There is no law that entitles employees in Thailand for a minimum amount of holidays per year – different to most western countries. In comparison, a full-time employee in Germany can claim at least 20 holidays per year and in many cases the number written down in the working contract even exceeds this number, it’s not uncommon for employees to get 28 or even 30 days off every year – in addition to the public holidays.
This is totally different in Thailand where employees just aren’t protected much at all in terms of working conditions and everything that has some benefit for the employee should be written down in the working contract. Look at the Thai staff working in 7/elevens, all the malls and most retail companies getting paid around 6,000 baht a month even in Bangkok where there is a minimum law of 9,000 per month since November 2012 – supply outweighs demand by far and that gives employers such a huge power to hire staff cheap and no one really seems to check for the minimum salary.
Most Thai employees also don’t get much holiday, in fact what they call a holiday is their day off and that means often they are working six days a week and have one day “holiday” or only get off two or three days off a month – the latter not just applies for bar girls.
Generally you can say the bigger the company someone is working for, or more precise the department someone is working for, i.e. the marketing department of Siemens in Bangkok rather than the Rama9 branch of Starbuck’s Coffee, the better working conditions employees get in Thailand. And even though it’s rare to write down a fixed amount of holidays in the working contract the common practice is to ask the boss directly for a holiday and he decides to give one or not.
Apart from the holidays employees ask from their employers there are many public holidays in Thailand and the cool thing is that if a holiday falls on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday), one following working day is observed as a compensatory non-working day.
National Holidays in Thailand
New Year’s Day – วันขึ้นปีใหม่ (1 January)
Celebrates beginning of the solar and Gregorian (Western, Christian) year.
Maka Bucha Day – วันมาฆบูชา (full moon in the third Thai lunar month, February)
Commemoration of the preaching of the Buddha to 1250 enlightened monks who came to hear him without prior summons.
King Rama I Day – วันจักรี (6 April)
Commemoration of King Rama I, the founder of the Jagri Dynasty on April 6.
Thai New Year’s Day, Songkran – วันสงกรานต์ (13-15 April)
Starting with the Thai New Year’s Day on April 13, Songkran or known as the water festival is Thailand’s biggest and most important festival.
Thai Coronation Day – วันฉัตรมงคล (5 May)
Commemoration of the coronation of the King and the Queen in 1946.
Royal Ploughing Day – วันพืชมงคล (May, arbitrary date)
Start of the official rice planting season in the second week of May.
Wisakabucha Day – วันวิสาขบูชา (full moon in the 6th Thai lunar month, May)
Commemoration of the date of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away.
Asanha Bucha Day – วันอาสาฬหบูชา (full moon in the 8th Thai lunar month, July)
Commemoration of the first sermon preached by the Buddha.
Buddhist Lent – วันเข้าพรรษา (first warning moon in the 8th Thai lunar month, July)
Commemoration of the beginning of Buddhist Lent, which is the traditional time of the year for young Thai men to enter the monkhood for the rainy season. All monks stay in a single temple without leaving it for three months, starting from mid to late July.
Thai Mother’s Day – วันแม่ (12 August)
Mother’s Day and also the Queen’s birthday.
Chulangkorn Day – วันปิยมหาราช (23 October)
Commemoration of the passing of King Rama V in 1910.
Thai Father’s Day – วันพ่อ (5 December)
Father’s Day, the King’s birthday and Thailand’s National Day.
Thai Constitution Day – วันรัฐธรรมนูญ (10 December)
Commemoration of the promulgation of the first constitution in 1932.
New Year’s Eve – วันสิ้นปี (31 December)
Final day of the Gregorian year.
Other Festivals in Thailand (No Holidays)
Chinese New Year – วันตรุษจีน (3 days end of January / begin of February)
Holiday for Thai Chinese. Celebrations start on the day before Chinese New Year’s Eve.
End of Buddhist Lent Day วันออกพรรษา (15th day of the maxing moon in the 11th Thai lunar month, October)
Loi Krathong Day – วันลอยกระทง (full moon night in November)
Thai people throwing away their sins into the water in form of small lotus-shaped baskets or boats made of banana leaves containing flowers, incense candles and coins. As well as sending silent wishes with their beloved ones to the sky in forms of Khom Lois – sky laterns. The most romantic evening you can possibly have in Thailand.
Thai people are also celebrating Valentine’s Day and Christmas but rather for fun than for religious purposes. These days are no public holidays.