Bangkok is a festive city, so expect frequent colorful celebrations throughout the year. Here are a few highlights for over-the-top food, culture, and activities. Keep in mind that for some celebrations, such as traditional and religious celebrations (as well as elections), alcohol may be banned for a period of time. Specific food festivals are not mentioned because food is always a centerpiece of all Bangkok events, be it a festival or not. Food is never far, and Bangkok is known for the cleanliness of its street food.
The Bangkok Fringe Festival takes place annually in January and February and showcases traditional, modern, and fusion dance, drama, and music.
In September and October the Thailand Cultural Centre hosts the International Festival of Music & Dance with any imaginable variety of these genres.
The Bangkok Design Festival in early October takes over the city, particularly TCDC and BACC, which host many festival events, including exhibitions and lectures.
The very open-minded capital city hosts the Bangkok Pride Festival is a centerpiece for open-minded locals and visitors alike. Celebrate with parties and events towards the end of the year.
Enjoy free concerts from December through February during the Concert in the Park series, which feature a variety of tunes and plenty of space to picnic.
There are a few notable film festivals in Bangkok that cinema buffs will enjoy. The Short Film & Video Festival in mid August takes place at the Bangkok Art & Culture Center (BACC) and offers a free international showcase.
The city’s International Film Festival takes place in late September for 10 days, though the date is subject to change each year. The repertoire spans the globe, with a strong focus on the region.
Later in the year, the World Film Festival of Bangkok makes an appearance in the city.
Religious & Traditional
It seems that each day in Bangkok there’s something to celebrate or commemorate; the King’s birthday, the Queen’s birthday, an anniversary, a Buddhist tradition. These are a few of the better known events, but don’t be surprised if you run into an unexpected crowd on a random day.
Each January Chinese New Year pervades the city, and if you’re willing to brave the crowds, Chinatown is the place to be. Colorful parades, red decor, and traditional food are non-stop all week. Around the time of Chinese New Year are the temple fairs, which are worth visiting at some of the city’s varied temples.
Perhaps the best known of the country’s traditional festivals is the water-soaked Songran, which takes place in mid-April. Stemming from the Buddhist tradition of purification baths, the entire country now takes part in the wild water fight.