The “day that flows” or “Wan Lai,” the “big day” in these regions, has traditions that are extremely distinct from those of the rest of the nation.
The majority of the Wan Lai festivities take place in the provinces along the eastern seaboard, notably Chonburi and the tourist city of Pattaya, Rayong, and Samut Prakan. Giving alms to Buddhist monks, splashing water, creating sand sculptures at beaches or temples, and participating in traditional sports are just a few of the cultural and traditional activities that are a big part of the celebrations.
Originally, Wan Lai involved the practice of constructing sand mounds and bringing them inside Buddhist temples. These mounds represented the sand or soil that people might have unintentionally removed from the temple grounds with their feet over the course of a year.
The name “Ko Phra Sai Nam Lai”—literally, “building sand sculpture with water-swept sand”—was given to this ritual when people from beach communities would take sand from nearby rivers. This gave them a justification to dredge the nearby waterways.On Sunday and Monday, Bang Saen Beach will host Chonburi’s “Wan Lai Bang Saen 2023” festival. On Tuesday, Wan Lai will be celebrated in Pattaya City at Wat Chai Mongkol and beside the sea.
Three additional Wan Lai activities have been set in Chonburi for April 18 in the Na Klua region, April 20 at Bang Saray Beach, and April 21–23 at the Ban Bueng District Office and Wat Bueng Bowon Sathit.
On Monday, the Baan Pluak Daeng sub-district of Rayong will have its annual “Wan Lai Pluak Daeng” festival.
On April 21–23, the Phra Padaeng District Office in Samut Prakan will host a traditional Mon celebration.