The month of May boasts an exciting lineup of festivals and events in Thailand, including local cultural celebrations, extravagant light-and-sound shows in all five regions nationwide, music festivals, a street art showcase, Muay Thai world championship fighting, triathlons, and a sailing regatta.
Bun Bung Fai Rocket Festival 2023
It’s also the time for the exhilarating and action-packed annual Bun Bung Fai or rocket festival, which is held in various Northeast provinces, the biggest and most famous of these being in Yasothon and Kalasin. Normally held mid-month just ahead of crop planting to ask the gods for plentiful rain and a good crop, this famous event sees the launching of home-made rockets containing anywhere from 1 kg to 120 kg of gunpowder high into the sky and is a breathtaking and very noisy spectacle that’s not-to-be-missed.
Here are the different locations to experience the rocket festival:
Yasothon Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival
17-21 May 2023, at Phaya Thaen Park, Mueang District, Yasothon
There are celebrations and activities to enjoy, in addition to the actual launching of the rockets. This includes colourful rocket processions of floats and folk dancing, merit-making ceremonies, a rocket team cheering contest, light and sound show, and Bung Fai parade contest.
Si Sa Ket Bun Bung Fai and Silk Festival
27-28 May 2023, Bueng Bun District, Si Sa Ket
Kalasin Bun Bung Fai Phrae Wa Festival
27-28 May 2023, Ban Phon, Kham Muang District, Kalasin
Kalasin Bun Bung Fai Talai Lan Festival
20-21 May 2023, at Kutwa Municipality, Kuchinarai District, Kalasin
A tradition of the ethnic Phu Thai Kutwa people, the celebrations in Kalasin stand out as many of the rockets are launched as part of huge cartwheel-like structures up to six metres in diameter. This year, in addition to the launching of 50 ‘Bung Fai Talai Saen’ (120 kg) rockets and two ‘Bang Fai Tai Lan’ (1,200 kg) rockets, other celebrations include colourful rocket processions of floats and folk dancing, a merit-making ceremony, and activities showcasing the traditions of the ethnic Phu Thai Kutwa people.
Khon Kaen Bun Bung Fai Festival
27-28 May 2023, Kranuan District, Khon Kaen
Roi Et Bun Bung Fai Festival
27 May – 4 June 2023, Suwannaphum District, Roi Et
‘Vijitr’ lighting extravaganza
The Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT) has scheduled to stage the ‘Vijitr’ extravagant light-and-sound events in the five regions of Thailand – Central, Northeastern, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Regions.
Central Region: Vijitr@Bangkok
29 April-7 May at ICONSIAM, Central Post Office also known as Grand Postal Building, and Wachirabenchathat Park (Rot Fai Park) in Bangkok
This exquisite light and sound show reflects the local beliefs about moonlight and bathing in the moonlight for positive energy and prosperity. The spectacle includes multimedia water feature, lighting, projection mapping and 3D lighting installation elements, along with various other activities.
Northeastern Region: Vijitr@Nakhon Phanom
27 May-4 June on the banks of the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom
With a colourful atmosphere by the famous Mekong River, this event includes a light and sound show with mapping and light up features, together with many other fun activities.
Southern Region: Vijitr@Nakhon Si Thammarat
20-28 May 2023 at various landmarks in Nakhon Si Thammarat
This exciting light and sound event features 3D mapping, light up, light installation, city tour and storytelling techniques, and various other activities at various landmarks.
Northern Region: Vijitr@Chiang Rai
20-28 May 2023 at various landmarks in Chiang Rai
Filled with the charm of the Lanna civilization, this grand event features light and sound performance activities with 3D mapping, light up, light installation, and 3D projection techniques.
Eastern Region: Vijitr@Rayong
27 May-4 June 2023 at Mangrove Forest Learning Center, Phra Chedi Klang Nam, Rayong
This exciting light and sound extravaganza includes projection mapping onto an island in the water, the colourful underwater world of jellyfish, lighting show at the Bridge of Fine Way, fireworks display, and music performances by leading artists, over an area of more than 2 sq km and designed to be ‘a land beyond imagination’.
Other events and festivals
In addition to the annual rocket festival, May is also busy with a range of other cultural, entertainment, and sporting occasions around the country. Here is a list of these, sorted by event date.
Mango Art Festival 2023
2-7 May 2023 at River City Bangkok
The Mango Art Festival is Asia’s first and only art festival that combines art, design, and performance. From 2022 through 2025, the Mango Art Festival will be held at River City Bangkok.
Samui Summer Jazz Festival
2-7 May 2023, Ko Samui, Surat Thani
Six sensational nights featuring top international jazz artists in concert at the island’s 5-star resorts and beach clubs.
Wai Kru Nora Wat Tha Khae
3-6 May 2023 at Wat Tha Khae, Mueang Phatthalung District, Phatthalung
IFMA World Championships 2023
4-13 May 2023 at centralwOrld, Bangkok
Over 100 countries have already confirmed their participation in this 10-day event, which will be held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary celebration of the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA). The event will see 3 rings and over 100 bouts per day telecasted around the world. The outside venue will be transformed into a massive festival ground with over 100 booths and a main stage with daily activities.
M.A.Y. JAM FESTIVAL IN BANGKOK 2023
6 May 2023 at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC)
An annual music festival aiming to bring colors and joy to the summer in Thailand with a star-studded lineup of Korean artists.
Samui Regatta 2023
20-27 May 2023 at Chaweng Beach, Ko Samui, Surat Thani
One of Asia’s biggest and most prestigious regatta events – the Samui Regatta expects to welcome both famous yachts and knowledgeable sailing experts from all over the world to Ko Samui for great sailing, great parties and to experience all that the island has to offer.
Supersports 10 Mile Run 2023 Thailand
21 May 2023 at centralwOrld, Bangkok
This year’s event offers two thrilling distances, the 10-mile run and the 5-mile run, both designed to challenge and inspire runners of all levels.
Ao Nang Bike Week 2023
26-27 May 2023 at Ao Nang Landmark, Mueang District, Krabi
2nd KORAT Street Art
26-28 May 2023 at Activity Grounds, Polsaen Road (Next to Wat Phayap), Mueang District, Nakhon Ratchasima
Muang Thai Triathlon @Huay Mai Teng Ratchaburi 2023
27-28 May 2023 at Huay Mai Teng Ratchaburi 2023