crowd until you find the platform for you to release your Krathong. When your turn comes, light the candle and incense, then gently let go and send your little boat off. Try to let go of any negative thoughts and feelings.

Loy Krathong is a beautiful, quiet and contemplative event. It is a wonderful cultural experience. Observing Thai people sending their quiet prayers downstream is a humbling sight. You can also see young couples sending their floats down the river to give them a clue of how their relationship will evolve. Will their floats stay together on the journey downstream? Or will they drift apart? Take your time to sit back and absorb the atmosphere. Loy Krathong is definitely a special part of Amazing Thailand!

Loy Krathong

Photo by: John Shedrick License: CC BY 2.0

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Dec
4
Tue
2018
Thai Environment Day
Dec 4 all-day

Ride your bicycle. Eat locally grown food. Plant a tree even. Do your bit for the environment –

วันสิ่งแวดล้อมไทย

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Thai Environment Day

Since 1991, December 4th has been Thai Environment Day in Thailand. Not to be confused with World Environment Day, June 5th. Thailand want to do their bit to protect the world. The day is designed to promote awareness of environmental and green issues.

Thai Elephant on Thai Environment Day Photo by: Christian Hougen License: CC BY 2.0

It is no coincidence that Thai Environment Day takes place one day before the Kings Birthday. In a discussion at his Royal Palace on December 4th 1989, King Bhumibol Adulyadej discussed enviromental issues in Thailand. He was worried about the future of his country and asked for the cooperation of everyone to solve the problems Thailand may face. After this discussion, Thai Environment Day was set up by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Environment. The first official Thai Environment Day was recognised in 1991.

Tell us about your special events!

There does not seem to be a huge awareness of Thai Environment Day in the Khao Lak area. However, we hope this will begin to change. We are reaching out to any Khao Lak companies that have an event to promote Thai Environment Day. Please submit your event to us and we will be more than happy to feature it.

Tiger Thai Environment Day

Title Photo by: Tambako the Jaguar License: CC BY-ND 2.0

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Dec
5
Wed
2018
The Kings Birthday/Fathers Day
Dec 5 all-day

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The Kings Birthday/Fathers Day

December is a great month for holidays in Khao Lak & Thailand in general. Obviously being a Tourist hot spot means Christmas and New Year have some great celebrations and parties. However, there are also some big Thai Holidays. Constitution day is an important National Holiday celebrated on the 10th December. More importantly, the month kicks of with a bang for the Kings Birthday!King Bhumibol Adulyadej Kings Birthday Photo: Public Domain

The Kings Birthday is on December 5th. In 2015 it is King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th Birthday. As this falls on a Saturday, a National holiday will also be observed on Monday 7th December. A word of advice for first timers to Thailand; do not underestimate how much the King is respected and revered. He is seen as a great representative and Father to the country. Hence, it is no coincidence that Thai father’s day falls on this auspicious day. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is Thailand’s most important symbol of unity.

Today is a day for respect. Many Thai’s will start the day by visiting their local monastery to give food to the monks. You can join in by making sure to wear yellow; the King’s colour. If you are with your own Father or Grandfather, you can give him a Canna Flower as a sign of your respect and thank. Finally, one thing you are sure to see, lights and candles will mark images of the King all over Thailand.

Helpful hint

When planning your holiday, remember that as another sign of respect, the King’s birthday is a day of no alcohol. This means all supermarkets, shops, restaurants and bars are prohibited from selling any alcohol. Many bars close for the day but the restaurants should still stay open. As his birthday falls on a Saturday in 2015, it is possible that this restriction will apply to Saturday 5th 2015 and carry over to the observed National Holiday on Monday 7th 2015.

king thailand

Title Photo: Public Domain

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Dec
10
Mon
2018
Constitution Day @ khao lak
Dec 10 all-day

A National Holiday marking the end of absolute monarchy and start of constitutional democracy.

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Constitution day 2015

Constitution Day is a National holiday in Thailand. 10th December 1932 marks the end of an absolute monarchy and the start of a constitutional democracy. This essentially means the power belongs to the people of Thailand. However, this still seems to be a work in progress. Since 1932 there have been twenty newly written constitutions or charters. Thats approximately one every 4 years. Below you can see King Prajadhipok (Rama IV) signing the first constitution on 10th December 1932.King Prajadhipok signs the first constitution on Constitution Day, 10th December 1932 Photo: Public Domain

Constitution Day in 2015 is quite a strange event as Thailand doesn’t really have a constitution that they like at the moment. In September 2015 a new charter was rejected. Now it is not expected for there to be democratic elections until some time in 2017. So what does this means for Constitution day? I’m not sure. If you would like to know about Thailand’s current constitution, then for the next few years you need to be looking at the News rather than the History books.

Thailand's Flag

Title Image by: Brandon Fick License: CC BY 2.0

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Dec
25
Tue
2018
Christmas Day
Dec 25 all-day

WANTED: Santa Claus! Find out why we really celebrate Christmas today.

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Khao Lak Christmas

Christmas is a great time to visit Khao Lak, and Thailand in general. This is without a doubt the busiest time of the year in Khao Lak so make sure you book everything in advance. Thailand always manage to do a great job of adopting foreign festivals and allowing us to enjoy our favourite holidays with sea, sand and sunshine. Thai’s may love to help us get the most out of our holidays, but they don’t always know all of the history and customs associated with it. So here is a quick guide to explain the traditions of this depraved Pagan festival now known as Christmas.

Why do we celebrate on 25th December?

December 25th can represent only one thing; Ritual Human Sacrifice. The Roman Pagan holiday called Saturnalia was celebrated between 17th – 25th December. During this week, authorities selected an innocent victim to represent the enemies of the Roman people. This victim would be forced into one final week of hedonism. They would undergo a week of indulgence in physical pleasures. The festival would then conclude, December 25th, with their brutal sacrifice. Happy Christmas!

Carol Singing and Gingerbread men

What do you think of when you imagine Carol singers? If it is public indecency, then you would be correct. In the pre christian Roman era, this was a time for getting drunk and stumbling from house to house, singing completely naked though the streets. Devouring biscuits in the shape of a human body represented their sexual inhibitions. O’ Come all Ye Faithful!Carol singing at ChristmasPhoto by: Kevin Dooley License: CC BY 2.0

The Christmas Tree, Presents and Mistletoe

The Christmas tree tradition comes from the worshipping of Forest gods. Giving presents dates back to Roman Emperors making the most despised citizens bring offerings during Saturnalia in an attempt to redeem themselves. Mistletoe has been used in mythology to make poisoned arrows in wars between Norse Gods. It was also used by Druids to murder their human sacrifices. The act of kissing under mistletoe is a combination of Pagan sexual freedom with reference to Druid Sacrifices. Its the most wonderful time… of the year!Kissing under the mistletoe at ChristmasPhoto by: Chris Hsia License: CC BY-ND 2.0

Santa Claus

The St. Nicholas story originates from a Bishop in Turkey. The story changed as it moved through Italy, Germany and up to Celtic Pagans. His story merged with that of Woden (father of Thor) and this is where he grew his big white beard. His name Santa Claus come from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas. Dr. Clement Moore gave him his 8 flying reindeer in a poem in 1822. However, he was still depicted differently in different countries. For his Red outfit and obesity problems we can thank Coca Cola. In 1931 they turned Santa Claus into the internationally recognisable sell out we see today. Ho! Ho! Ho!Santa Claus the Sell Out on ChristmasPhoto by: Mike Mozart License: CC BY-ND 2.0

A Merry Thailand Christmas

So, if anyone ever tells you that you have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, it is probably because they don’t actually know it themselves. In these modern times maybe we should celebrate Christmas in a way that feels most important to us. In Thailand, Christmas is not about religion. It is about family, relaxation, good food and good company. Maybe it is a good idea to forget the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas and just enjoy the quality time we can spend with (or temporarily escaping from) our loved ones!

Wanted: Santa Claus on Christmas Day

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Dec
31
Mon
2018
New Years Eve
Dec 31 all-day

Book in advance! This is the best & busiest time of year in Khao Lak!

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New Year in Khao Lak

If you are planning to come to Khao Lak for Christmas and New Years Eve then book a long way in advance. This is the busiest week of the year. Whatever activities you would like to do will also need to be booked in advance. If you want to go Scuba Diving, have a big Gala Dinner or even just get a Taxi, book it! If you need any advice or help with bookings then please feel free to contact us. But here are a couple of options for New Years Eve…

Photo by: John Shedrick License: CC BY 2.0

Party

Khao Lak is not a big Party town like Phuket. It is a much more relaxed environment suitable for families and couples just looking for a break from the rat race. However, there are a few good party places to go for New Years Eve. Happy Snapper Bar in Khao Lak will be one of the busiest and it is always a good atmosphere with a live band and friendly staff. Beach Bar in Bang Niang is the closest you can get to a Koh Phang Ngan Beach party with louder dance music and plenty of merry drunk people. The Beach is also a good place to see any fireworks from any of the beach resorts.

Scuba Diving

There are still lots of day trips running to the Similan and Surin Islands around New Years Eve, but the best way to do it is on a Liveaboard. Most boats moor up around Island 4 or Island 8 in the Similan Islands. Most also have fireworks displays and lanterns. To be on a boat in the middle of beautiful tropical Islands for New Years Eve is a truly memorable experience. ALL Liveaboards in the Khao Lak area get fully booked very quickly. Book a long time in advance to secure your place for New Years Eve Scuba Diving.

Or just relax…

One of the main reasons people choose Khao Lak is to escape the New Years Eve drunken masses & loud dance music. Spending the day relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean is a refreshing way to enjoy New Years.Khao Lak Beach on New Years Eve Photo by: Raymond Bosma License: CC BY-ND 2.0

There are plenty of activities to do around Khao Lak’s National Parks, Waterfalls, mountains and beaches. Then take things easy with your family at one of Khao Lak’s many beautiful restaurants in the evening. New Years Eve doesn’t have to be so loud!

New Years Eve Fireworks

Title Photo by: Jeff Golden License: CC BY-SA 2.0

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Feb
5
Tue
2019
Chinese New Year
Feb 5 all-day

Happy Chinese New Year! 2016 marks the Year of the Monkey.

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Chinese new year

February 8th 2016 marks the Year of the Monkey. Chinese new year in not a public holiday in Khao Lak but there are still plenty of celebrations around if you know where to look. Khao Lak can also be very busy, as many Chinese tourists come to celebrate the Lunar New year in Thailand.

 

There are quite a lot of Chinese-Thai residents in the Phang Nga and Phuket area. Chinese entrepreneurs arrived here in the 19th Century and started the Tin Mining boom. If you like Scuba Diving you can see a Dive Site of an old Tin Mining vessel called the Boon Sung Wreck. Chinese ancestors are still living here today meaning the surrounding area of Khao Lak is one of the best places in Thailand to witness the festivities of Chinese New Year.Chinese New Year Celebrations Photo by: IQRemix License: CC BY-SA 2.0

Where to go

It may be possible to see firecrackers all around town for Chinese New Year, but the best places to go and soak up the atmosphere is around the Chinese temples. The nearest Chinese Temple to Khao Lak is on the Khuek Khak beach road. It is only small but it is located in a very friendly Thai residential area and is a great place to experience the local culture and take some photos. If you want to travel a bit further then the Old Town and Chinese Temple in Takuapa will be a great place to visit with many more food stalls and celebrations. There is a another Chinese temple down south in Thai Muang. 

All the above are interesting places to visit. But, if you have the time, one of the best place to go in all of the South of Thailand is Phuket town. The Chinese-Thai population is much larger, the ancestry more apparent and the festivals are bigger.  The festivals and shows in Phuket town will usually start a few days before the New Year and it is well worth the visit.

2016: Year of the Monkey

Chinese New Year Zodiac of the Monkey

Photo by: Alice-Astro License: CC BY-SA 3.0

If you were born in 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956 (keep subtracting 12, etc.) then this is your Chinese New year! However, your origin of life year (year of your birth sign), is actually believed to be your most unlucky. So take extra care this year!

The good news is, as a monkey, you are intelligent and very sociable. A fan of practical jokes and mischief. Some people might find this annoying but your intentions are always good and light hearted. You learn quickly and you should trust your inquisitive nature. You should not allow your good ideas to pass by and embrace your more opportunist and ambitious side.

Whatever your Zodiac sign is, its still a fascinating time of year. Khao Lak holidays are not just about Sun, Sea and Sand. There are many festivals and cultural events you can take part in all through the year. For any further advice or information please contact us or take a look at all our Holidays & Festivals Calendar category.

Chinese new year calendar

Title Image by: Jakub Hałun License: CC BY-SA 4.0

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Feb
19
Tue
2019
Makha Bucha Day @ Khuek Khak Temple
Feb 19 all-day

A National Holiday commemorating the very 1st sermon performed by the Buddha.

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Makha Bucha Day

February 22nd 2016 marks Makha Bucha (Magha Puja) day in Thailand. It is a National Holiday for Thai Buddhists to perform merit making actions at their local temple. No alcohol can be served on this day and all bars should be closed.

‘Makha’ is the Thai word for the 3rd Lunar month. ‘Bucha’ means ‘To Honour’. This day celebrates the first sermon the Buddha gave to his disciples and represents the heart of buddhism. The date of the holiday changes every year, as it always falls on the full moon of the third lunar month of the Thai Calendar. The aim of this festival is to not do any wrong doings and to purify yourself.Buddhist Monk procession at Makha Bucha Photo by: John Shedrick License: CC BY 2.0

Where to go

You can visit any Buddhist temple to witness the Makha Bucha processions. If you are in Khao Lak, the nearest and most tourist friendly temple, is the Khuek Khak Temple. If you head down here in the evening you can see or even take part in the ‘Wian Thian’ procession. This roughly translates as the circling candle procession.

How to take part in Makha Bucha

Buddhist Monks and lay people all hold flowers, incense and a lighted candle. They proceed to walk in a clockwise circle around the ordination hall three times, thus representing honour to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. If you visit the temple you can just observe or take part. As this is a day for merit-making, you should find that many Thai people will be happy to help you.

The National holiday is only one day but for many buddhists the occasion lasts for several days. It is a time to stick to the five precepts of Buddhism and a time for meditation and reflection.

Title Image by: Spirit-Fire License: CC BY 2.0

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