Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival 2024, Thailand

Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival 2024, Thailand

June 7 - June 9

Main street of Dan Sai, Thailand.

From June 7 to June 9, 2024, the quiet town of Dan Sai in northeastern Thailand will host one of the country's most colorful and mysterious festivals - the Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival.

The origins of this amazing event date back to ancient Buddhist legends. According to the legend, Prince Vessantara, one of the last reincarnations of the Buddha before attaining enlightenment, gave a white elephant capable of bringing rain to another country. The angry residents expelled the prince to the forest, but soon realized their mistake and threw a grand party in his honor. The noise was so great that it awakened the local forest spirits of Phi Ta Khon, who joined the celebration.

vivid processions in bizarre masks and costumes of snakes

Today, the festival features vivid processions in bizarre masks and costumes of snakes, monkeys, and other forest creatures parading down the main street of Dan Sai. Spectators not only watch the spectacular dances but also worship giant phallic symbols for fertility. Some men smear their bodies with mud to represent rice fields, and buffalo figures are intended to invoke rain for crops.

The terrifying ghost masks come in various sizes: the huge Phi Ta Khon Yai can only be crafted by those who have received permission from the spirits, while anyone can make the small Phi Ta Khon Lek masks. The masks are traditionally made from rice husks and coconut leaves, with a bamboo "hat" attached on top for cooking rice. Bells and drums on the costumes are meant to awaken the dead.

On the first day of the Wan Ruam festival

On the first day of the Wan Ruam festival, a parade of masked figures takes place with loud bells and drums. On the second day, residents welcome a procession with a Buddha statue, launching bamboo rockets into the sky to summon rain. On the final, third day, monks continuously recite 13 Buddhist sermons about the life of Prince Vessantara.

You can get to Dan Sai by bus or rental car from Bangkok (about 6 hours' drive) or from the nearest international airport in Udon Thani (2 hours). The town has few hotels, so it is advisable to book accommodations at least a month before the festival.


Phi Ta Khon Festival - an excellent choice

If you dream of touching the mysteries of ancient cultures and immersing yourself in the mystical atmosphere of ancient Buddhist legends, the Phi Ta Khon Festival is an excellent choice for your summer trip to Thailand. The vibrant colors, mesmerizing dances, and reverent atmosphere of this colorful event will leave no one indifferent.