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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular festivals and events hosted in Koh Samui?

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When you’re travelling to a destination, you’ll find unique local traditions in the kind of food that is served, the hospitality that they extend to you and the handicrafts and souvenirs that you’ll take home with you. But perhaps the most effective way to understand local cultures is through the various festivals and events celebrated there, when a city lights up to pay respect to its traditions and culture. Koh Samui is no exception in this regard, where your overall experience of the destination will only be further enhanced by the colourful and exciting festivals celebrated here. You wouldn’t want to miss:


  • Songkran

    A New Year usually and commonly lasts only for a day. But the Thai do it differently here, where the festival of Songkran lasting a whole 3 days every year (between 13th and 15th April). Originally, Buddhist monks would sprinkle water on people as a cleansing ritual. But believe it or not, what was a symbolic sprinkling has now become a full-blow water-fight festival. Armed with buckets and pistols of water, the locals take to the streets, splashing each other with an abundant amount of water. At the beginning of the summer season, this is also believed to relieve stress and beat the soaring temperatures.
    The locals extend a friendly welcome to the tourists by dousing them with water too, so consider it a part of their hospitality. If at all you’re not in the mood to get splashed, it’s ideal to stay indoors as literally no one, (well except maybe uniformed officials) are spared this kind of affection and joy.

  • Loy Kratong

    This one is perhaps one of the most awaited days in Thai culture, occurring on the full moon night of the 12th Lunar month (November). Loy means “to float” and the traditional banana-leaf boat that is made to float is called Kratong, though now the banana-leaves have given way to more creative materials and shapes. A festival of lights, the locals here make little boats and add money, incense, flowers and candles as offerings. These boats are then made to float in a water body, the Gulf of Thailand in this case. Thousands of people gather around at the beaches and watch their kratongs float away amidst the several other twinkling kratongs. These lights and the full moon night create a sublime, serene ambience and is quite a favourite among romantic couples. Legends believe that the festival originally began as a celebration to the Buddhist goddess of water, Phra Mae Kongka, which is only more fitting since Koh Samui is surrounded by and depends heavily on water for livelihood.
    The more mesmerising aspect of the festival is of course the
    krombs, small rice-paper hot air balloons that glow as soon as they take flight. These are released to symbolise the release of sins of the past year. A truly magical experience, if you’re in Koh Samui around this time, this one should be high on your list of things to do.


If you’re travelling during these festivals, make sure you book in advance and are ready to face some serious crowds. With song, dance and lots of twinkling lights, your time here in Koh Samui is going to be, quite simply, joyful. Join in the crowds and feel the excitement pulse through you.

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