Wan Awk Phansa is an important festival for devout Thais as it marks the end of lent as well as the start of a new season following the end of heavy rains.
The holiday is recognised as a public holiday in Thailand and is marked on the full moon day of the eleventh lunar month.
Wan Awk Phansa 2017 Buddhist Public Holiday Dates, Koh Samui
Often, the visit involves heading back to the temple of one’s birthplace. This is often accompanied by candlelit gatherings where the locals walk around the temple carrying a candle, a lotus bud and three incense sticks.
It is not uncommon to see boat processions carrying the Thai faithful. During the day, some places will hold boat races. As the day draws to a close, the boats will often be used to transport flowers and candles, usually taking on a religious or patriotic theme.
As with major events on Koh Samui, Wan Awk Phansa draws tourists to the Chewang and Bophut in large numbers. For this reason, accommodation becomes strained, albeit for a short period of time. It is advisable to make bookings in advance if you plan to attend this event.