A Guide to the Songkran Festival in Thailand
Songkran is a festival held in Thailand ususally during April every year, this is a traditional time where local Thai people celebrate New Year. The thought of being in a foreign country and having a gun pointed at you can seem very daunting, but do not fear, in Thailand during Songkran this will be a watergun and with it also lots of happy faces, smiles, laughter and street parties.
This is a time where all over Thailand the streets are filled with locals and tourists all taking part in a water festival with buckets and water guns, expect to get wet even if you are not taking part! Songkran is one of the most amazing celebrations to experience in the whole world, it is a time when Thai people see the sun moving into a new circle and the start of a new year begins.
What to Expect
During this festival local people will visit temples, eat food, make blessings and pay their respects to their elders. Thai people are very friendly and enjoy having tourists take part and enjoy the festivities, expect to be covered in flour, get touched and blessed and having water poured and squirted on you.
Best Places to Experience Songkran
There are so many places you can experience the magic of Songkran, we highly recommend basing yourself in somewhere like Bangkok or Chiang Mai although its a lot of fun all over the country even in little remote towns and villages and also on the islands. In Bangkok you can enjoy Songkran on the streets around the backpacker hub of the Koh San Road or around the Royal temples.
Popular beach resorts to watch Songkran include Phuket and Pattaya, here you will get a few extra days of extended celebrations, music, events and more. If you are somewhere on the coast you might see giant sand sculptures and structures being built on beaches and also animals being released into the wild.
How to Avoid Songkran in Bangkok
You can try to avoid the festival by heading to one of the large indoor shopping centres but you'll be lucky to get there without getting wet. If the idea of Songkran really doesn't sound appealing to you it can be difficult to avoid, you can possible try to stay in your hotel or hostel accommodation but at least try to give it a go and experience it just once.
Our best advice is to pack a smile and wear old or your swimming clothes. Remember during this time of the year the weather can be extremely hot and humid so your clothing will dry quickly, April is easily one of the hottest months of the year in Thailand. Transport during this period can be difficult and if you are planning on walking around any streets with a backpack or suitcase be sure to cover it up as your stuff might get soaked.
Accommodation During Songkran
Try to book accommodation in advance, you might find if you turn up on the day everything is full.