The current Thai year is 2567 BE, which is 543 years ahead of the Western or Gregorian calendar year (2024). While Thai New Year’s Day (Songkran) is celebrated on April 13th, the calendar year is officially moved forward on January 1st.
The BE abbreviation in 2567 BE stands for the Buddhist Era. It’s also sometimes referred to as the Thai Lunar Calendar, because it’s based on the cycles of the moon and the sun, with each year consisting of 12 lunar months, and each lunar month beginning with a new moon.
The starting point of the Buddhist Era calendar is the death of Gautama Buddha, which is believed to have occurred in 544 BC in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, the year 2024 AD/CE in the Gregorian calendar is equivalent to the year 2567 BE in the Buddhist Era calendar.
If you are traveling to Thailand on holiday or planning to work in Thailand, it is good to remember what the Thai year is and how to figure out the Thai calendar years of the past. While the Western calendar year is often seen on Thai signage, products, and business documents, the Buddhist Era calendar is frequently used as well, especially in academic settings and at historical sites.
We have to admit that we used to frequently forget what year it is in Thailand, which was always kind of embarrassing. But we have come up with a system for immediately remembering the Thai year. To remember the current Thai year, simply use the image above to remember the phrase “25 sticks sticks” which rhymes with the current year 2566.
Associating an image and rhyme for a number is a well-known trick for memorizing that number. The year 2566 (25 sticks sticks) will then become your anchor year for quickly figuring out what the Thai year was a few years ago or a few years ahead.
Now, to recall that the current Buddhist Era year is 543 years ahead of the Western year, just remember that the number is a declining series (i.e. 543210). You already will have remembered that the current Thai year is in the ‘500s of the 21st century, so it’ll be easy to recall the 543 declining series of numbers.
Also keep in mind that this means that the Western year is 5 centuries behind the Buddhist Era. So, if you visit an ancient Khmer ruin like Phra That Phu Phek in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand and signage says the temple ruins were built around the the 16th Century BE, this means that it was believed to have been built in the 11th Century AD/CE.
The Rattanakosin Era is a system of year counting that starts from the founding of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782 when King Rama I, Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok Maharaj, ascended to the throne. This era system is named after the capital city Rattanakosin that King Rama I established. This name translates to “The Jewel of Indra”. The city was located in same area as Thailand’s current capital city, Bangkok.
The Rattanakosin Era is mainly used for historical and cultural purposes, and it is often referenced in Thailand when discussing events, monuments, and landmarks associated with the Chakri Dynasty. For example, the famous Grand Palace in Bangkok was built during the Rattanakosin Era.
To figure out what the current Rattanakosin Era year is add 1,781 years to the Western (Gregorian) year from April 6th to December, and 1,782 years from January to April 5th.