The important Asanha Bucha Day and Khao Phansa or Buddhist Lent Day holidays are celebrated this month, along with exciting other events around the country.
August 2023 promises to be another eventful month in Thailand with a line-up of exciting events including the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2023, Phetchaburi Creative City of Gastronomy, Amazing Muay Thai Experience, Amazing Thai Taste@Udon, and a number of marathons and runs, as well as two Buddhist holidays – Asanha Bucha Day on 1 August and Khao Phansa or Buddhist Lent Day on 2 August.
Asanha Bucha Day
1 August 2023
Asanha Bucha Day commemorates the occasion over 2,500 years ago on which the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon, the Four Noble Truths considered the foundation of all Buddhist philosophy, to five ascetics (monks). Also known as Dharma Day, it takes place on the full moon day of the eighth lunar month which in 2023 is on 1 August.
On Asanha Bucha Day, Buddhists will go to the temple to listen to sermons on the Buddha’s teachings or Dharma, to perform merit-making and participate in evening candlelit ceremonies. This includes a ‘Wien Tien’ procession in which they hold lighted candles in hand and walk around a temple’s main chapel three times, representing one the Buddha, two his teachings, and three the monkhood. Asanha Bucha Day is also a traditional day for young Thai males to be ordained.
Khao Phansa or Buddhist Lent Day
2 August 2023
Khao Phansa or Buddhist Lent Day takes place the day after the full moon of the eighth lunar month – or Asanha Bucha Day – and marks the start of the rainy season and the time at which monks will retreat to their temples for a three-month period of study and meditation. This retreat is based on an edict of Lord Buddha issued to ensure monks did not damage crops or accidentally stand on insects hidden in the floodwaters.
At the centre of the popular Khao Phansa festival are elaborately carved candles which are shown off in local parades on their way to temples that boast a fascinating blend of artistry, fun and festivities with folk dances, sound and light performances, and local crafts on display. This reflects the traditional practice of candles being donated to temples so that monks could continue their studying into the evening.
Here are some of the colourful Asanha Bucha Day and Khao Phansa celebrations taking place around Thailand in August:
World’s Only Wien Tien Ceremony on Water, Phayao Lake
1 August 2023
Wat Tilok Aram, Phayao
The Wien Tien or candlelight procession on water at Wat Tilok Aram takes place three times a year on the Buddhist holidays of Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, and Asanha Bucha Day. Here, the Wien Tien where Buddhist devotees hold lighted candles in hand and go around a temple’s main chapel three times is done on water, making it the only place in the world to have this ceremony. This is because Wat Tilok Aram was built in the water, in the island at the centre of Phayao Lake.
This year however, with the water level of Phayao Lake having dropped, the candlelight procession will take place on land at Wat Tilok Aram. Visitors wanting to see the event up close can book seats on boats that will transfer to the island at 18.00 Hrs. on 1 August from Wat Tilok Aram pier. This must be done beforehand online at https://forms.gle/oS553XvTohVMmdac7 and tickets must be collected from Wat Tilok Aram pier between 15.00-17.00 Hrs. on 1 August.
Ayutthaya Aquatic Phansa Festival
1 August 2023
Khlong Lat Chado (Lat Chado River), Ayutthaya
This colourful celebration by the people of Ban Lat Chado in Ayutthaya’s Phak Hai District sees candles transported by boats decorated with flowers along the ancient Khlong Lat Chado, for a distance of around 4 kilometres. The event is full of culture and heritage, with the boat procession and a boat parade scheduled to take place from 09.00-12.00 Hrs. Visitors can also take a walk around Lat Chado market, and try some of the delicious local food.
Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival 2023
30 July-2 August 2023
Thung Sri Mueang, Ubon Ratchathani
The Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival is a longstanding tradition in this Northeastern (Isan) city and is full of local culture and heritage. Activities include a Wien Tien procession on Asanha Bucha Day on 1 August, light and sound display and Khao Phansa candle procession and competition on 1-2 August, and the presentation of candles to temples on 2 August. From around mid-July up to the festival itself, the making of the intricate candles can be seen at local villages, and following the festival they will be on display at temples until 31 August. From 30 July-3 August there will also be streets lit up with candle decorations, and OTOP product sales.
Tak Baht Dok Mai Khao Phansa
31 July-2 August 2023
Wat Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi
This traditional merit-making ceremony involves the giving to monks of white Khao-Phansa flowers and is held annually on Khao Phansa or Buddhist Lent Day. Activities include a traditional candle offering ceremony at the ‘Ubosot’ or ordination hall in Wat Phra Phutthabat, cultural and ethnic processions, an exhibition on Buddhist Lent flowers, shopping, and OTOP product showcase.
Korat Candle Procession Festival
1-4 August 2023
Thao Suranari (Ya Mo) Monument courtyard, Nakhon Ratchasima
This year’s Korat Candle Procession Festival is conceptualised as a carnival-style show taking place in the street with an amphitheatre for viewing. A candle procession will feature elaborately crafted candles from Wat Nok and Wat Mai Sra Pathum temples in Chok Chai District, from Wat Derm, Wat Mai Pratu Chai, Wat Old Pratu Chai, and Wat Sra Pleng in Phimai District, and art teams from Mueang district such as Wat Pa Phithak Tham and Wat Muang temples.
Prakhon Chai Candle Procession Festival
2-3 August 2023
Prakhon Chai Subdistrict Municipality Courtyard, Buri Ram
On 2 August there is a candle procession and mini concert by Thai artist Lumplearn Wongsakorn Yawararat, and pong lang (Isan musical instrument) performance. On 3 August is a cultural and music performance, Miss Beauty candle contest, and people’s choice candle contest.
Here is a list of other festivals and events taking place around Thailand in August 2023, sorted by date:
Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2023
15 June-15 August 2023
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Udon Thani, Chon Buri (Pattaya), Songkhla (Hat Yai)
This highly popular, premier annual event offers shopping, eating, flying, and traveling discounts and other privileges at over 10,000 participating shops and establishments in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Udon Thani, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Songkhla (Hat Yai). The event reinforces Thailand’s image as one of the world’s top six popular shopping destinations. More than 10,000 great deals are on offer in the six cities, including shopping discounts of up to 80%.
Krachiao Flower Fields 2023
Pa Hin Ngam National Park, and Sai Thong National Park, Chaiyaphum
Each year around the beginning of the rainy season, fields of Siam Tulip – or Krachiao – flowers come into full bloom in the Northeastern (Isan) province of Chaiyaphum. The colourful scenes created by this delightful natural attraction can currently be seen at Sai Thong National Park in Nong Bua Rawe District where the pink flowers are blooming.
At this time of year, Chaiyaphum is also known for its ‘sea of mist’ around cliffs in the national park areas, such as at Pha Hum Hot in Sai Thong National Park, Pha Sut Phaen Phaen in Pa Hin Ngam National Park, and Pha Hua Nak in Phu Laen Kha National Park.
Phetchaburi Creative City of Gastronomy
4-6 August 2023
Wat Yai Suwannaram, and Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park (Khao Wang), Phetchaburi
Reflecting Phetchaburi province’s status as a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the category of Gastronomy, the Phetchaburi Creative City of Gastronomy event is a cultural and culinary celebration that will feature delicious local cuisine to enjoy, food demonstrations, free food tastings, cultural performances and folk entertainment, contemporary music performances, goldsmith and other local craftsmanship demonstrations, and local product sales.
Cross-Region Travel Fair
4-6 August 2023
This is the fourth of five travel fairs being held in Thailand’s five regions between June and September 2023, with the aim of encouraging cross-region travel. The show will feature promotions and special deals from accommodation, attractions, tour companies, and other tourism products and services across the country, as well as DIY workshops on local wisdom from the five regions.
Amazing Muay Thai Experience
11-13 August 2023
Wat Yai Tha Sao, Uttaradit
18-20 August 2023
King Narai’s Palace, Lop Buri
These are the third and fourth events in a four-event series organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to showcase four unique styles of Muay Thai Boran or ancient Thai boxing: Muay Chaiya, Muay Korat, Muay Tha Sao, and Muay Lop Buri in Surat Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Uttaradit, and Lop Buri, respectively.
The showcase of Uttaradit’s fast and versatile “Muay Tha Sao” boxing style – a combination of Thai and Chinese martial art techniques – is scheduled for 11-13 August 2023 at Wat Yai Tha Sao, and the showcase of the quick and evasive “Muay Lop Buri” boxing style for 18-20 August 2023 at King Narai’s Palace.
Road to Sonic Bang 2023
12 August 2023
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok
The Road to Sonic Bang 2023 international music festival will feature various genres of music, with international artists, Asian artists, and new generation Thai artists performing. The lineup includes LANY, Valley, ADOY, Nulbarich, Burnout Syndromes, and HYBS.
Amazing Thai Taste@Udon
25-27 August 2023
Central Udon, Udon Thani
This is the third of three Amazing Thai Taste events (after Rayong in June and Chiang Mai in July) aimed at promoting the image of Thai food, one of Thailand’s 5F soft-power foundations. The show will feature cooking demonstrations by famous and local chefs, discussions on food tourism, and musical performances by well-known artists.
Also taking place in August 2023 are various running events around Thailand, including the following, which are sorted by date:
6 August 2023
Khao Keow Open Zoo, Chon Buri
The KhaoKheow10 Season6 Presented by Plus+ by YumYum is all about fun and nature, with the Ultra Fun Run 10 km, Super Fun Run 7 km, and Family Fun Run 4 km distances. These make their way around the picturesque grounds of the zoo.
12 August Half Marathon Bangkok 2023 Run For Mom
12 August 2023
Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Bangkok
After a hiatus of three years, the 12 August Half Marathon Bangkok Run For Mom event is being held again in 2023. Commemorating Her Majesty Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother, the event features a 21.1 km Half Marathon, 10 km Mini Marathon, 6 km Fun Run, and 1.8 km Walk-Run, with the start/finish line at QSNCC. All proceeds after expenses will be donated to support the work being carried out by the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer, under the auspices of the Thai Red Cross Society.
KHAO KHO Run Through Mist Marathon 2023
13 August 2023
Khao Kho Viewpoint, Khao Kho, Phetchabun
The KHAO KHO Run Through Mist Marathon 2023 features a 42 km Marathon, 21 km Half Marathon, 10 km Mini Marathon, and 5 km Fun run, in a destination known for its beautiful ‘Sea of Fog’ natural weather attraction.
Songkhla Pao Beach Run
20 August 2023
Muang Ngam Beach, Songkhla
The Songkhla Pao Beach Run features 4 km Fun Run, 12 km Mixed Relay, 12 km Women’s Relay, and 12 km Men’s Relay categories, along picturesque Muang Ngam Beach.
Bike Zone Tri Dash Thailand 2023 Series
20 August 2023
Bangpoo Golf & Sports Club, Samut Prakan
This is the second of four race weekends in the Bike Zone Tri Dash Thailand 2023 triathlon series on between July and December, two of which are at Pattana Sports Resort in Chon Buri and two at Bangpoo Golf & Sports Club in Samut Prakan. The various categories to be held on this weekend are – Long Dash (Individual), Dash (Individual), Mini Dash (Individual), Long Dash (Team Relay), and Dash (Team Relay), as well as the Juniors Tri Dash Thailand 2023 Series for 12-17 year olds.
Songkhla International Marathon 2023
26-27 August 2023
The Songkhla International Marathon 2023 features a 42.195 km Marathon, 21.10 km Half Marathon, and 10 km Mini Marathon which will take place on 27 August, and a 5 km Fun Run to be held on 26 August. Much of the running routes are alongside the Songkhla shoreline, and important historical sites are also passed by.
Please note that registration for most of these running events has closed already. Whether closed or still open, visitors can still enjoy the fun atmosphere at each location.