Festival Photography for Festivals of Thailand
My photo catalog keeps growing, so please, scroll down and use one of the links to experience
a little bit of what makes Thailand the festival capital of the world.
Queen's Birthday/Mother's Day
In Chiang Mai, every year on August 12th, mother’s, father’s, son’s and daughter’s head to Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai to celebrate Queen Sirikit’s birthday as well as pay tribute to there mother’s for Mother’s Day. While in Lamphun, the center of all large scale celebrations is Wat Phra That Hariphunchai and on this Mother’s day there were no exceptions.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Also known as the “Nine Emperor Gods” festival, it takes place over the course of 9 days, involving over 20 shrines in a variety of activities; chanting ceremonies, piercings of all kinds (mostly through the cheeks), parades filled with fireworks and dragons, enchanted mystics, fire-walking and bladed ladder climbing and more. This is a full on festival, not for the faint of heart. Attracts shutterbugs from all over the world! Protect your lenses, firecrackers will be popping all around you!
Asanha Bucha Day
I have two series of photographs for Asanha Bucha Day, one from 2014 and the other from 2015. Both take place in the northern city of Chiang Mai. In 2014 at Wat Chang Khian and 2015 at Wat Pratao. On this day, Thai’s head to there local temples to pray for good fortune on one of the more important Buddha days of the year, Asanha Bucha Day.
Visakha Bucha Day
The highlight of Visakha Bucha Day in Chiang Mai is the 11k hike up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Pilgrims come from all over Thailand to make this trip to the top and welcome foreigners to do the same. Many stay overnight or walk or hop on a songthaew back to the bottom. I tried to capture the energy and the comradery of that day and night and can only hope that I succeeded.
Loi Krathong Festival
The tail of two cities for Loi Krathong Festival. That said, I still manage to get my shots in. The threat of rain in 2014 in Chiang Mai didn’t stop me nor did a nagging cold in Lamphun for 2015. Two cities, one big, one small, one attended by people from around the world, the other, much more local and much small in scope. The hot spots in Chiang Mai center around Thai Phae Gate and the Ping River. While in Lamphun, it’s Wat Phra That Haripunchai and the Kuang River. What hasn’t changed is that I really need a faster lens for these night shoots. Enjoy!
Yi Peng Lantern Ceremony
The Yi Peng Lantern Ceremony is held yearly in Mae Jo, Chiang Mai. Though you can find lanterns being lit in other parts of Thailand, its origins are specific to northern Thailand and you will not find this event at this level anywhere else. Trust me, this event is something special and must be experienced in person. The mass release of over one thousand lanterns makes the hassle of getting there truly worthwhile. This ceremony usually coincides with the larger Loy Krathong Festival.
Phi Ta Khon (Ghost Mask) Festvial
The Phi Ta Khon also known as the Ghost Mask Festival is rich in culture and folklore. This popular festival attracts thousands from all over Thailand and the world. It takes place over three days, day two being the biggest with marching bands, army paratroopers, Thai percussion groups, traditional Thai music and dancers and most of all, locals dressed in nightmarish costumes parading around and mixing with the crowd. Please take a look inside and experience a bit of this authentic Thai festival.
World Durian Fruit Festival
The World Durian Fruit Festival is held once a year in Muang Chanthaburi. The Durian may be the guest of honor, but by no means it is alone. There are many competing fruits for the public’s attention at this fair. Personally, I cant stand the stuff, the way it smells and tastes… it’s just not for me. That said, the festival is a great venue to see the abundance of Thailand fruits on display and is also a great example of an up and coming city that has not been overrun by tourism.
Songkran Water Festival
Hopped on a train for 2013’s Songkran’s Water Festival (Thai New Year) headed for Ayutthaya, Thailand. Ayutthaya celebrates Songkran a little differently than in other parts of Thailand. Here, elephants can be found on the streets, where they dip their trunks into buckets of water and enter the water fight by spraying crowds of people with elephant sized doses of water. Had to devise homemade protections for my cameras and somehow made it though without an indecent.
Labor Day in Thailand
Labor Day in Thailand as held in Chiang Mai. The day began at Three Kings Monument, where a parade made its way to Tha Phae Gate and was followed up with an awards ceremony and commenced with a Thai cooking competition. Not too heavy on Labor issues, but a fun day and event nonetheless. Put my 60D to work on a day, maybe I should have given it a break. 😉
Poi Sang Long Festival
The Poi Sang Long Festival is held once a year in Mae Hong Son. For three days the sons of the local Thai Yai people are paraded around the city, going from one temple to the next just before they enter the monastic life. For most, it is temporary, yet for some it is the beginning of a new way of life. This festival is a photographer’s wet dream! I easily took more pictures here than any festival I attended before. Extra SD cards and batteries are your friends.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is just another abundantly colorful yearly festival held in Chiang Mai and is one of the biggest events of the year. From the Parade to the ceremonies to the large assortment of flora on display, this is truly a festival for the shutterbugs in us all. Most of the inner city is paralyzed in traffic so either use your feet or rent a scooter, cars and songthaew’s are kind of useless. I’ll tell you what isn’t useless, your camera! You may need an extra sd card and or battery for this one.
Makha Bucha Festival
As Festivals of Thailand’s, festival photographer for the festival photography page (I kind of do everything here), attended Makha Bucha Day at in Lamphun, Thailand. Thai people gather in temples all around Thailand for merit-making activities. It’s also a day for doing good deeds and to purify the mind. I know I can use a little of that purification myself! I digress, inside I attempted to capture a typical Buddha Day as they go about there merit making routine.
Salak Yom Festival
The Salak Yom Festival is a regional festival located in Lamphun Provence. It is for merit-making and dedicated to the young, coming of age women of the Yaung tribe. I attended this very colorful festival in 2013 (photo album) and 2015 (photo album), both were located in the center of Muang Lamphun, at Wat Phra That Harinpunchai. This festival fell out of favor for over 50 years and was revived about 10 years ago. It doesn’t hold the same significance it once did, yet has been welcomed back by the ever growing crowds due to its vibrant and colorfully displays of salaks. Bring your cameras!
Umbrella's & Handicrafts Festival
The Handmade Umbrella and Handicrafts Festival is held yearly in Bo Sang, Thailand, about 10k outside of the old square, Mueang Chiang Mai. In January the days are hot, but the nights are cool and as darkness sets in, the umbrella’s light up, making Bo Sang the place to be and festival photography something special to do. The faster the lens the better as your collective flashes will (in the wrong hands) kill a good nighttime shoot. Have fun!
HM the Kings Birthday
December 5th is His Majesty The King’s Birthday. BeeBee, owner and operator of @Home Apartments in Chiang Mai, yearly invites monks from the local temple to lead a ceremony with chanting, burning incense and lighting candles in honor of her King, in the hopes that good fortune will look upon her in the year to come. Beebee invited everyone from the building to attend the early morning ceremony and kindly provided food and beverages for all who attended. With camera in hand, I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30am and did what I could at that hour of the morning. It was also the last time I put my trusty ol’ Nikon D60 and it’s accompanying 18-200mm lens to work. Loved that lens but the D60 couldn’t drive the lens auto focus and my stigmatized eyes surly needed its assistance. Out with the Nikon D60 and in with my sweetheart, the Canon 60D.