Thai Festival in Belém, Portugal: Celebrating the Thai-Portuguese relations
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Last updated at 22/02/2024, 01:30
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For the last couple of years the Thai festival in Belém, near Lisbon is one of my absolute highlights of all the summer events in the city. It’s an opportunity for people to experience Thai culture and for the local Thai embassy to encourage more visitors to come to Thailand. If you’d like to take part in the Thai festival, read on and find out more.
As a big fan of Thailand, I’m always happy to participate in all kinds of events in Europe that involve this wonderful country. I also take the opportunity to eat Thai food, which I miss greatly here. Every year I go to the Thai festival in Belém and every time I’m so happy and excited to be there!
If you, like me, love Thailand, or you simply want to experience something different when visiting Lisbon, check out this event.
Location and dates
The event takes place every year, usually at the end of June or beginning of July. Dates may vary. The festival starts on Saturday and lasts until Sunday evening.
The embassy, which is the organiser of the festival, chose a special place for it. In the Jardim da Praca do Imperio stands a beautiful Thai sala – a type of gazebo, beautifully decorated with golden tiles and shiny stones. It was a present from the Thai government to Portugal as a sign of the friendship and international relations.
The main stage of the Thai festival is always set up before this sala, making it a beautiful background for the performances.
The two days of the festival are filled with different performances. There are traditional dances by professional Thai dancers, fashion shows, puppetry (which is an ancient art of Thailand) and Muay Thai boxing.
There are also at least 2 talks about tourism and traditions in Thailand. They are normally conducted in Portuguese, so if you don’t know the language, you might want to go and grab some food during that time.
Food and drinks
There is a great selection of food and drinks during the festival. You can try some of the more famous dishes, such as pad thai or curries, but you might also find those that aren’t normally served in Europe, such as som tam or khao soi.
For drinks, try Thai tea, which is sweet and cold – perfect for a hot afternoon in Portugal. There are also Thai beers – usually the most famous Singha.
Shops and activities
After you eat and drink, head over to the Thai shop, which sells snacks, spices and sauces. If you like cooking, these will be a great addition to your kitchen.
Among the stalls, you’ll find Thai clothes and art. You can also take part in umbrella painting and other creative activities for adults and children.
One of the most popular things to do at the Thai festival in Belém is the Thai massage. You can get one in a very traditional setting. I have never done it there, but heard it’s really good.
If you’re heading to the festival, here are the things you should know before.
How to get there?
You can get to Belém by bus from outside of the Cais do Sodré metro station. That’s probably the easiest way. They leave frequently and stop just outside of the monastery. You just need to cross the road to get to the park. The trip takes about 10 minutes. There are also trains, but I’d suggest taking the bus.
Both days are filled with performances and activities. You can check the programme on the Thai embassy’s Facebook page and see which day is best for you.
There are food and drinks, so you won’t get hungry nor thirsty. There are a couple of toilets, situated a bit away from the market, but you can easily walk to them. They are clean and even have tissues.
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A hat and sunscreen – a lot of seats are in the shade, but if there’s a crowd you might have to sit/stand in the sun.
Comfortable shoes – trainers, flip-flops or sandals.
Some cash – last time a lot of stalls accepted cards, but there were a few that didn’t, so some cash would be good to take. The cash machine is next to McDonald’s on the main road. Remember taking your Revolut card, so taking money out won’t cost you anything.
Hand alcohol gel – the toilets have tissues, but some don’t have water, especially at the end of the day, so having some disinfectant is a good idea.
Blanket – I think it’s useful to bring one. There are chairs and tables, but there are also a lot of people, so instead of looking for a seat, you can bring your own with you.
The Thai festival in Belém, Lisbon is a great event, suitable for children and adults. You can find out more about Thailand, have fun, try some food and fill your time with fun activities.