One of the best times of the year to visit Thailand is the month of April. Sure, the weather is scorching, but the locals have the ultimate way to cool down: the Songkran Festival!
The Songkran Festival is essentially one giant water fight. As well as cooling the country down, the celebration has deep symbolic meaning for the Thai people. It’s a time to come together and celebrate as a family – while stirring up a little healthy rivalry with your neighbors!
If you’re celebrating Songkran in Thailand, you’re in for a memorable experience. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking of attending Songkran in Thailand:
Songkran is held in mid-April to mark the start of the New Year. The premise of the festival is about bidding goodbye to the old year and any negativity associated with it. That means settling tensions and forgetting feuds. The metaphor is clear: the bad is washed away, hence the water pistols!
Absolutely! Thai people have a reputation for being warm and welcoming, and the Songkran Festival is no exception. While the majority of people partaking in the festival will be locals, you’ll see plenty of tourists from around the world getting involved. Locals will include you in the celebrations by squirting their water pistols just as hard in your direction as anyone else’s.
Unlike many festivals around the world, Songkran is free to attend. You don’t need a ticket because Songkran is celebrated in public spaces. Whether you’re in a town square or any street in Thailand, you can guarantee there will be locals with water pistols. In fact, it’s almost impossible to go outside and stay dry.
Almost every city in Thailand will be celebrating during Songkran. For the liveliest celebrations, head to Bangkok or Chiang Mai. If you choose Bangkok, you’ll have endless options with celebrations spread out across different hubs around the city.
The best spot for a local celebration is Silom. A busy yet touristic hub for celebrating Songkran is Khao San Road. If you’re visiting Chiang Mai, things are a little simpler: the main celebrations can be found around Thapae Gate.
Wear light fabric that you don’t mind getting wet. Jeans or other denim clothing will be pretty heavy and uncomfortable when waterlogged. While you might choose to wear swimwear under your clothes, be mindful that Thai people are generally conservative and won’t appreciate you stripping off in public. However, shorts and t-shirts will be fine.
Oh, you don’t carry a water pistol in your backpack?
Fret not. Affordable water pistols are sold at every street stall during Songkran. Many hostels will have a stash you can borrow which is a great way to reduce plastic waste.
Either way, pistols are the only thing you’ll need for the festival. There are plenty of water stations where you can fill up your gun during the event for 10 baht or so.
Songkran is one of those events best celebrated in a group. You’ll have backup when caught in a (water) crossfire and be able to shelter behind your friends. If you’re visiting Thailand solo during Songkran, your best bet is staying in a hostel. Many Chiang Mai and Bangkok hostels will organize something for the celebrations, and almost all other travelers will want to experience Songkran. There’s nowhere you can go in the city without getting wet anyway!
Still looking for places to stay in Thailand? Check out our accommodation guides in Bangkok and Chiang Mai!
We hope this has answered your questions about visiting Thailand during the Songkran Festival. Got any more questions? Shoot us a comment below! You’re going to have a blast!
Featured image: @polecampphuket