December 5th marks a special event on the Thai calendar. Celebrated across the country, this day commemorates the birthday of the late King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej. It’s also Thailand’s National Day, as well as the day when Father’s Day is celebrated across the country. Despite the King’s passing in 2016, December 5th remains a bank holiday to commemorate him. The occasion is a colourful one, and buildings across the nation don flags, bunting and portraits in the late King’s honour. Celebrations and parades take place across the country as the Thai people gather to honour the beloved leader.
King’s Birthday Parade in Udon
Udon is no exception to the national celebrations that take place to commemorate the late King’s birthday, and the occasion is marked with a colourful parade that makes its way through the city centre. You can see a flurry of magnificent traditional costumes and dance performances as part of the parade. Thanks to the influence of Chinese culture in Udon, the parade often incorporates elements from those traditions, including dancing dragons, drums, symbols and firecrackers.
The King’s Birthday Parade takes place during Udon’s Thung Sri Muang Festival – one of the highlights of the city’s annual social calendar. The festivities take place over the course of about two weeks at the beginning of December. After the King’s Birthday Parade, do as the locals do and make your way to the site of the festival near the City Pillar Shrine. There are hundreds of shops, food stalls and rides for all to enjoy. Plus, there is entertainment galore, in the form of musical performances, dance competitions and Muay Thai demonstrations.
Getting to Udon
Udon is well-served by air, rail and bus connections. Daily flights, bus routes and train journeys link the city to Bangkok. Plus, there are regular bus services connecting Udon to Chiang Mai. The city centre is fairly easy to navigate on foot or bicycle.