BANGKOK EVENTS AND FESTIVALS 2013

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BANGKOK HAPPENINGS

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Chao Phraya River

September

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

When: 22 Sept 2010, 12 Sept 2011, 30 Sept 2012
Mooncake promotions herald this Chinese festival, during which Chinatown fills with stalls.

International Festival of Music & Dance

When: Sept & Oct

Where: Thailand Cultural Centre
 Tel & website: www.bangkokfestivals.com

Bangkok’s biggest annual arts festival stages top or second tier opera, dance, ballet, jazz and classical music.

Bangkok International Film Festival

When: late Sept, 
Website: www.bangkokfilm.org

Run by TAT at various downtown multiplexes, this 10-day feast of film spans countries and tastes, with a major regional contingent. It’s date keeps changing from year to year.

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Bangkok cityscape

October

International Festival of Music & Dance

World Gourmet Festival

When: early Oct,
 Where: Four Seasons Hotel
For ten days, leading foreign chefs prepare feasts, classes and wine tastings.

Bangkok Design Festival

When: early Oct,
 Tel & website: www.bangkokdesignfestival.com 

Citywide exhibitions, events, talks and sales, focusing on TCDC and BACC.

Elle Fashion Week

When: Mid Oct

Navaratree Hindu Festival

When: 8 Oct 2010, 28 Sept 2011, 16 Oct 2012, 
Where: Maha Uma Devi

A Ganesha procession and Hindu rites precede the dramatic Uma procession, passing dozens of petal-carpeted shrines around Silom and Sathorn, with fevered rites, blessings, mediums and self-mortification. To fit in, you should wear white.

Vegetarian Festival

When: Oct
, Yellow pennants indicate food stalls and restaurants going veggie for this ten-day Chinese purge of meat and heating foods by white-clad devotees. Chinatown explodes with activity and Chinese opera around shrines, notably in Charoen Krung Soi 20.

Ork Phansa

When: 23 Oct 2010, 12 Oct 2011, 30 Oct 2012
. The rainy season officially ends, and with it the three-month Buddhist Lent, with wat rituals such as the shaving of monks’ scalps and brows. It’s followed by the Kathin month of robe giving and temple fairs.

King Chulalongkorn Day

When: 23 Oct
, Where: Royal Plaza,
Thousands gather to worship at his equestrian statue.

World Film Festival of Bangkok

When: Oct or Nov, 
Website: www.worldfilmbkk.com 

Run by the Nation newspaper, this major cinefest focuses on auteurship, Asian films and themes.

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Bangkok sunset

Bangkok Pride Festival

When: Oct or Nov
, This week of cabarets, parties and events around Silom has faded quite badly, so ‘Pink in the Park’ at Lumphini Park pool and the closing parade may not happen in the future.

November

Beer Gardens

When: Nov-Jan, 
Lager-laced al fresco fun with food stalls and live bands at plazas, bar strips and malls like Central World.

Golden Mount Temple Fair

When: Nov, 
Bangkok’s best loved fair rings Wat Saket for ten days around Loy Krathong. Other fairs during this period are less crowded.

Loy Krathong

When: 26 Nov 2010, 10 Nov 2011, 28 Nov 2012

Thai’s crowd waterways to cleanse sins by offering the water spirit a delicate, candlelit Krathong float made from banana tree trunk, leaf, incense and flowers. This is a magical night, with many temple fairs.

Fat Festival

When: 1st weekend in Nov,
Tel: 0 2641 5234

Run by Fat Radio, this effervescent indie gathering attracts youth tribes with dozens of bands, art installations and countless stalls of homemade books, art, music and fashion.

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Rooftop dining at [email protected] Design Hotel & Spa

Bangkok Theatre Festival

When: Nov
, A charming mixture of modern and traditional performance at Santichaiprakarn Park and city venues. It’s partly free and fairly accessible to non-Thais.

Ploenchit Fair

When: late Sat in Nov
Where: Shrewsbury International School
Huge expat charity event with funfair, bars and shows run by the British embassy since the 1950s.

Bangkok Marathon

When: late Sun in Nov 
Tel & website: National Jogging Association (0 2628 8361, www.bkkmarathon.com

Full, half and mini-marathons are run through the old town.

December

Beer Gardens

When: (see Nov)

Trooping the Colours

When: 2 Dec
, Where: Royal Plaza
The Thai armed forces march past royalty arrayed in plumed dress uniforms of brilliant hues.

King’s Birthday

When: 5 Dec, 
The Thai people’s deep reverence for King Bhumibol is on display on what’s also Father’s Day (and a national holiday). The King addresses the crowds at Royal Plaza in the morning. Thousands light candles after dark in Sanam Lung, where fireworks, and traditional music and dance carry, on until late. There are decorations strewn along Thanon Ratchadamnoen and throughout the city.

Constitution Day

When: 10 Dec
Rites at Democracy Monument.

Miss AC/DC Pageant

When: early Dec 
Tel & website: www.missacdc.com

Spoof drag queens ‘represent’ some 70 countries in ‘national costumes’, gowns, talents, beauty and philosophising.

Concert in the Park

When: Dec to Feb, 
Tel & website: www.bangkoksymphony.org 

Free late-afternoon Sunday picnic concerts in parks by Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, with light folk, pop and classical tunes. Picnicking listeners can forage at various stalls.

Indy Festival

When: mid Dec
, Where: Santichaiprakarn Park
 Tel & website: www.thaiwriternetwork.com 

This open-air ‘free space’ enables ‘indy’ youth to present their publications, music, artistry and short films.

New Year’s Eve

When: 31 Dec
Say ‘Sawatdee phi mai’ at parties citywide, the Central World countdown or while watching the fireworks at Sanam Luang and riverside hotels. There are late bar hours and, a real help, the BTS/MRT run all night.

Photos by Kelly Tang

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