Local Festivals & Featured Tours

Yasothon Bun Bang Fai Festival

Yasothon Bun Bang Fai Festival

Bun Bang Fai Festival is an ancient local festival, which is associated with traditional Thai beliefs in the supernatural powers that help promote the production of rice crops for the coming planting season. In the rainy season, the local people believe that the God would hear the entreaties that they create or "Bang Fai" to send (HUGE versions of your standard garden rocket!) to heaven and bless them with plentiful rain for rice cultivation. So, the celebration is entirely to the God of rain. On the festival day, the beautiful rockets in different styles are paraded to the launch site. The local people dress in colourful traditional costumes and dance to accompany the procession. The highlight of the festival is the launch time. The rockets are fired from their launch platforms one by one. Noisy folk music and cheers can be heard for each liftoff and the rocket that reaches the greatest height is declared the winner

ANZAC Remembrance River Kwai Loop

Total 1,814 Km

i: Arrival Day: Airport Collection & check-in from 10:00 - 16:00. Welcome Dinner for all, we've been looking forward to meeting you by now!

ii: Day Ride: Acclimatisation ride, just to get you in the swing of things

iii: On The Road: 301 Km; visiting various waterfalls, royal temple and the highest mountain peak in Thailand

iv:  234 Km; visiting Hilltribe Refugees,

v: 267 Km; visiting Myanmar via Thailand's Westernmost Point

vi: 304 Km; Some of the best twisties you'll ever encounter

vii: 80 Km; Visiting Water Falls & Bridge Over The River Kwae

viii: 80 Km; visiting “Hammer & Tap Pass” renowned for “A soul for every sleeper laid” along the rail track

ix: 363 Km; visiting historic ruined city

x: 452 Km; visiting historic shrine & Thailand's largest dam

xi: Day 11: Departure Day, Check-out 12:00 we'll return you to the airport personally up until 16:00, then we're due out again.

 

Lampang 2-Day Ride

Experience the way of life between elephant and people including how to eat and live together, traditional blessing ceremony and also special elephant show. To save an early start on the Tuesday, hammering down & spending all day "playing catch-up" we'll head down on Monday, relaxed, night out in Lampang & properly enjoy the festivities tomorrow!

Annually since 1998 on the 13th March

Elephant Satoke Fair

When: 13 March 2018

Where: Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre, Lampang

Elephant shows, parades, and a decorating contest for the elephants' Satoke (a large khan toke) all lead up to a feast of fruits and vegetables for the elephants.

Where: Across Thailand

If you have ever been to Thailand you will note the importance of this majestic animal to the people of this Kingdom, in both their daily lives and in the spiritual needs, images of elephants (Thai: Chang)are just about every-where.

Numerous events take place across the Kingdom on this day, in zoos and elephant parks you will find elephants being treating to huge banquets of their favorite food such as fruit and sugar cane. Before these buffets can commence and early in the mornings you will normally find Buddhist ceremonies being held to bring good luck to both these former beasts of burden and their handler (mahout – mahout derives from the Hindi words mahout) known in Thailand as a kwan-chang

Combined Surin Elephants & Sukhothai Loy Krathong

Surin Elephant Performance Ground and Si  Narong Stadium,  Surin Province  What/Why :  Surin, the northeastern province is very well known to both Thai people and international tourists as “the Land of Elephants.” It has been presenting the Elephant Round-Up for more than 50 years. Now, as an internationally recognized event, Elephant Round-Up begins with a wonderful elephant parade through the streets, and the famous “elephant breakfast”. After that, the shows also include elephant talent competitions, demonstration of the various techniques used to capture and train elephants, a presentation of ancient elephant warfare techniques, a series of shows displaying the strength and skill of the animals, such as football games and a tug-of-war between men and elephants.

Where: Si Narong Stadium, Sikhoraphum Castle (temple) & The Monument of Phaya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang inSurin Province

The Surin Elephant Roundup is a cultural festival held every year in Surin, Northeast Thailand. The festival has its origins in the ancient royal hunts which were conducted in the province around the time when the Roman Empire was collapsing. Where there were once a vast wild elephant population in the Kingdom estimated at the beginning of the 20th century to be in excess of 300,000 with a further 100,000 domesticated elephants, today there are as few as 3,000 – 3,700 wild elephants and a total captive population of 3,500 – 4,000.

This relatively modern event started in the 1950’s and is staged over three days, it includes a variety of shows displaying the physical prowess and skill of these intelligent and majestic animals. The venue for part the event, Si Narong Stadium, has been dubbed the “world’s largest domestic elephant village”

Ork Phansa Isaan Loop Wan Ok Phansa 2018

The festival that marks the end of the Buddhist lent is full of celebrations and interesting authentic activities The Buddhist lent lasts for three months and traditionally coincides with the rainy season. The festival falls on the last day of the Lent. Typically the festival day falls in October and it commemorates the day when Buddha came back from heaven. The Thai Buddhists celebrate it with food offerings and visits to the temples. However, the festival includes not only religious aspects but also some events full of adrenaline, such as a traditional long-boat race in different regions. Different temples from each village often build bamboo boats and decorate them with lights and candles. Even families build their own banana tree trunk boats and take part in the procession! A truly beautiful scene that will stay in your memory like a warm and peaceful mo​ment.

Bangkok, 21 September, 2017 – A busy time on the Thailand event calendar, the Ok Phansa festival is celebrated on the full moon of the 11th lunar month or October and marks the end of the Buddhist Lent. It is a time of celebration and merit-making with different events and activities held throughout the country in different provinces.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Among Thailand’s fascinating events and festivals, Ok Phansa offers tourists much choices in the way of unique Thai events that offer local culture, traditions and fun. And this year the festival takes on extra significance with many events held in honour of King Rama IX and King Rama X.”

Among the most famous events for Ok Phansa are:

The Saraburi Long-boat Race Festival 2017 on 23-24 September, which dates back to the golden age of the Ayutthaya era and features thrilling long boat-races on the Pasak River.

The Buffalo Racing Festival 2017 from 28 September-4 October in Chon Buri. With their jockeys clinging on, buffaloes race at surprisingly quick speeds in what is also a celebration of this animal’s exalted status in the agricultural arena.

The Nakhon Phanom Illuminated Boat Procession 2017 from 28 September-6 October, in which locals float the Lai Reua Fai or illuminated boats down the Mekong River. Loaded with food, flowers, incense sticks, candles and handmade lanterns, the boats make a spectacular sight.

Taking place in Samut Prakan from 29 September-6 October is the Rap Bua Festival 2017, an ancient Buddhist tradition of the local people of Bang Phli district and where the highlight is a magnificent barge procession of a replica of the Luangpho To Buddhist image along Khlong Samrong.

The Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival 2017 from 2– 5 October, with amazing wax sculptures on display and long-boat races on Nong Han Reservoir. The intricate sculptures in the form of entire cities, elaborate deities and shrines are paraded around town and are helping to gain increased international recognition for this event.

The Surat Thani Chak Phra Festival and Boat Races 2017 from 2-10 October on the Tapi Riverbank and Naris Bridge. Floral floats shaped into mythical creatures from Buddhist folklore go on parade, while the boat races attract teams from several Southern provinces.

And in Nong Khai, the famous Naga Fireball World Festival 2017 is set for 4-11 October. One of the more mysterious of events on the Thailand events calendar, this centres around the as yet unexplained fireballs that annually erupt into the sky from the Mekong River.

Wan Awk Phansa is an important festival for devout Thais as it marks the end of lent as well as the start of a new season following the end of heavy rains.

The holiday is recognised as a public holiday in Thailand and is marked on the full moon day of the eleventh lunar month.

In signifying the end of the lent period for Buddhists, the festival highlights the importance of abstaining from meat, alcohol and smoking. On this day, the locals will make their way to the temples to make petitions as well as offerings.

Often, the visit involves heading back to the temple of one’s birthplace. This is often accompanied by candlelit gatherings where the locals walk around the temple carrying a candle, a lotus bud and three incense sticks.

It is not uncommon to see boat processions carrying the Thai faithful. During the day, some places will hold boat races. As the day draws to a close, the boats will often be used to transport flowers and candles, usually taking on a religious or patriotic theme.

For visitors to Thailand, perhaps nothing beats the giant Naga Fireballs. This amazing show of lights is thought to be the work of igniting gases spontaneously, releasing fireballs that soar to the sky. The breath-taking show has special meaning for the locals and is a surreal experience for foreigners. They can best be viewed along the Mekong River for over 20km between Pak-Ngeum district, about 80km south of the Laos capital Vientiane, and Phonephisai district in Nong Khai province, Thailand. Otherwise, you can stay in Chiang Mai where the locals organise their own events.

As with major events in Chiang Mai, Wan Awk Phansa draws tourists to the city in large numbers. For this reason, accommodation becomes strained, albeit for a short period of time. It is advisable to make bookings in advance if you plan to attend this event.

Moto GP Loop, Buriram

Rider, 107,749 THB
Rider & Pillion 178,859 THB

These prices are fully inclusive; ALL accommodation throughout (Inc. first & last nights', oh, and Deluxe rooms, not the shabby standards with cold-water showers!) ALL Meals (gourmet fayre, no street-food/cheapo buffets), all fluids for both bikes and yourselves...except alcoholic beverages of course.

Plus much, much more, those of you who return every season know you spend less than $100 on sundries when with us.

"Swimming Buddha" Loop, Petchabun

Our latest Isaan Loop especially tailored to include two uniquely North-Eastern Festivals, firstly this "Swimming Buddha", leading directly into the biggest Dragon-Boat Races with competitors countrywide and international

A Bathing Buddha or Um Phra Dam Nam ceremony is held each September in Petchabun Province in honor of a Buddha statue called Phra Buddha Mahadhamaracha. The statue, cast in the ornamental Lop Buri style, was found in the Pasak River by a group of farmers around four hundred years ago and was taken to be housed in Wat Trai Phum. According to local legend, the Buddha statue has twice disappeared from the temple only to be discovered again in the water. Consequently, a water oriented Buddhist holiday pays homage to the mystical image of the Buddha.

The ceremony starts at 1 p.m. when the Buddha statue is carried around town and put under a tent in Wat Trai Phum, where Buddhists can pay respect to the image and stick gold leaf to the body of the Buddha statue. In the evening, prayers are chanted and there are various kinds of entertainment. The next morning, people make merit by donating food and other necessities to the temple’s resident monks. The Buddha statue is then taken to be immersed in the Pasak River by the local governor of Phetchabun in the belief that this act brings happiness and fertility to the province. Traditional dances are then performed to show respect to the Buddha statue.

After the ceremony, the water in the river is regarded as sacred. As a result, people swim in it or take the water to drink before a festive boat racing begins.

 

The Phi Ta Khon (Ghost) Festival

The Phi Ta Khon festival is the biggest attraction to the otherwise sleepy farming village of Dan Sai, nestled in the mountains of Loei province of northeastern Thailand. The event is peculiar to Dan Sai, but does combine elements of other Isaan festivals, such as the rocket festivals to bring rain. Although pinning down the dates of Phi Ta Khon was once an issue, with the village elders only naming the dates a few weeks beforehand, the festival is now fixed at the first weekend after the sixth full moon annually

The most recognised feature of the Phi Ta Khon, or Ghost festival, is the colourful parade of locals who dance and strike poses while wearing huge masks creatively made from carved coconut-tree trunks, topped with wicker sticky-rice steamers that make them appear taller and more grotesque.

Phi Ta Khon, one of the most colourful traditional festivals of Loei province, is a unique masked procession which takes place during a three-day Buddhist merit-making holiday known locally as Boon Prawat. This annual event, sometimes called The Ghost Mask Festival by foreign tourists, will be held from 16-18 June 2018 in the village of Dan Sai in Loei.  The whole event is called Bun Luang, and the highlight of this unique festival is a long, colourful parade of young people who dance and strike poses while wearing huge masks made from carved coconut-tree trunks, topped with wicker work and sticky-rice steamers. These represent ghosts and as they parade they carry a sacred Buddha image. It is thought that the festival originated as a form of spirit worship with music and dancing to appease the spirits who protect the local villages and ensure plenty of rain for the upcoming harvest season

 

Local Festivals & Interest Loops

With so much demand from our repeat customers for more tours, something else for everyone to come back and experience - especially after having been on all seven of our standard tours (including a few repeats in many cases) and literally having covered every inch of the most exciting roads countrywide - we've developed the following new tours; all timed to coincide with Thailand's biggest, best (craziest in many cases!) and most exciting local festivals. Mostly taking place over the long, public holidays, very often there's even a choice of alternatives - biking of course being the only way to travel, taking the scenic routes to & from and avoiding the traffic jams! The one festival I don't believe it's a wise idea to ride being Songkrahn or "New Year" for the Thais - a HUGE Nationwide celebration when the RTA statistics speak for themselves. Songkrahn held April 12th - 15th annually, we suspend activites for the entire week.

All events listed below are masses of fun, you'll never have experienced anything like it previously, and very doubtful ever will again! These Thai/Buddhist holidays all based on Lunar - 28day calendar, hence all dates below are subject to change. Please check our site calendar  for exact dates / times. Accurate to 2020. Please book early as although we're the first biking tour to headline these events - they're incredibly popular with Thais countrywide and accommodation fully booked often months in advance

Overview & Key (1-7)

Local Festivals

    1. 3rd Saturday in September: Petchabun "Swimming Buddha" Festival followed immediately by Dragon Boat Racing on the River PaSak in Saraburi, return to Chiang Mai 30th September
    2. 2nd - 12th October: Moto GP Loop in Buriram
    3. 22nd Oct - 1st Nov: "Ork Phansa", the end of the 3-months' duration Buddhist Lent. Here we have a few alternatives, recommended; Nongkhai / Phon Pisai to view the "Naga Fireballs" followed by Buffalo Racing in Chonburi
    4. 9th - 23rd November: World-Famous "Elephant Round-Up" in Surin, immediately followed by the "Loi Krathong & Festival of Lights" in Sukhothai
    5. 18th - 27th April: The River Kwae, Kanchanaburi. ANZAC Memorial Day
    6. 29th April - 8th May: Yasothon "Bun Bang Fai" Rocket Festival.
    7. 13th - 23rd June: Dan Sai for the "Phi Ta Khon" or "Ghost" Festival

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Swimming Buddha
Festival followed immediately by Dragon Boat Racing on the River PaSak in Saraburi, return to Chiang Mai 30th September

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Moto GP Loop

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Ork Phansa
Here we have a few alternatives, recommended; Nongkhai / Phon Pisai to view the "Naga Fireballs" followed by Buffalo Racing in Chonburi

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Elephant Round-Up
World-Famous "Elephant Round-Up" in Surin, immediately followed by the "Loi Krathong & Festival of Lights" in Sukhothai

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Southern Sunset


The River Kwae, Kanchanaburi.
ANZAC Memorial Day

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        OverPass In Bangkok

Rocket Festival.
"Yasothon "Bun Bang Fai" Rocket Festival.

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"Ghost" Festival
Dan Sai for the "Phi Ta Khon" or "Ghost" Festival

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