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.


King Bhumibol’s Birthday Observed
Dec 5 all-day

Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Birthday is National Holiday held annually on 5 December. If this date falls on a weekend then the holiday will be observed on the following Monday.

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej Kings Birthday

The Late King’s Birthday Observed

5 December commemorates the birthday of the late King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej.

This date is also Thailand’s National Day and when Father’s Day is celebrated in Thailand.

Streets and buildings, not only in Khao Lak but all across Thailand will display flags, bunting and portraits of the late King. Around the Grand Palace area of Bangkok, the streets are decorated with thousands of marigolds.

Marigolds are chosen for their yellow colour, the predominant colour of the celebrations. The late King was born on a Monday and in Thailand yellow is the colour for Monday.

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


New Years Eve
Dec 31 all-day

Book in advance! This is the best and 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


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


Chinese New Year
Jan 25 all-day

Happy Chinese New Year! 2020 marks the Year of the Rat.

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Chinese new year

25th January 2020 marks the Year of the Pig. 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.

2019: Year of the Pig

If you were born in 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959 (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!

If you are a pig you are believed to be blessed with good fortune in life and have a beautiful personality. Though a pig may not stand out in a crowd they are very realistic and are certainly not know to be all talk and no action. Other traits include a love of entertainment and occasional treats whilst being energetic and enthusiastic.

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


Makha Bucha Day @ Khuek Khak Temple
Mar 9 all-day

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

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Makha Bucha Day

March 9th 2020 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


Chakri Day
Apr 6 all-day

วันจักรี – 

Paying respect to the nine kings of the Chakri Dynasty.

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How will it affect you?

Chakri Day is a national holiday either celebrated on the 6th of April or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend. Government offices, schools and banks will be closed, but for all tourist businesses things will be running as usual. Alcohol sales are not prohibited.

What is Chakri Day?

If you have spent even a single day in Thailand you will probably soon realise how well revered the King of Thailand is. There are images and tributes to him in every house, every business building and just about anywhere you care to look. If you go to the cinema, make sure you stand up for the National anthem! This respect for the King of Thailand goes back a long way. The current king of Thailand is the ninth in the Chakri Dynasty and today is a day to remember them all.

The nine kings of the Chakri Dynasty, Thailand

The nine kings of the Chakri Dynasty, Thailand

The Chakri Dynasty

The Chakri Dynasty emblem, Thailand

The Chakri Dynasty emblem, Thailand

The Chakri Dynasty was founded by King Rama I in 1782 and the capital of Siam shifted to Krung Thep (modern day Bangkok). King Rama I was a military leader and before the founding of the dynasty he held the position of civil chancellor, referred to at the time as the ‘Chakri’. After founding the Dynasty he took this name with him.

The Chakri emblem is formed of two intertwined weapons, the Chakra (discus) and the Trisula (trident). The word Chakri derives from Sanskrit and means the ‘Wielder of the discus’. The Trident at the centre of the Chakri Dynasty emblem was the weapon of choice for the God Narayana, of which the Thai sovereign is meant to be an incarnation.


Labour Day
May 1 all-day

Labour Day or International Worker’s Day is a public holiday observed in over 80 countries.

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The Labour Movement

Thai construction of the Big Buddha in PhuketLabour Day, International Workers Day or May Day nowadays is commonly recognised as commemorating the achievements of the labour movement. It occurs on 1st May, this being the date the American Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions demanded an eight hour workday back in 1884. Ironically Labour Day is observed on 1st September in the USA.

In the 20th century the holiday began to be celebrated as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers in the Soviet Union.


Royal Ploughing Ceremony
May 21 all-day
Royal Ploughing Ceremony

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony or simply Farmer’s Day (Wan Phuet Mongkhon) as the festival commonly know is a government holiday in Thailand.

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The date for the holiday is determined by astrological observations and announced by the Bureau of the Royal Household.

Officially the Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day is known as Wan Phra Ratcha Phithi Phuet Monkhon Lae Charot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan.

History of Royal Ploughing Ceremony

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony marks the traditional start of the rice growing season and is an ancient tradition with Hindu and Buddhist origins observed in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand

The tradition is to honour farmers and bless the plants and ceremonial start to the new rice growing season.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony highlights the importance of a good rice growing season to the country’s economy with Thailand being the second largest exporter of rice in the world providing employment for over 16 million rice workers.

As the the Royal Ploughing Ceremony takes place in Bangkok, at Sanam Luang, an open field and public square in front of Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace there is little evidence of the festival in Khao Lak.

It is worth noting that government offices will be closed all day, though banks will be open and the sale of alcohol is permitted. The local post office will close on a half-day.


Asahna Bucha Day
Jul 5 all-day
Asahna Bucha Day

Asahna Bucha, also known as Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day is a national holiday in Thailand, replacing Buddhist Lent as a gazetted holiday since 2007.

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Asahna Bucha commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares, India and the founding of the Buddhist sangha (monkhood) about 2,500 years ago.

In the sermon, which is known as Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion, the Buddha first spelled out the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

Asahna Bucha is celebrated on the first full moon of the eighth lunar month. The day marks the beginning of Vassa, the Buddhist lent period also known as the Rains Retreat.

Asahna Bucha Day in Thailand

Ceremonies to mark Asahna Bucha Day are held in Buddhist temples across Thailand. On this occasion many Thai people will return to their family homes to make offerings at their local temples and listen to sermons. A ceremony is often performed in the evenings called wian tian which involves walking clockwise around the main shrine of the temple carrying a candle, incense sticks and lotus flowers.

Monks chant mantras and preach the first sermon of the Buddha during the day.

Asanha Bucha Day is also a popular day for young Thai men to enter the monkhood.

In Thailand, Asahna Bucha is one of five important Buddhist holidays where shops, bars and restaurants are barred from selling alcohol for 24 hours from midnight until midnight.

All Government offices and banks will be closed.