Go Local with Your Meetings, Thai Style

Let the local culture of Thailand give your event a fresh feel your guests will love

Celebrating local culture can make for invigorating meetings that engage your audience. One prime example: Thailand. Let’s look at how culture from “the land of smiles” can inspire you to take your event to the next level, whether that’s with good food, Thai customs or other fun cultural activities.

Sparkling Siam Night Bazaar

Food is a universal language, so a food market theme is the perfect way to bring Thai culture to your event. Let a recent retreat held at the JW Marriott Khao Lak be used as a benchmark: Guests were united over a tantalizing selection of Thai food, including gai tod hat yai, ped tord, goong pae tord and many other local favorites.

A southern-style barbecue created even greater intrigue, incorporating authentic dishes that highlighted the essence of Siam. These included pork sausage, Thai grilled fish in salt crust, roasted chicken thighs with garlic and black pepper, and other tasty options.

Uber Ubon Ratchathani

Commonly known as the “candle festival,” Ubon Ratchathani marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent. This is celebrated with giant carved candles showcased throughout the city of Ubon Ratchathani, where witnesses gather to marvel at incredible candles and floats. Borrowing elements of this great spectacle will bring a touch of cultural relevance to any event held in July.

To execute an Ubon Ratchathani theme, create and arrange a wax sculpture competition alongside a mix of entertainment, dancing, music and costumes. You can bring even more life to the party with a fire dance, taking inspiration from the retreat at JW Marriott Khao Lak. Attendees are sure to appreciate Thai-style barbecue, too, so consider bringing squid grilled with lemongrass or grilled Andaman prawns to the fête.

Super Songkran Day

Thai residents celebrate the new year a staggering three times a year. One of those galas is Songkran, a famous festival that commemorates the beginning of a new solar year—and what better way than Songkran’s water-splashing jubilance to welcome the summer season? In addition to the epic water fights of Songkran, the holiday typically involves excellent food and drinks. Bring in the new year with some great Thai street desserts, including khanom chan, khanom bueang, tub tim krob and kanom look choup—favorites that were well-received at the JW Marriott Khao Lak retreat. And, if your event space can accommodate it, a water fight can create extraordinary engagement and team bonding.

You can also incorporate elements from the Chiang Mai variation of Songkran, which is famous for its colorful parades. A float might be appropriate for your event, or perhaps a variation on the ritual of pouring scented water on a statue of Buddha.

Insider’s tip: Coordinating all of these different activities can be a challenge, but the seasoned event planners at the JW Marriott Khao Lak were able to keep everything on track and quickly adjust to any last-minute changes. The trick is to stay organized.

Luscious Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong, the Thai festival of lights, takes place every November and involves lighting up rivers, lakes and oceans with thousands of gorgeous lights in baskets. Releasing these into water is said to represent forgiveness and good luck; it also invites people to make wishes and present offerings. It’s common to celebrate with floating lanterns, which form a beautiful sight as they take off.

If your venue has access to a beach, re-create the festivities of Loy Krathong by letting attendees release their glowing baskets into the sea while setting off lanterns along the night skyline. You can also liven up the night with a live band and a fire show, too.

Holistic Health Food Event

People are more health-conscious than ever before. Capitalize on this trend at your next event by incorporating aspects of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, which pays homage to abstaining from meat. Although not all guests will be vegetarians, vegetarianism is known for helping to deliver good health and a peaceful mind—a selling point you can use to promote the practice at your next event.

An organic salad bar is a fitting choice for this theme. You can also include authentic Thai boat noodles, som tam, khanom tang taek, and khao niew ma muang to vary tastes and textures. To create a more personalized experience, give guests an opportunity to select their own condiments and ingredients.

Typically, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival also includes elements such as fire walking and body piercing, so if you’re feeling extra bold, by all means, experiment with the unusual!

And if you’re looking to put on a Thai-themed event of your own and are looking for a great place to host it, consider letting the experts at JW Marriott Khao Lak be your hosts.