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Hat Yai | Events Calendar 2020

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The annual International Alms Festival in Hat Yai with over 10,000 monks

The annual International Alms Festival in Hat Yai with over 10,000 monks

 

Hotels Deals

I live in Southeast Asia and have booked hundreds of hotels in this region. I have spent many hours researching hotel prices to get the best deal and I always end up booking through Agoda. Their rates are far lower compared to other companies or booking directly with hotels. Give them a try!

Hat Yai Events Calendar

Covid-19 Virus

The worldwide panic over the Covid-19 Virus in 2020 has resulted in most events in Thailand being cancelled. If you are interested in attending any of the events below, check news sources first to confirm that the event is still taking place. If I hear about any of the events below being cancelled I will post an update, but I cannot guarantee that the information on this website will always be correct. Too many things change and I am simply too busy to be constantly checking things.

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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
1st January 2020
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.
4th January 2020
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 January 2020
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.

25th January 2020
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
1st February 2020
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 February 2020
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.

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March
7th March 2020
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
3-6 April 2020
Hat Yai Motor Show (POSTPONED)

Because of the big 2020 coronavirus panic, this year's Hat Yai Motor Show has been postponed. The new dates are 1-4 May. See the entry below for details.

Many Thais seem convinced that the Covid-19 virus won't be a problem after their Songkran festival in April. Tourism is vitally important to the Thai economy, especially Chinese tourism, and the virus outbreak has destroyed the Thai tourist industry. I admire their optimism, but as I write (in early March) the situation seems to be getting worse and the problem could drag on for a lot longer than they expect. Time will tell. Let's hope that things get back to normal soon.

4th April 2020

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.

13th April 2020

Update: The coronavirus panic has resulted in virtually every public event in Thailand being cancelled in early 2020, as well as virtually destroying Thailand's tourism industry. It has been announced that Songkran has been cancelled in Patong, Pattaya and other places. I haven't yet heard an official announcement that it will be cancelled in Hat Yai, but because of the general sentiment surrounding this virus I suspect it will be.

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
1-4 May 2020
Hat Yai Motor Show

The inaugural event was held in 2012, and 2020 will see the 9th 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 2020 beauty competition. The competition is open to girls aged between 17-28.

Political correctness and woke culture killed off beauty competitions in Western countries years ago, but thankfully political correctness never arrived in Thailand and you can still see pretty girls voluntarily showing off their good looks in competitions all over the country.

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

2nd May 2020

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.

6th May 2020
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.

11th May 2020
Royal Ploughing Day

The whole nation of Thailand is transfixed today watching some oxen grazing in Bangkok to see what kind of food the animals eat. The cows' dietary choice will determine whether the forthcoming rice season will be good or bad.

The ceremony is held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, but it is widely televised and transmitted by all of the Thai TV channels. Other Southeast Asian countries also observe this ceremony, which dates back hundreds of years.

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June
6th June 2020

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
4th July 2020

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.

5th July 2020
Asarnha Bucha 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.

5th July 2020
Kao Punsaa Day

The start of the Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent.

28th July 2020
H.M. The King's Birthday (Rama X)

The much loved King Rama IX's birthday is still observed on 5th December and this is still the date for Father's Day. In Thailand, Father's Day is celebrated on the King's birthday so I wasn't sure if the date of Father's Day would change after King Rama X ascended to the throne, but apparently not.

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August
1st August 2020

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.

TBC
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.

12th August 2020
Mothers' Day

HM Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother's birthday and also Mothers' Day in Thailand.

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September
1-30 September 2020
Hat Yai Hard Sale

This is a regular annual event, but because of the coronavirus lockdown and huge loss of business this year, the 2020 Hat Yai Hard Sale will be the biggest so far. Many people visit Hat Yai to shop and this event, hopefully, will entice some regular visitors back to the town. The businesses involved include airlines, tour guides, hotels, restaurants, department stores, car rental, beauty clinics, automotive and properties. In addition to discounts on goods, "Tourists will enjoy up to 25 per cent discount on hotel rooms as well as other benefits." (I'm not sure at the moment what the other benefits will be, but more information should be made available later.)

5th September 2020

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.

TBC
Hat Yai Moon Festival

A Moon Festival was held in Hat Yai last year for the first time and I believe it will be a regular event. My 2019 calendar tells me that 13th September is Moon Festival date, but when I see posters nearer the time I will confirm the date.

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October
2nd October 2020
Awk Punsaa Day

The end of the Rains Retreat or Buddhist Lent.

3rd October 2020

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.

13th October 2020
Bhumibol Memorial Day

Today Thais will observe the passing of their much beloved monarch King Rama IX in 2016.

16-25 October 2020

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.

On another page about Festivals in Hat Yai I posted some photos from the festival and then ran into a problem with Google. Google regards the photos as being 'shocking' and won't allow me to have ads on that page.

23rd October 2020
Chulalongkorn Memorial 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.

31st October 2020

This festival falls on the full moon day of the 12th month, which is normally in November but this year it falls on the last day of October. 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.

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November
7th November 2020

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
5th December 2020
H.M. King Bhumibol's Birthday

Today commemorates King Rama IX's birthday and is also Father's Day in Thailand.

5th December 2020

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 December 2020
Constitution Day

Today commemorates the day in 1932 when Thailand became a Constitutional Monarchy. It is a national holiday.

25th December 2020
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 2020
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. Agoda hotel rates are usually always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people. Here is some analysis I did regarding booking hotels in Southeast Asia.

Booking.com used to be more expensive than Agoda, but when I have checked hotel prices recently I have found their rates to be quite competitive. Unlike Agoda, you don't need to pay at the time of booking with Booking.com - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, Booking.com show you total prices whereas Agoda show you a price and then add on 17% for tax and service charge.

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.

Images of Thailand

Images of Thailand