Thailand is well known for its festivals, and as of this weekend, Songkran, the most popular festival of all will be with us.
Songkran celebrates the start of the new solar year and sees Thailand move officially into its summer season! April is also Thailand’s hottest month, so it is probably good in more ways than one that the main way to celebrate Songkran is by holding one big water fight!
The date of the festival was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed. If these days fall on a weekend, the missed days off are taken on the weekdays immediately following.
Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand is where many believe the best Songkran festivities take place, although we think Bangkok also has good celebrations, and here are our top tips on where is best to enjoy Songkran in Bangkok:
This is probably the biggest and best place to head to experience Songkran in Bangkok. The whole 5km street is packed with thousands of people carrying water guns, looking for their next victim to soak! One of the main highlights of the celebrations here is to see the fire trucks ambushed at each intersection with their water hoses – those things sure have a powerful water spray on them!!
If you want to experience what Songkran is all about but stay dry, then here is the perfect place for you to go as you can watch all of the shenanigans for the safety of the skywalk.
If you have been or have heard of Khao San Road, then here the water fight is mixed with one big wild and noisy party! The entire length of Khao San Road is always chocker – there is no escape here unlike Silom in getting wet – this venue is for serious Songkraners only!
You probably are asking where when we say Sanam Luang, but we mean the area opposite the Grand Palace. Here, celebrations are much more respectful. On the first day of Songkran the Buddha image “Buddhasihing” is taken from the National Museum and escorted along the street to allow people to sprinkle water on before it is left on display for the next three days to enable people to pay their respects.
Again this is the place to head if you want to enjoy a more traditional Songkran. In addition to getting splashed with water you will have the chance to join in more cultural activities like Raman dances, ‘saba’ game, the Thai-Ramn flag ceremony, and parades.
In addition to the many crazy water flights, most Thai people will also visit their local temple during the holiday to pray and give food to the monks. They will also cleanse the Buddha images at their local shrine, as Songkran is a time for cleansing and renewal. Similar to the Western New Year, many people will also make new year resolutions.
So enjoy and have fun! And remember put things like your mobile phone and watch in a plastic bag!
All of us at Taste of Thailand would like to wish you sawasdee pee mai!