Mark your calendars! As we head into the last two months of 2015, here are some wonderful seasonal activities that should not be missed.
1. Loy Krathong
Falling on 25 November this year, the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, Loy Krathong is a colourful and unique holiday. Children usually dress in traditional Thai costumes, which can be sourced at your local open-aired market or Pahurat market in Little India. To celebrate, head to riverside venues, such as Nagaraphirom Park or Asiatique, for Loy Krathong activities, or book a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River.
Also, many city parks will allow people to float their krathongs in the lakes and waterways. Popular parks for families include Lumpini Park, Benjakitti Park and Benjasiri Park. Bring a picnic dinner or enjoy the ample selection of street food, and soak up the evening’s festive vibe
To experience a traditional Thai temple fair, go to Wat Saket or the Golden Mountain. Beginning at dusk and running for a week prior to Loy Krathong day, the fair encompasses rides, games, theatrical performances, tons of food stalls and more. Climb some 300 steps to the top of the Golden Mountain to make offerings to Buddha images, ring bells for good luck and admire the old city views.
2. Ploenchit Fair 2015
Do not miss the beloved Ploenchit Fair on Saturday, 28 November, from 10am to 8pm at Bangkok Patana School! First established in 1968, the British Community’s annual fund-raising event is based loosely on the English ‘village fair’ concept, with lots of food and drink, vendors, children’s craft activities, games, rides and a chance to meet Santa Claus! There is also a Grand Raffle with 80 choice prizes, including air tickets to London. Admission is 150 baht per adult and 50 baht per child, with a 500 baht ‘Special All Rides’ Pass.
3. Sunflower Fields of Saraburi
From mid-November to January, Saraburi, a neighbouring province to Bangkok, bursts with colour when its sunflower fields are in bloom. These have become a huge tourist draw, offering lots of beautiful photo ops, picnic venues and farmer’s markets with mostly sunflower-related products, such as sunflower honey, seeds and oil. Admission costs are from 5 to 10 baht per person, and some farms will offer tractor cart or elephant rides among the sunflowers.
The fields can be accessed by car – a 2 hour drive from Bangkok — and the day trip can also include a stop at the picturesque Pasak Jolasid Dam. Another way to visit is by train; there is a dedicated train that leaves Hualampong Station early in the morning, stops by a sunflower field for some time and continues onto the dam. More info can be found here.
Lopburi, another neighbouring province, also boasts vast fields of sunflowers, but it is further from Bangkok.
4. Bangkok Street Show 2015
From 4 to 6 December, from 3pm to 9pm, Lumpini Park will host the Bangkok Street Show 2015, a unique street performer or buskers’ festival. It presents over 30 live acts – all for free. Performers from all over the world, including musicians, puppeteers, mimes, dancers, jugglers, acrobats and more, convene in the heart of Bangkok for a few days of entertainment, culture and fun. You can come and go from each act as you wish.
5. Jim Thompson Farm
From 5 December 2015 to 10 January 2016, from 9am to 5pm each day, the scenic Jim Thompson Farm in Pak Thong Chai, Korat, opens to visitors. Originally started to support Jim Thompson’s silk production business, the farm has since evolved into a popular agro-tourism attraction, featuring mulberry plantations, fruit orchards, fields of flowers and more. Farm tours cover the life cycle of silkworms and silk farming process, as well as the vegetable plots, including a giant pumpkin patch. Visitors can also visit the Isan and Korat villages, featuring unique antique houses. Various activities will take place around and in the houses such as traditional ceremonies and native dances.
Tickets cost 180 baht per adult and 135 baht per child on weekdays, and 220 baht per adult and 180 baht per child on weekends. During the New Year holidays, tickets are 280 baht per adult and 220 baht per child. It tends to get very crowded; visiting on a weekday is ideal. By car, the farm is about a 2.5 to 3 hour drive from Bangkok, which would make it a very full day trip. You can elect to stay overnight in the Khao Yai area, about an hour away. More ticketing info can be found here.
6. Concert in the Park
Every Sunday at 5.30pm in the cool season, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will host its popular Concert in the Park series in the relaxing atmosphere of Sala Bhirom Bhakdi (near the palm gardens), Lumpini Park. Beginning on 13 December 2015 until 21 February 2016 (with a break on 3 January), families and friends will picnic on the grass (please note: alcohol is not allowed) and enjoy popular tunes from the classics and pop-classics, music from movies and Broadway, and legendary Thai songs with guest vocalists. Admission is free.