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Hat Yai | Events Calendar 2017

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Hat Yai Events Calendar

Events

A number of events take place in Hat Yai and nearby Songkhla throughout the year. These may be Buddhist festivals, Thai holidays, fairs, or shows. Some are aimed at the locals, while others are more geared up for tourists.

For many events the exact date changes each year. Buddhist holidays and the Chinese New Year are based on the lunar year. Alternatively, an event may start, for example, on the second or third Monday of a particular month.

If you happen to be in Hat Yai while an event is taking place it may be worthwhile going along to take a look.

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Caveat

I'm afraid that I haven't got time to find out about every single event taking place in Hat Yai. However, I will update this page as and when I find out about things. Most of the information here comes from signs I see as I drive or walk around Hat Yai. If you know of something that's going on, please let me know and I will add it here. If you notice any mistakes, please let me know.

Some events listed below may not have dates because I don't know the date yet. I will add dates when I find out.

I will try my best, but I can't guarantee that the information here will always be correct. An event may be cancelled, the date changed, or I may have made a mistake. If you plan to attend one of the events below, please confirm the information first using other sources.

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Previous Years

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Events by Month

January
Date
Event
Details
1st January 2017
New Year
Over the New Year period some roads in the downtown area are closed to traffic and lots of stalls are set up. It's quite a festive atmosphere and it's good being able to wander around with fear of being flattened by a pickup truck.
7th January 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
14th January 2017
Children's Day
Known as wun dek in Thai. Children's Day in Thailand takes place on the second Saturday of January every year. Many Thai kids are quite underprivileged and this is one day where they are made to feel special. They can play on fire engines and do other things. The local municipality and some private companies lay on various activities. The kids can get their hair cut for free, local hospitals carry out free health and dental checks, etc etc.

Events take place at lots of locations, but a major activity centre in Hat Yai on Children's Day is Jiranakorn Sports Stadium on Niphat Songkhro 1 Road.

28th January 2017
The date varies from year to year because CNY is based on the lunar month. CNY can occur in January or February. Hat Yai is a big Chinese town and CNY is a big event. Book your hotel well in advance and bring your earplugs for the firecrackers.

A lot of events take place along Supasarnrangsan Road (Map 2) around the vicinity of the Siang Theung temple and rescue centre, and this is where you can see acts of self-mortification.

A number of events are also scheduled at Srinakorn School (Map 4) over the CNY holiday period and this is where you will be able to meet some Thai celebrities (daa-raa).

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February
3-12 February 2017
OTOP Exhibition
OTOP stands for 'One Tambon One Product'. Thai administrative districts are divided into provinces, districts, sub-districts and then villages. A 'tambon' is a sub-district. The OTOP initiative was introduced to try to increase local entrepreneurship in Thailand. It was introduced by the Thaksin government and copied a similar model in Japan. The products manufactured by OTOP groups might be handicrafts or foodstuffs.

This exhibition, which will be held at the large International Conference Centre just behind the Prince of Songkla University, will feature OTOP products from all over Thailand. To be honest, a lot of OTOP products aren't that inspirational, but if there are handicrafts from northern Thailand there might be some things worth buying.

On the sign I saw advertising this event there were no times given, but I suspect the show will run all day into the evening. As far as I am aware, entrance is free.

4th February 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
11th February 2017
Makha Bucha Day
The date varies from year to year because Buddhist holidays are based on the lunar month. This one falls on the full moon day of the third lunar month, which can be in late February or early March. On this day during the Buddha's lifetime, 1250 Buddhist monks went to pay homage at Veluwan Vihara. They went of their own initiative and none had prior knowledge. All Buddhist temples will celebrate this event. You can join in by lighting candles and incense, and walking around the temple.
27 February 2017 - 5 March 2017
PSU Book Fair
The friend who gave me the dates for the fair this year has just had to close her book shop because no one is interested in buying books. She now sells toys instead, which sell a lot better. I love books, but the world is changing.

Every year there is a book fair at the Prince of Songkla University. As you might expect at a university book fair, many of the books are quite academic, but there are also books of a less academic nature.

I used to attend the fair every year when I was working at the university, but I haven't been for a few years now. If you love books you should enjoy the fair and you might be able to find some bargains.

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March
4th March 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.

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April
1st April 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
6-9 April 2017
Hat Yai Motor Show
The inaugural event was held in 2012, and 2017 will see the 6th Hat Yai Motor Show. The location is in the big International Conference Centre behind the Prince of Songkla University. It's quite easy to find.

Expect the usual pickup trucks and family saloons that can be seen everywhere in Thailand. In addition to the cars, there will also be lots of pretty Thai girls on display in the Miss Hat Yai Motor Show 2017 beauty competition.

I attended the first event in 2012 and don't remember there being an entrance fee. I think that it is still free.

13th April 2017
The traditional New Year in Thailand, and now the world's biggest water fight. Living in Thailand, you either love it or hate it. You can act like a seven year-old all day and squirt water at strangers, or you can do what I do. If I can't manage to be out of the country for Songkran, I stock up with food and stay indoors all day. I'm sorry, but I don't like this festival at all and find a lot of the behaviour quite obnoxious.

At least it only lasts for one day in southern Thailand. If you have the misfortune to be in Chiang Mai during Songkran the juvenile antics go on for an entire week.

Since 1940 the New Year in Thailand has commenced from 1st January (like most of the rest of the world), but the start of the traditional New Year in April is still one of the biggest festivals (probably the biggest) in Thailand.

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May
5-7 May 2017
Balloon Festival
For three days from 4pm until 9:30pm unusual shaped hot air balloons will float in the skies above Hat Yai.

This event will take place at the Jiranakorn Sports stadium on Niphat Songkhro 1 Road. 1672 is the special tourist hotline telephone number for more details.

Entrance is free.

6th May 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
10th May 2017
Visakha Bucha Day
This Buddhist holiday celebrates the birth of the Buddha, his death, and also his enlightenment. All three events occurred on the same day. It's another day when Thai temples see a lot of activity and if you haven't been before it's a good experience. Thais walk around the temple carrying three flowers, three candles and an incense stick as a reminder of the Triple Gems. The actual date varies each year because it falls on the 15th day of the waxing moon in the 6th lunar month.

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June
3rd June 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.

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July
1st July 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
8th July 2017
Asaan-ha Boo-chaa Day

Today is the 15th day of the waxing moon of the eighth lunar month. It was this day during the Buddha's lifetime that he delivered his first sermon to five disciples at the deer park in Benares, India.

Tomorrow is the start of the Buddhist Lent, or Rains Retreat, which lasts for three months. Traditionally, Thai males ordained as monks during this time. In addition to learning about Buddhism, keeping the men in temples also kept them from walking on and damaging crops. Nowadays, it is still traditional for Thai males to ordain as monks, but the ordination period is often less than a week.

As usual for these important days in the Buddhist calendar, there will be ceremonies at all temples involving processions with candles and incense sticks.

This holiday falls on a Saturday this year, therefore some businesses will be closed on Monday.

9th July 2017
Kao Punsaa Day

The start of the Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent.

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August
5th August 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
12th August 2017
Mothers' Day
HM the Queen's birthday and also Mothers' Day in Thailand.
??? August 2017
International Alms Festival
Once a year in August, Niphat Uthit 3 Road (Map 3) is normally closed to traffic early on a Sunday morning for a massive merit-making ceremony that takes place involving 10,000 or more monks. In addition to local Thais, lots of Malaysian and Singaporeans attend. When the monks are ready to receive their alms, it becomes a bit of a scrum as everyone tries to get their offerings in the alms bowls.

The date is normally the first Sunday after Mothers' Day in Thailand, which is 12th August (the Queen's birthday). In 2017 the first Sunday after Mothers' Day is 13th August, however, it doesn't always follow this convention.

What normally happens is that signs advertising the event appear in Hat Yai just before the event happens and once I know the date from the signs I post it here.

11-20 August 2017
Agricultural Fair
This is a regular event at the Prince of Songkla University every August and it attracts tens of thousands of people from all over southern Thailand. It's actually very good and caters to a wide variety of people. Farmers can buy a new tractor, while members of the public can buy a new car, truck or motorbike. There are lots of plants, pets, and handicrafts on sale. Many of the handicrafts are from Chiang Mai and they are not available in Hat Yai at other times of the year.

To be completely honest, a lot of the fairs and festivals in Hat Yai aren't really worth going to, but this is an exception. I have been attending since 2004 and each year I like to visit the fair at least once.

17-18 August 2017
PSU Science Week
This event is also referred to as PSU Open Week. For a few days in August the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) opens its doors to the public and coach loads of school kids arrive in Hat Yai from all over southern Thailand. The idea is for them to get a taste of university life, but instead many sneak off and spend their time in Tesco Lotus or, since it opened, Central Festival. Many come from very rural areas and a trip to the 'Big City' of Hat Yai is exciting for them. It seems a waste spending the whole day inside a boring university so they go off and have fun elsewhere. This is an event that's really intended for high school kids, but anyone can attend. Thais have an obsession with ghosts and you will find the longest queue outside the department of pathology where there are real cadavers on display inside. The kids look terrified when they see dead bodies, but this is one thing that they don't want to miss.

If you have any questions, there are two phone numbers:

+66 (0)74 287093
+66 (0)74 287111

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September
2nd September 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.

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October
6th October 2017
Awk Punsaa Day
The end of the Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent.
7th October 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
20-28 October 2017
Although the Phuket vegetarian festival is much more famous, the equivalent festival in Hat Yai is a major event and it goes on for nine days. It is another festival based on lunar dates and therefore the actual date changes each year. The venue is along Supasarnrangsan Road. Lots of regular restaurants close for the duration of the festival (or just serve vegetarian food) and lots of vegetarian stalls open on the street. You can watch devotees perform acts of ritualised mutilation by having their bodies pierced with various objects. There is a lot of blood and it isn't for the squeamish.
23rd October 2017
Chulalongkorn Day
King Rama V was a very special king for the Thai people. He was born on 20 September 1853 and died on 23 October 1910. He is remembered every year on the anniversary of his death. In Hat Yai there is a large Rama V statue inside the municipal park and a lot of people attend early in the morning on 23 October. If you plan on going, get there before 9am.

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November
3rd November 2017
This festival falls on the full moon day of the 12th month, which is normally in November. Thais float (loy) their 'gratongs' on the nearest convenient body of water. Inside the gratongs they place a nail clipping, some of their own hair and a coin. Ask around to find out where you can participate. At PSU in the afternoon there is a parade with lots of pretty girls. In addition to floating gratongs, there are also beauty contests staged to find 'naang nopamaat' (a Thai legend). Loy Gratong is a far more civilised occasion than Songkran and normally very enjoyable.
4th November 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.

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December
2nd December 2017
Bullfights are held at the Hat Yai bullfighting arena once a month. These normally take place on the first Saturday of the month, but check first because the dates can change as a result of public holidays, etc. The bouts start at around 10am.
8-11 December 2017
Motor Expo
This will be held at Central Festival in the Hat Yai Hall on level 5. In addition to cars there will be other entertainment, including a concert, singing contest, kids' fashion contest, and dance team contest.

This is the second year this Expo has been staged and it appears to be an evening event that starts at 18:00. I didn't attend the first year so can't provide any personal views. There is a phone number to call if you have questions - 086 290 3300.

25th December 2017
Christmas
Thailand is a Buddhist, and therefore atheist, country. However, Thais like receiving gifts and they like coloured fairy lights. The department stores are decorated with Christmas decorations in the run up to Christmas and Jingle Bells can be heard over the PA system while you are shopping.
31st December 2017
New Year's Eve
Thais make a big thing of New Year and there is a big countdown ceremony around Lee Gardens Plaza. You will also see and see a lot of fireworks.

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Get The Best Deal On Your Hat Yai Hotel Room

Listed opposite are some of my personal recommendations for hotels in Hat Yai based on budget. I have lived permanently in Hat Yai since 2003 and my recommendations are based on a lot of local knowledge.

Each link will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. Every time I research hotel prices the Agoda price is always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people.

If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.

If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.

Images of Thailand

Images of Thailand

 

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