Here are HotelsCombined’s five top picks for those planning to experience the festival in Thailand’s capital city, writes Loong Wai Ting
THAILAND has become the No.1 hotspot for those looking for adventures on a budget. Being a major international hub with a low cost of living, Thailand has become a popular destination for backpackers.
The capital Bangkok, also known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep, is the most populous city in Thailand. According to a recent analysis by one of the world’s leading hotel price comparison platforms, HotelsCombined, Bangkok is listed as the top international city booked by Malaysians this year.
This primate city is known for its most verdant monsoon season in between September and October. The most anticipated event in Bangkok during this time of the year is the Vegetarian Festival also known as Tesagan Gin Je Festival, which is celebrated by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Phuket is often seen as the centre of Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival as over 30 per cent of its population has Chinese ancestry; however the celebration has become widely practised in Bangkok as of late.
Rituals during the height of the festival include tongue slashing and extreme body piercing, among other gory practices by ardent devotees to “shift” evil spirits from individuals onto themselves and also bring luck to the community.
Origins of the Vegetarian Festival lie in Chinese culture. The festival commemorates the nine Emperor Gods and is usually celebrated during the ninth Chinese lunar month every year. The requirements include giving up fish, dairy, meat and poultry for nine days to cleanse one’s body. Rules also state that everyone should wear white from head to toe, but this is not practised extensively outside of the temples.
HotelsCombined recommends these top five accommodations for the best deals guaranteed for travellers who aim to experience this cultural event (prices range from RM25 to RM215 per night):
1. LOFTEL 22 HOSTEL
A boutique budget hostel on Charoen Krung 22 in the heart of Bangkok, has been renovated into a classic loft-inspired building with a dash of Chino-Portuguese styling. chic and simple.
Charoen Krung 22 is also known as Talad Noi (a traditional Chinese residence). Located among a cool mix of old family homes.
Loftel 22 is a new, unique standard for youth hostels with guests ranging from backpackers and travellers to families for just RM26 a night. The hostel is just 1.1km, a 14-minute walk that passes by Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Museum to the Vegetarian Festival in Chinatown.
2. PRIME HOTEL CENTRAL STATION BANGKOK
The hotel, which has seamlessly combined modern comfort and convenience, appeals to both leisure and business travellers. Rooms range from RM111 to RM141 a night. Chinatown is within walking distance, from the Hua Lamphong railway station.
3. HOTEL ROYAL BANGKOK @ CHINATOWN
At RM177 a night, this luxury hotel, which is older than Bangkok, serves both business and leisure travellers. Located just a minute away from Chinatown, where all the stalls are lined up along the roadside.
4. THE GRAND CHINA HOTEL
This hotel is situated at the intersection of Ratchawong and Yaowarat Roads, in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown that offers amazing views of both the historic parts of the old city and Bangkok’s modern skyline.
This hotel offers rooms and suites with designs reflecting the local neighbourhood and provides guests with an authentic taste of Bangkok in the modern era, for just RM205 a night. Located just 300m from Bangkok’s Chinatown district, it is just a four-minute walk to the Vegetarian Festival, passing by the Wat Kanmatuyaram Buddhist temple.
5. SHANGHAI MANSION HOTEL
Known as Chinatown’s most striking and artistic boutique hotel, it reflects Bangkok’s dynamic culture where heritage blends with modern living. Shanghai Mansion is inspired by the stylish and vibrant style of Shanghai, with rooms for just RM210 per night.
Bangkok’s attractions such as Wat Khanikaphon, Chao Phraya River and the Golden Buddha statue are within walking distance. It is also 250m away from Chinatown, which is just three minutes away from where the Vegetarian Festival will be taking place.