After the crazy times of Songkran in Chiang Mai, one might think that Thailand lulls itself into a few months of relative calm. That is not the case for the month of May, as several events take place, and Visaka Bucha which begins in early June should be on the radar screen of anyone in Thailand.
May 2012 Calendar for Thailand
- May 1st is Labor day (วันแรงงานแห่งชาติ, Wan Raeng Ngan Haeng Chat) and some government offices may be closed.
- May 5th is Coronation Day
- Because May 5th is a Saturday, the substitute day off is Monday. Post offices will do the obvious and take both Saturday and Monday off (and be closed 6-7th).
- May 9th is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony. Some people (and businesses) will be sorely tempted to take the previous weekend off all the way through Wednesday, for a five day weekend.
- In Chiang Mai, the 7 day (8 counting the closing ceremony) event of Inthakin, the City Pillar Festival should not be missed. More detail about this will be forthcoming. It is held in 2012 from May 17-24th.
- Visaka Bucha doesn't begin until June 4th, but as one of the most significant holidays in the Buddhist calendar - celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha - it is worth gearing up for. Those in Chiang Mai have an opportunity to walk up Doi Suthep to reach the temple at the summit, somewhere between 10-15km in length. It can take 3 hours to the top and another 3 hours back to the bottom. Many rest stations with beverages and snacks available, opportunities to entertainment, dancing and music along the way.