Get Ready for Songkran Festival
April is the hot season in Thailand. But surprisingly, many tourists from all over the world come to Thailand at that period of time. Why? Because April is when the Songkran festival takes place. Let’s find out about this traditional festival of Thai people. If you want to get wet all over from head to toes by buckets of water and have fun with the most exciting water fight in the world, this festival is for you.
What is Songkran?
Songkran is the Thai new year’s national holiday. Songkran is on April 13th every year, but the holiday extends to April 15th. The word “Songkran” means “astrological passage”, meaning transform or change. It delivers the sun from one position to another in the Zodiac. Thai people refer to as Songkran happens when the sun moves from Pisces to Aries in the Zodiac.
Thai people believe that splashing water on somebody else means helping them get rid of the bad things of the previous year and get ready for the good things in the new year. A long time ago, water during this festival must smell good and only for splashing on close friends and family. But now, Songkran has developed as a festival for international tourists. When the festival begins, people will use everything that can be used for water-containing and splash the water to everybody. They believe the people who get more water will have more luck and happiness in the new year.
Songkran is the most exciting festival for tourists
When will Songkran take place?
This year, the Songkran festival will begin on April 13th and end on April 15th. But during this time, Thai people often take some extra days off to party and visit friends, relatives. Especially, some tourist destinations like Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, etc. Songkran can last up to one week.
Officially begins on the 13th, but Thai people prepare for it 2 days earlier. They will clean their houses, get rid of the old stuff.
- April 13th is Wan Nao, people will buy food and drink for the next few days.
- April 14th is Payawan, the first day of the new year according to the Thai calendar. People will wake up early and go to temples, praying and offering food, clothes, etc. Buddha statues will be cleaned with fresh water.
- April 15th is Wan Parg, people will pray to remember their ancestors.
Where to enjoy Songkran?
The best place to take part in this “water fight” is Khao San, Bangkok. You should get ready and prepare to get wet from head to toes with water splashing into you from everywhere. If you can’t fight them, join them. There are bars, clubs everywhere. Khao San becomes super active and exciting during Songkran.
For somebody who just wants to watch and doesn’t want to get wet, you can go to Silom, Bangkok. On the 5km route of Silom street, there are many young people taking part in the water fight. You can watch Songkran in Silom street from the BTS bridge. But keep in mind, nobody is “safe”. Sometimes, firefighters will bring their fire trucks to join the water fight to ensure everybody is having fun. Even when you are on the bridges.
Chiang Mai is also well known for a great place, especially Thapae Gate. This is called “The Festival Center”, you can find a tunnels route to enjoy the water fight. But keep in mind Chiang Mai will be crowded and you might be stuck in traffic during the festival, so you should stay here for a couple of days.
The water-fighting crowd on the street
Activities besides water fighting
Water fighting is considered the main activity of Songkran. However, there are many different activities for you to join like watching the beauty contest in Wisutkatsa below the Rama III bridge, where the most beautiful Thai women will show off their beauty with traditional Chut Thai costumes. The winner will be rewarded with the “Miss Songkran” crow. You can also try new year's traditional street food selling everywhere.
Thai women in their traditional costumes
Phra Pradaeng district is the place you should not miss. You can see colorful parades with a lot of beautiful flowers, boat racing, traditional dancing, etc. You will have a lot of opportunities to take beautiful photos.
A few tips to enjoy the Songkran festival
Things you should do:
- Use public transportation: Some routes will be blocked. Go around by motorbike or car is dangerous with a lot of over-excited people on the street
- Bring a waterproof bag to protect your belongings: If you don’t, there are chances that your phone and your wallet will get wet.
- Be careful on the street: There will be a lot of people on the street, and some of them are drunk, so be careful.
- Wear proper shoes: The street will be wet and slippery, you should prepare for that
Things you should not do:
- Use ice and dirty water: Just don’t do it that is disrespectful. And do not splash water on the elderly, monks, and children.
- Driving: Some routes will be blocked and there will be chaos on the streets. So tourists should not drive during this festival
- Do not walk on the street if you are not interested in the excited crowd: You will get wet if you stay close to the festival. So if you are not into it, you should stay out of the street these days.
Songkran is a national occasion for Thai people but everybody can join. This is a very good opportunity for tourists to dive in like a local. So what are you waiting for, why not book a tour to Thailand now?
(Image source: Internet)