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Thailand – The Land Of Smiles

pardon granted
by lisby1

Article by Owen Jones

Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in South-East Asia and has been for decades. This is because the climate varies throughout the year from hot to cool and even cold, if you want to look for it; Thai food is world-renowned; the assortment of wildlife is broad as is the flora; the diving is fantastic and the people are friendly and welcoming. Thailand is not called the Land of Smiles for nothing.

There are also a lot of festivals, some of which are religious, which equals Buddhist, and others are not. Thailand has been Buddhist ever since the country came into being in the Thirteen Century, but the people were Buddhist long before that. Or at least most of them were. There were also throw-backs to older religions the same as in the West.

In the West Christmas and Easter were moved to cover up pagan festivals, but in Thailand they just have the old festivals too. One of the biggest festivals is Loy Krathong in November (the first full moon in the twelfth lunar month). Loy Krathong is a delightful festival to appease the goddess or water, Ganga, for using and abusing (polluting) her.

Nowadays, people still remember the old significance of Loy Krathong (‘Floating Boats’), but it has been taken over by lovers too. People float symbolic boats out onto the water and ask the goddess to pardon them and to grant a wish. Lovers send their boats out together and many believe that if the boats, krathong, float out side-by-side then they will have a strife-free year together.

Many women put on traditional Thai costumes for the evening, especially if they are going out for a meal or to a party. Some men do as well, but not so many.

Also in November is the world-famed Elephant roundup in Surin. The elephant roundup is also popular with foreigners and Thais alike. The city of Surin is full on this weekend so if you want to go it is worth booking your hotel with your travel ticket otherwise you might be left high and dry. Not that it is cold or likely to rain.

Bridge Over the River Kwae week is in November. The bridge is a poignant reminder of the terror that prisoners of war from all over the world experienced at the hands of the Japanese overlords at the time. More Thais died than foreigners although Thailand was considered ‘friendly’ by the occupying Japanese.

In December it is the King’s birthday and Fathers’ Day on the 5th. The king is very extremely well esteemed in Thailand and numerous people will light candles in their garden on the roadside to the king in the early evening. This is a very pretty sight, particularly in the villages where street lighting is normally negligible. Constitution Day is on the 10th and is a bank holiday, which normally means a party.

Christmas is feted in the cities by tourists, ex-pats and young Thais although it has no real religious implication outside the Christian churches in the larger cities.

New Year’s Day is massive. There are parties that will last all night, dancing, feasting and fireworks.

Thailand is a wonderful place to come to in November and December and although it is considered high season, I am sure that you will find it cheaper to come on vacation to Thailand – The Land of Smiles – than it is to stay at home in the cold.

About the Author

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece, writes on a number of topics, but is now involved with Loy Krathong. If you would like to know more, please visit our web site at Package Holidays to Thailand.

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