Depending on the time of year, anyone renting or purchasing villas on Koh Samui may have the opportunity to take part in some of the holiday celebrations that take place on the island. There are celebrations for traditional Thai holidays and celebrations for holidays celebrated internationally, and each one offers a unique experience.
There are three New Year celebrations on Koh Samui: The international New Year, the Thai New Year, and the Chinese New Year. Celebrations for the international New Year take place on December 31 and January 1. As you might expect, there are lots of fireworks shows during this celebration, with the beaches being the best places on the island to catch them. Beach parties are also a big part of the celebration, with some lasting all night. Restaurants and bars are also good places to find New Year’s parties. The Thai New Year, also known as Songkran, takes place on April 13. The big part of this celebration is sat nam, where pedestrians are doused with water. Be prepared to get wet if you’re out and about during this holiday. And then there’s Chinese New Year, which takes place on a different date each year. The streets and buildings are decorated in red, and parties and fireworks last long into the night.
Loy Krathong, also known as the Light Festival, is held in on whatever night the full moon falls in November. During this holiday, inhabitants of Koh Samui place floating lights in the waterways around the island. When the night comes, the water ways are lit up by all the lights, making for a spectacular sight. The inhabitants do this to symbolically get rid of any sins they have accumulated during the year.
On whatever day the full moon falls in May or June is Visakha Bucha Day, a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. The biggest part of this celebration is when the Buddhist inhabitants go to the temples on the island to make merit, which often involves praying and offering alms to Buddhist monks. Although it is a Buddhist holiday, non-Buddhists are allowed to visit the temples and observe the proceedings so long as they are respectful.