Festivals & Events

Here on Koh Tao we have an incredible community connection where both Thai, Myanmar, and western residents come together to celebrate some of the most important milestones throughout the year, whether that be Buddhist holidays or general island events…

Buddhist Holidays

Buddhism is the dominant religion throughout Thailand, and the Buddhist calendar year is filled with many important dates. Buddhist holidays often combine secular and religious elements, meaning the way they are celebrated can differ significantly between various traditions and cultures. To make matters a little confusing, the same holidays can be observed at different times throughout Asia. This is why, for example, you may encounter many and varying dates for Buddha’s birthday. 

To add a further element of confusion, the Buddhist calendar itself is very different from the Gregorian calendar that is used elsewhere in the world. The Buddhist calendar is lunisolar, meaning it combines lunar (moon) and solar (sun) cycles. More specifically, the months are based on lunar months and years are based on solar years. This means that many Buddhist holidays do not have a fixed date as they are determined by specific phases of the moon rather than an arbitrary calendar date. Buddhist holidays that are based on the solar cycle, however, will retain the same date every year. 

The biggest Buddhist holiday days are Songkran, Loy Krathong, and Visakha Bucha, but there are several more scattered throughout the year, many of which are designated public holidays meaning official offices like immigration services are closed. So if you have a Visa Trip due, it is worth checking to make sure this will not affect your travel plans. Also, tourists should note that the sale of alcohol is prohibited on many Buddha days and public holidays. 

Island Events

Koh Tao is home to a unique blend of Thai and international residents all with a shared passion for the island, its people, and its ecosystem. So there are several community-driven projects ongoing at any one time around Koh Tao. Conservation issues and projects, in particular, are something that the whole island tends to come together on, and over the years we’ve hosted regular fundraisers for various municipal causes too. This includes events to benefit our local primary school, the Koh Tao Animal Clinic, rescue services, and many more besides. These types of event continue to be scheduled on an ad hoc basis throughout the year. So if you happen to be on Koh Tao when there is a fundraiser or event scheduled, be sure to attend and spend some of your Thai baht on a worthy cause. 

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Songkran (Thai New Year)

Songkran (Thai New Year) Songkran is a water festival based on the solar calendar and takes place on April 13th every year. Songkran on Koh Tao is limited to just one day, however elsewhere in Thailand,…
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Loy Krathong Festival

Loy Krathong Loy Krathong is a festival of lights and is one of the best known and most popular holidays in the Buddhist calendar, second only to Songkran. While predominantly celebrated in Thailand, it also has…
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Koh Tao Festival

Koh Tao Festival Another unmissable event in the Koh Tao calendar! Koh Tao Festival is not held on a fixed date but normally happens around the 18th and 19th of June, which is significant in Koh…
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Visakha Bucha

Visakha Bucha Visakha Bucha or Vesak Day is one of the most important holidays in the Thai calendar. It is a lunar holiday and takes place on the 15th day of the fourth month of the…
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The Experience Festival

The Experience Festival The Experience Festival is held on Koh Tao every year and runs for four days over western New Year, normally form the 30th December until 2nd January. The event has been running annually…
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Buddha Days & Royal Birthdays

Buddha Days & Royal Birthdays Do be aware that on most Buddha days and also on royal birthdays, the sale of alcohol is prohibited. Most bars and restaurants remain open but do not serve beers, wines,…