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Auk Phansa festival at Wat Ku Tao

Tommorrow’s full moon marks the day of Wan Auk Phansa วันออกพรรษา, or the end of the three month Buddhist Lent when monks retreat to their temples for the rainy season. A big celebration for all Buddhists, but for our friends from the Shan state the full moon of Thadingyut is a particularly auspicious celebration and is celebrated across the Shan State with the festival of light.

The major Shan festival in Chiang Mai is held at Wat Ku Tao in Chang Puek district, behind the Municipal Stadium (see our map here). It’s starts this afternoon (Tuesday 11th October) and runs until Thursday.

Wat Ku Tao
Wat Ku Tao

Activities include eating lots of Shan food, traditional Shan music with the constant beat of drums and cymbals, and live Shan cultural entertainment on stage. The event is packed with Shan people in traditional costumes.

Traditional Tai Yai entertainment at Wat Ku Tao

Many of the handsome Shan boys wear traditional Shan clothing for the party.


This is a fun and colourful festival and a great opportunity to go and see it and learn something about Shan culture if you haven’t before. Also, many of the guys who work in Chiang Mai’s go-go bars will be absent tonight and tomorrow as the party is more fun than work, something to consider if you were planning a trip to a bar in the next couple of days. Maybe the festival is a better bet!

Whilst Bangkok is now experiencing the worst of this year’s flooding, in Chiang Mai the floods have gone and the evening temperatures are ideal for an outdoor festival. Although there is still the chance of the odd thunder shower, things are looking good for a great party.

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