4 Things you need to know about Songkran – The Thai New Year's Festival

Mid April Thailand is celebrating its New Year’s Festival Songkran. And for those of you who have been to Thailand during that time of the year before you’ll know: it’s a huge water fight and a LOT of fun. In case you’re thinking about a trip to Thailand in April – here’s all you need to know about Songkran:
songkran
1. What is Songkran?
Songkran is the New Year’s Festival in Thailand. The traditional water pouring is meant as a symbol to wash away all misfortunes from the past year and to start the new year fresh and clean. Coming from this tradition during the last years Songkran Festival became a huge water party throughout Thailand, where Thais and tourists alike celebrate the new year together.
2. Be respectful
Although the City Hall didn’t cancel Songkran you should stick to the rules. And this not only means to stop throwing when the Thais stop but also to dress respectfully. Yes, that also means you can’t wear those x-ray pants you just bought. And it also means that you should treat other people respectfully. You definitely will see people on the streets not enjoying themselves. May it because they are party poopers or scared of getting their valuables soaked or maybe just people who strongly dislike the waste of water during the drought Thailand is going through in the moment. Trust your instinct when choosing a “victim”. Don’t overdo it. Just think about how you would feel. Songkran is most fun when both parties are enjoying themselves. Also try to only use lukewarm water, it really is no fun getting soaked with ice-cold water all day long.
songkran water festival
3. Wanna join the fun? Then you need this:
There are three important things you need to get:

  • a water gun
  • a waterproofed bag
  • safety glasses

You can buy a water gun everywhere the days before Songkran. Think twice about which size you want. A small gun won’t help you far, but the bigger a water gun is the heavier it is too. My tip: buy a medium-sized one and position yourself somewhere close to a water tank (most restaurants and guesthouses are happy to help you with water).
A waterproofed bag is self-explaining. As you will get wet so will your belongings. If you’re planning to bring some money or your phone you definitely need a waterproofed bag.
You also need to protect your eyes, as often a jet of water will blow up in your face. You can use your sun glasses but you can also buy some of the safety glasses sold on the streets.
songkran festival in bangkok
4. What if you don’t want to celebrate Songkran?
When you’re in Thailand during Songkran you definitely should join the fun. Everywhere and especially in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Songkran is a huge party and the only way to skip that, is to leave the country or hide in your hotel room. It could be that the celebrations this year will be a bit calmer, but especially in backpacker areas like Khao San Road in Bangkok there’s no way around it, so if you don’t want to participate better avoid these places by any circumstances. Alternatively you can head to one of the many temples and see a more traditional way of Songkran celebrated there.
Check out my post about Songkran in Bangkok 2015 on my blog for some more tips and also a video of last year’s party.
 
Yvonne Zagermann
Yvonne is the publisher of JUST travelous, an award-winning travel blog that focuses on unique experiences, adventure travel, and flashpacking. Yvonne surprises readers with unique experiences which show you the world from a different angle—whether she’s falling from a camel in Oman, surviving a cobra attack in South Africa, or getting a tattoo by a Buddhist monk. JUST travelous is written in English and German, and in addition to being one of the best travel blogs in Germany, it’s one of the Top 100 international travel blogs.


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