Chao Phraya River
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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