Songkran is one of the world’s best holidays. Located in Thailand every year the celebration sees Thais take off from work and enjoy some “sanuk,” or fun, for a few days. The annual New Year celebration begins on April 13th. This year Songkran will run from the 12th to 16th.
Songkran comes from Sanskrit and means astrological passage. It is a term to denote the New Year in accordance to the Buddhist solar calendar. The opening of the holiday is held in Bangkok at Wat Pho, which features the famed golden reclining Buddha. An image of Buddha is brought out and people sprinkle water on it as part of the tradition. The new year is celebrated in style too!
Merit making, a way of paying respect, is done in the mornings. Food and other items are offered to Buddhist monks and the entire family will go to the temple to do this good deed. Later in the day all the fun occurs as Songkran is probably best known as being the world’s biggest water fight. Major areas of Bangkok are shut down for the population to enjoy splashing each other with water, smearing each other with clay, and squirting each other with water guns.
Hot Tips for Songkran
Make sure wherever you go you are ready to get wet. While most of Bangkok will be cleared out as soon as you hit the streets you are a target for some Songkran fun, especially as a foreigner. It’s best advised to wear shorts and sandals/old sneakers along with a tee shirt wherever you go. Dress like you’re going to the beach.
Keep your phone and valuables in zip lock/water proof bags. One of the worst tragedies of the festival is getting your important electronics wet. Make sure to get bags for your valuables. Many street side sellers offer small pouches for sale for a nominal fee.
Wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet. You are very likely to be getting wet from your head down to your toes. Don’t wear your brand new shoes. They will get ruined!
Don’t ride motorbikes. Death tolls mount up during Songkran as people around the country drink and drive. Combine alcohol with slippery roads and roadside festival participants dousing water on drivers and you have a recipe for disaster. Statistics are broadcast on nightly news and death tolls during the holiday double or more. Make sure to take taxis, public transit or walk.
Get your gear ready early! Water guns will be sold around the city but will be more expensive in prime locations like Silom, Soi Cowboy and Khao San. Get your Songkran weapons early at department stores.
Don’t drink the water. Often the water used for Songkran splashing is less than clean. Make sure to shower after you go out and about on your day of fun.
If you are taking photos make sure your camera is waterproof.
Where to Celebrate Songkran 2019
Khao San. The international backpacker’s ghetto turns into a massive puddle as people from around the world celebrate the fun. The celebration is full of young internationals in the western area of Bangkok.
RCA. The club district in mid Bangkok turns into a massive water fight late at night with young Thais coming out for drinks and fun. There are often Songkran themed parties in the RCA for added fun. Coyote dancers will be out and about dancing on stages splashing the audience with water as DJ’s blast out top hits. Do expect to get wet and have a blast. Don’t expect to have an easy time finding a cab ride out.
Silom. The main strip of Silom near Sala Daeng BTS turns into a long run of Songkran celebration. This is a great day time stop and with BTS and MRT easily accessible it’s a great place to dip in and out of. It’s also close to the famed Soi 4, Bangkok’s Gayberhood.
Soi Cowboy. The infamous Bangkok red light district turns into an alley of fun as the working girls come out to celebrate Songkran. While the government has a strict line against things getting past PG it’s likely you’ll see some R rated things here.
Home. Celebrate the holiday like a Thai. Go to the temple and bring a donation in the morning and then enjoy the holiday with friends and family later in the evening.
Celebrate Songkran in Style with ChillinChilli
Songkran is best done with friends. Join us as we take a Songkran tour through some of the hotspots listed above. The adventure begins at
The tour is an excellent way to dip your toes into the annual festival and ease your way into the culture. With authentic food and real Thai fun the tour is not to be missed!