Coming up in Bangkok: Auto Show, International Gift Fair and Buddhist new year

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The Independent Online

Bangkok is ready to welcome more than 1.6 million visitors to its Auto Show between March 26 and April 6. The Thai capital, ranked second in Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Best Asian Cities in 2009, has many other events to offer in the coming days and months, like traditional festivals, the biggest gift fair in Asia and the Bangkok film festival.

April seems to be the international tradeshow month in Bangkok with its renowned Auto Show on until April 6, its international gift fair as well as the fashion and leather fair. On at the same time as the biggest car show in the world in terms of visitors, the Bangkok International Fashion Fair & Leather Fair attracts professionals and visitors interested in the latest ready-to-wear trends in Thailand, China and India, between April 1 and 4 (April 1-2: trade only http://www.biffandbil.com/)

However, a bigger fair takes place in Bangkok at the end of April, the International Gift Fair. One of Asia's top exhibitions BIG+BIH 2010 features, gifts, decorative items, home textiles, stationery, toys and games, handicrafts, household products and small electrical appliances. Over 92,000 visitors are expected at the 2010 fair, as well as 600 exhibiting companies. (April 20-23: trade, April 24-25: public http://www.bigandbih.com)

Bangkok, and Thailand as a whole, is also home to traditional events throughout the year. The Buddhist new year celebrations, between April 13 and 15 in 2010, offer a refreshing break in the heat of the hottest season with a tradition of washing away the past year by splashing your house, family and friends with purifying water. This tradition, called Songkran in Thailand, is also celebrated in Laos, Cambodia and Burma.(http://www.songkran.net)

Among the numerous Thai festivals, Loi Krathong the festival of lights, is one of the most popular taking place during the first full moon day of November. Everyone in Thailand makes a "krathong," a candle on a banana leaf float that is sent on a river or pond as an offering to the gods, while flying candles are also thrown in the air like mini-balloons. (http://www.tourismthailand.org/)

On the international cultural calendar, the International Bangkok Film Festival in September allows Bangkok visitors to enjoy a selection of Thai and South East Asian films, with more than one hundred feature films shown every year. (http://www.bangkokfilm.org/)

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