Bangkok / Pattaya

The Coolest Festivals Worth Travelling to Bangkok and Pattaya for

Plan now, party later.

Publish Date: 25 February 2020 / Story by: S@S Insider / Illustration by Peeraya Sirathanisa

Whether it’s living it up at Thailand’s version of Burning Man, getting wet and wild during Thai New Year or appreciating the best in art—we've got you covered. Here are the biggest and brightest festivals our cities have to offer.

Maya Music Festival

Fans of EDM and trap music flock to this Pattaya-based party, which transforms a 118-acre plot of land with multiple stages, laser beams, art installations, food trucks and an RV camping ground. Since its 2016 debut, it has welcomed international headliners like German-Russian DJ and producer Zedd and Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello, more recently taking a dive into electronica, indie-pop and rock with Suede, Shura, Lany and Kodaline.

Where: Maya Space, Pattaya

When: Usually around January — stay tuned for 2021 dates

www.mayamusicfestival.com

Credit: Bangkok Block Party
Credit: Bangkok Block Party

Bangkok Block Party

Powered by hip Bangkok party collective Blaq Lyte, this two-day gathering sees urban subcultures collide. Local and international punk bands, rappers and hip hop collectives fill the stages, accompanied by stalls from big Bangkok foodie names, local artists and streetwear brands. Past headliners include up-and-coming rapper Thaiboy Digital and American electro-indie duo Cherub.

Where: Bangkok

When: Usually January/February — stay tuned for 2021 dates

www.fb.com/BANGKOKBLOCKPARTY

Credit: Bangkok Design Week

Bangkok Design Week

This week-long celebration of design descends on Bangkok’s creative districts each year with talks, workshops, fashion shows, markets filled with designers and lifestyle brands from across Asia, and exhibitions covering everything from student showcases to professional interior and architectural work.

Where: Thailand Creative and Design Center and other locations around Bangkok

When: Usually January/February — stay tuned for 2021 dates

www.bangkokdesignweek.com

Credit: Kolour in the Park

Kolour in the Park

Progressive, non-commercial house and techno dominate the speakers, while feather headdresses and bejewelled faces make up the crowd. Alongside art installations and food trucks, there’s a lake for swimming and wakeboarding thanks to the festival’s location in the Thai Wake Park—around 45 minutes’ drive from Bangkok city centre.

Where: Thai Wake Park, Bangkok

When: Main event on 7 March 2020, with supporting parties throughout the year

www.kolourinthepark.com

Credit: Mad Face Food Week
Credit: Mad Face Food Week

Mad Face Food Week

Love to eat? Then watch out for this kooky riverside pop-up, which sees local celebrity chefs whip up multi-course dinners in makeshift kitchens, as upscale restaurants roll in on food trucks. With bars and live bands to boot, this turns into a raucous three days of binging.

Where: Sermsuk Warehouse, Bangkok

When: 13-15 March 2020

www.madfacefoodweek.com

Pattaya International Music Festival

Pattaya draws a crowd for this music-filled festival on the beach. A joint venture between Pattaya City and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the family-friendly event offers a two-day line-up of big local names and international acts, ranging from jazz and reggae to rock and hip hop. The best part? It is totally free of charge.

Where: Pattaya

When: Usually March — stay tuned for 2020 dates

Songkran
S2O Songkran Music Festival

Songkran

As Thailand’s hottest month, April marks the transition between the dry season and the rice-growing season. It is also the month when Thai New Year takes place. Traditionally, Songkran is a time to pay respect and make merit, but more recently it has escalated into an annual water war. Aside from religious water blessing rituals at temples, you can expect three days of chaotic countryside water fights—lasting even longer if you’re in Pattaya, where festivities launch on 12 Apr and ramp up to a cathartic head on Sunday 19 April.

In Bangkok, head to Silom and Khaosan roads for some of the wildest antics or Lumphini Park for something a little more cultured. In Pattaya, celebrations run for an entire week around Beach Road and Walking Street. For something slightly more organised, book a ticket for Bangkok’s EDM- and water jet-fuelled S2O or Siam Songkran Music Festival—just be sure to invest in a protective pouch for your phone and be prepared to get wet.

Where: All across Thailand

When: 13-15 April 2020

www.s2ofestival.com; www.siamsongkran.com

Credit: Circuit Festival Asia
Credit: Circuit Festival Asia

Circuit Festival Asia

This riotous three-day dance party is one of the biggest events on Asia’s LGBTQ+ calendar. International dance, electronic and trance DJs hit the decks, while revelers flaunt their six-packs at the line-up of beach and water park parties. Backed by the organisers of Circuit Festival Barcelona and Bangkok’s S2O and White Party, the festival’s production value is consistently high.

Where: Pattaya

When: 5-7 June, 2020

www.circuitfestival.net/asia

Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival

Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival

Film fosters cultural diplomacy between 10 Southeast Asian nations during this five-day event, featuring a film contest and free subtitled screenings of classic movies at some of Bangkok’s major cinemas.

Where: Bangkok

When: July — stay tuned for 2020 dates

www.fb.com/BangkokAseanFilmFestival

Photo credit: Thibaud Saintin / Flickr

Photo credit: Thibaud Saintin / Flickr

The Vegetarian Festival (Tesagan Gin Jay)

Often referred to as “Jay Fest” (jay meaning vegan in Thai), this Taoist celebration sees Thailand’s Chinese communities go vegan for nine days, with yellow-flagged stalls serving eerily convincing mock meats and nightly Chinese opera performances at Bangkok’s Mangkon Kamalawat temple. Pattaya’s festivities typically include a dragon parade through the centre of town, among other ceremonies. Heading south? Phuket amps things up with eye-watering rituals like fire walking and tongue slashing.

Where: Across Thailand (especially Bangkok and Phuket)

When: 16-25 October, 2020

Credit: Bangkok Art Biennale

Bangkok Art Biennale

Every other year, this huge event sees local and international artists fill Bangkok’s galleries and public spaces with performances and exhibitions across a substantial four months. Conferences, workshops and guided tours complete the bill. The theme for 2020 is “Escape Routes,” which invites artists to take a hopeful approach to the world’s current state of paranoia and despair.

Where: Across Bangkok

When: 10 October 2020-21 February, 2021

www.fb.com/bkkartbiennale

Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music

Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music

Filling Bangkok’s theatrical void, this month-long festival welcomes a roster of dance, orchestra, theatre and ice skating performances from Thailand, Italy, Germany, Russia and beyond. It hits its 22nd year in 2020.

Where: Thailand Cultural Centre, Bangkok

When: Usually September-October — stay tuned for 2020 dates

www.bangkokfestivals.com

Maho Rasop Festival
Maho Rasop Festival

Maho Rasop Festival

Calling all indie music heads! This fun-loving festival brings a line-up of alternative acts from home and abroad, as well as art, food and cultural activities. Past headliners include English pop-rock band Bombay Bicycle Club and UK shoegaze heroes Slowdive.

Where: Bangkok

When: 7 November, 2020

www.mahorasop.com

Loy Krathong. Credit: John Shedrick / Flickr

Loy Krathong

This 6,000-year-old Buddhist festival is celebrated across the country and sees Thais gather at rivers, lakes and canals to release beautiful lotus-shaped floats, or “krathong,” topped with candles and incense, in order to pay respect to the water goddess and to wish for good fortune. The celebration coincides with the northern lantern festival, Yi Peng. Lanterns are forbidden in Bangkok but are widely used in Chiang Mai and Pattaya, adding to the spectacle.

Where: Across Thailand

When: 1 November, 2020 (date changes according to the Thai lunar calendar)

Pattaya International Firework Festival

Pattaya International Firework Festival

Traditionally in celebration of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday, this gunpowder-fuelled two-day festival sees countries from around the world light up Central Pattaya Beach with spectacular pyrotechnic displays over the ocean. Parades, live music and traditional dance shows add to the fun.

Where: Pattaya

When: November — stay tuned for 2020 dates

www.pattaya.go.th

Bangkok Bank CycleFest

Bangkok Bank CycleFest

Had enough of drinking and partying? Then get down to this sporty cycling event to test yourself in individual timed rides, team time trials, family rides and a 90-minute fun ride. If you just scoffed at the word “fun,” then check out the festival’s off-saddle activities and food stands instead.

Where: Pattaya

When: November — stay tuned for 2020 dates

www.bangkokbankcyclefest.com

Wonderfruit
Wonderfruit

Wonderfruit

The most anticipated festival on the Thai calendar takes its inspiration from the likes of Burning Man and Glastonbury, and puts extra emphasis on sustainability. Expect top names in electronic music (think Four Tet or Floating Points in 2019), along with cool art installations, yoga classes and exciting pop-up dinners. The music lineup is a hyper-eclectic affair, spanning everything from world music and reggae to electronica and techno.

Where: The Fields at Siam Country Club, Pattaya

When: December — stay tuned for 2020 dates

www.wonderfruit.co

Credit: Made by Legacy

Made by Legacy

Calling all hipsters: this open-air flea market is your chance to parade your pedigree pooch around while donning your finest retro-wear. The bi-annual pop-up returned for its 11th year in January, packed with food stalls, live music, beer stands and a dizzying array of antique furniture, collectibles, vintage clothing and stalls from creative local designers.

Where: Bangkok

When: January and November — stay tuned for the next date

www.madebylegacy.com

Credit: Very Festival
Credit: Very Festival

Very Festival

Led by Bangkok event organiser The Very Company, this newbie debuted in 2019 with an impressive line-up of indie, easy listening and rock music that included French multi-instrumentalist FKJ and British alternative rock band Nothing But Thieves. Its follow-up “Spring Break” edition (14 March 2020) continued the party with Japanese trip-hop artist Joji and British pop crooner Bruno Major.

Where: Bangkok

When: November — stay tuned for 2020 date

www.fb.com/veryfestival

Credit: Thailand Brew Fest

Thailand Brew Fest

Pack your beer goggles for this huge craft beer showcase led by craft beer importer Smiling Mad Dog. It typically features upwards of 250 labels from around the world, live music from local bands and food stands from respected Bangkok names.

Where: Bangkok

When: Usually November or December — stay tuned for 2020 date

www.fb.com/ThailandBrewFest

White Party

Self-proclaimed as “Thailand’s largest gay New Year festival,” this five-day party attracts over 20,000 revelers from across the globe. Known for its epic audio-visuals, the festival attracts a line-up of world-class dance, techno, trap and electronic DJs.

Where: CentralWorld and Seen Rooftop Bar, Bangkok

When: 31 December, 2020, to 3 January, 2021

www.whitepartybangkok.com

Read More