Thai Holidays: When You Are and Aren’t Allowed to Drink!
Plan Your Backpacking Around Thai Holidays
No one wants their travels disrupted by not knowing when you’re allowed to drink during Thai holidays. If you’re in Thailand for your vacation, then there’s a very strong chance that you’ll be there for a national holiday. In fact, there’s at least 1 public holiday in 9 out of 12 months of the year.
Some of these holidays aren’t just about partying. In fact, some of them are religious, meaning that the bars across the country will be closed completely. Those are the days you’ll want to know about in advance since no one wants to be left high and dry without a beer when you’ve been craving one. On the other side of the coin, you’ll want to know when you can join in the revelry and drink til dawn with the locals!
New Year’s Day – Jan 1: As with the majority of the world, the start of the Western New Year is celebrated in Thailand. Bars will remain open.
Chinese New Year – Feb 5: Also known as Lunar New Year! The multi-day celebration is now enjoyed across the world, keep an eye out for huge events in Chinatown areas and open bars.
Makha Bucha – Feb 19: One of the big four Buddhist holidays, it commemorates the full moon of the 3rd lunar month and the day that Buddha delivered his core teachings. No bars will open.
Chakri Day: Apr 8: Commemorating the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782. Relatively low key celebrations due to the epicness of Songkran to follow. Bars are open.
Songkran Festival – Apr 13 to Apr 15: This is the king of all Thai parties. 3 days (at a minimum) to mark the start of Thai New Year including all-day partying, celebrating and nationwide water fighting. Whilst April 13th, 14th and 15th are the national holiday dates, many areas (especially those coastal areas in the South), will celebrate for up to a week.
If you can be in Thailand for Songkran then do! It’s a week to remember and is a huge amount of fun. Most importantly? The bars will be open serving wet and wild punters for as long as the festival goes on.
Labor Day – May 01: Thailand’s celebrations of labor, bars are open.
Visakha Bucha Day – May 20: Commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. No bars will be serving.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony – May 22: Bars are open as usual!
Asanha Bucha – Jul 16: A day to celebrate the first sermon that Buddha gave to his first five disciples: No bars will be open.
Buddhist Lent – Jul 17: Making for two days of no bars opening. Buddhist Lent is respected across the country.
H.M. The King’s Birthday – Rama X – Jul 29: Honoring the recently crowned King Vajiralongkorn – Rama X: Bars will be open as usual.
H.M. The Queen’s Birthday – Aug 12: This day is also celebrated as Mother’s Day in Thailand: Bars are open and serving.
Passing of King Bhumibol – Rama IX – Oct 14: This is a relatively new holiday that marks the death of King Rama IX: Drinking is allowed and bars will be serving.
End of Buddhist Lent – Oct 13 – Also known as Wan Awk Phansa: Marking the end of Buddhist Lent, bars will remain closed throughout this day.
Chulalongkorn Memorial Day – Oct 23: Giving Thais a chance to commemorate another past king, Bars will be open.
Loy Krathong – Nov 13: Technically, Loy Krathong isn’t a national holiday but it is widely celebrated, especially in the northern cities with Chiang Mai taking centre stage. Thousands of lanterns will be lit and launched into the air alongside fireworks and floating lanterns. Drinking is allowed and all bars will be serving.
H.M. The King’s Birthday – Rama IX – Dec 05: Much like the above H.M. The Queen’s Birthday, this day commemorates the birthday of King Bhumibol (Rama IX) and also acts as Father’s Day. Bars open!
Thai Constitution Day – Dec 10: Marking the implementation of the Thai Constitution, mutedly celebrated and bars are open as usual.
New Year’s Eve – Dec 31: Western New Year’s Eve is widely celebrated across the country, and as you’d expect bars are open.
Where’s the party at?
You might have noticed that we love a good party at Bodega… While we conform to the above regulations, you’ll always find us partying on the days where bars can serve: which, as you can see, is the vast majority of the time! Cheers to Thai holidays (when it’s legal)! 😉