Songkran 2020

8:00am 13 Apr - 11:00pm 16 Apr, 2020
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Multiple locations across Thailand

Songkran: The Biggest Water Fight In The World Revitalizing Thailand’s New Year 

Celebrate the new solar year and the start of a glorious summer during an all-out water fight at Songkran in Thailand. The event is one of the raddest festivals in Thailand but this Buddhist celebration is also regarded as the most important public holiday. 

Locals and tourists alike take to the streets with water guns, pistols, buckets and more to splash each other in an effort to spread good wishes for the coming new year. Songkran is celebrated throughout major cities across Thailand with everything from traditional temple ceremonies to wet and wild music festivals. 

Tourists are prime targets to local children who will jump on the chance of pouring ice cold water over your head when you least expect it. Keep an eye out for beautifully painted elephants who will pressure-hose pedestrians walking down the street.

‘This festival has to be one of the funniest mass participation events not only in Thailand but the entire world!’

Your experience at Songkran

The Songkran festival is Thailand’s annual New Year celebration, which takes place across three days in April. Also known as the world’s biggest water fight, the cities practically shut down for the long weekend. All local shops and restaurants are closed as the owners and families are all celebrating Songkran and many of them go back to their hometowns to celebrate. Only malls and pop up restaurants that can be found near the celebration are open. 

It’s like when you were a kid having a water fight with your friends in the backyard or against a neighbor, but on the biggest scale possible; with over 8 million people to be exact! 

Celebrating Songkran is fun for everyone, from the youngsters to the elderly; most kids love to throw buckets of ice cold water on the tourists! 

The locals sell water pistols in all sizes and ice water to refill. More ice and water is delivered throughout the day as the celebrations continue. Your inner child is guaranteed to be unleashed during Songkran as everyone is spraying each other. 

Best views at Songkran

The great part about this festival is that it is celebrated in various locations throughout Thailand. Some villages will take part in the water splashing for just a day, while other cities take part in water wars for days at a time. The northern city of Chiang Mai is known to celebrate the festival for as long as a week with food, music and insane water fights.

Other popular cities that celebrate the festival include Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya. Traditionally, the event will take place in April, which happens to be during Thailand’s hottest months of the year. 

What to wear

Make sure to dress appropriately as getting soaked is inevitable. Swimwear and moisture-wicking clothing options will be your best bet. Dress as if you were going to hang out at the beach and stay away from denim! While it is a water fight, it is also a religious celebration and it is important to dress appropriately. 

What to pack

Goggles: Bring goggles to protect your eyes during the water fights.

Waterproof bag: There isn’t much of a need to bring many valuables with you, but if necessary, make sure to protect them. A plastic waterproof case or use a ziplock bag works well and a waterproof camera is always a great gadget to have to capture the fun.

Hat and sunscreen

Colorful clothes: Swim shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops – the more colorful the better

Buy tickets 

The event is free and the party takes place on the streets.

Songkran Event Schedule in Bangkok

Khao San Road

Bangkok is home to what might be the biggest water fight on earth. During Songkran, head down to Khao San Road, where the streets are transformed into the world’s biggest water fight. Aside from an epic water fight, the streets are also lined with bars and DJ booths; perfect to take a quick break from all the madness. Visitors can travel to Khao San Road via buses 151, 171 or 509 to Khok Wua Intersection, which is a short walk away from the festivities.

Silom Road

Silom is great and super busy. It is hectic near Hooters but a bit more chilled on the rest of Silom Road. Similar to Khao San Road all action happens on the streets but the vibe is less seedy.

Sanam Luang

For a more spiritual celebration, check out Sanam Luang; located opposite the Grand Palace. Celebrations take place on the first day of Songkran, where the famous Phra Phuttha Sihing Buddha image is paraded along the streets. Locals and visitors gather to sprinkle fragrant water on the image, which is then left there for the rest of Songkran for those who are unable to participate on the first day, to visit and pour water on the sacred image. 

In addition to the sacred ritual, Sanam Luang also features carnival floats, dancing flash mobs, cultural shows and more; making it one of the most popular hotspots during Songkran. Visitors can travel to Sanam Luang via the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Ta Chang Pier, followed by a short to the Grand Palace. 

Wisutkasat

Wisutkasat is another popular hotspot in Bangkok and home to the annual Miss Songkran beauty contest. The contest showcases over 70 of Thailand’s ‘most beautiful women’ in traditional Thai costumes. 

You can also find the lesser known Mister Songkran Contest here as well. In addition to the contest, you can find parades, festive activities and some of the best food in Bangkok in Wisutkasat. Visitors can travel to Wisutkasat via the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Thewet Pier, followed by a short taxi or tuk tuk ride. 

Top Tips

Water Pistols: You can find people selling water pistols of all shapes and sizes on the street. Make sure to empty your water pistol before getting on the train. 

Protect your valuables: Ensure that your valuables, such as phones and cameras, are protected during the water fights. Invest in waterproof protection such as waterproof phone pouches or a waterproof diving bag. Also be aware of your surroundings and protective of your belongings as pickpocketing is still quite common; especially in large crowds. 

Protect your eyes: Don’t forget to invest in eye protection. A pair of goggles or safety glasses will protect your eyes from the water fight throughout the event. 

Be respectful of others: Despite the Songkran Water Festival being celebrated nationwide, some locals and visitors do not wish to take part in the festivities. Make sure to determine whether or not certain people are partaking in the water fight, or trying to avoid it; especially if they are not dressed for the occasion. 

Songkran History

Songkran is an ancient festival for the traditional Thai New Year. Its name is Sanskrit, the liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and means to move or pass into.

There is an Indian version of Songkran called Makar Sankriti worshiping the sun’s celestial path. The Thai take the tradition to celebrate New Year, moving from an old year into a new one.

Historically Thai people went to monasteries to deliver gifts and food to Buddhist Monks. During a holy cleansing ritual, they poured water over the monks. Believing the water is blessed, they would then take it home and rub it on one another.

Things to do in Thailand

No matter where you stay in Thailand, you will be greeted with plenty of opportunities to explore the rich culture of the country. From visiting historical Buddhist temples to discovering magnificent waterfalls and forests in national parks. 

Thailand is filled with things to do for every type of traveler and group size. Map out your list with some of the country’s top experiences for a vacation of a lifetime. Indulging in local food and relaxing during an authentic Thai massage is a must.

The bustling Thai capital of Bangkok has something for everyone. Wat Pho Temple is the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand, Mahanakhon SkyWalk lets you walk above the city while at Above Eleven you enjoy the breathtaking view with a drink in your hand. Don’t miss the fun surfing and bodyboarding the FlowRider at the Flow House and watching a Muay Thai fight with the locals.

What to eat in Thailand

Thai food is well known around the world but eating it at its origin just simply puts you in food heaven. Avoid the more touristy looking places and find some amazing local food; including quite possibly the best Pad Thai ever! 

You can find countless street food markets located throughout the entire country; however, there are a number of hotspots in Bangkok. Chinatown and Bang Rak are the two most popular areas in Bangkok for authentic Thai street food, offering countless options from noodles to barbecued seafood, dessert and more. The Old City (Rattanakosin) also features legendary street food including some of the finest Pad Thai in Bangkok. 

If you’re undecided on what to try, some of the most popular street food dishes include Som Tam (papaya salad), Khao Pad (fried rice), Pad Thai Kung (noodles with shrimp) and Gai/Moo Bing (grilled chicken/pork skewers). 

The nightlife in Bangkok is incredible. From local art shows, dive bars to breathtaking rooftop clubs and bars.

How to get there

Getting to Thailand and around is pretty easy. Most cities offer direct flights to Bangkok and then you can catch another internal flight to your destination. Local agencies will offer help to get you to your accommodation. No need to look for them, they will find you.  

Where to stay

Thailand offers several types of accommodations for every type of traveler. Choose from luxurious hotels to cheap hostels and camping experiences. Location over amenities? Or would you rather have to travel a bit farther but have free breakfast and Wifi? Make sure to properly research what exactly you want.

How to get around

Thailand is notorious for heavy and often dangerous traffic. During the Songkran festival, many roads will be blocked off for the event. Planning much ahead of time is key to solidifying a bus or train ticket to get to your destination.

Public transportation is one of the best ways to get around the area. Flights, shared minibuses, ferries, local city buses, the MRT subway system in Bangkok and open-air taxis are all economical choices as transportation options. 

For transport from any of the airports to the towns, you are able to get buses and trains, or if you prefer you can jump in the taxi. 

Watch out for the tuk tuks, they are a fun way to get around but charge tourist prices. Also negotiate the rate on a taxi ride upfront or make sure they switch on the meter.

Trains are a fun way to travel across Thailand, it is like going back in time. They run overnight and you get a bunk bed in a shared cabin with 3 more people.

Did you fall in love with Thailand? Read more about the Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi and one of the most famous parties, the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan.

Photo credits: Oli Russell-Cowan

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Comments

One thought on “Songkran 2020

  1. Kendy lew says:

    love it..best vibe and feelling ever..good festival..people all over the world came to thailand for songkran..Love Peace And Freedom..Say no to war.

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