Songkran Thailand – A Guide for First Time Visitors
The throwing of water, well the mass water fights, have become a huge part of the celebration over the past 2 decades everywhere in Thailand, so don’t be surprised if you get splashed with icy cold water, well when we say splashed, we mean drenched in water, shot at you from every angle form a variety of coloured water pistols, buckets and anything else that can hold water. You will also become covered in powder which even to this day after being in Thailand for 10 years, we have no idea what it is.
Are you excited about Songkran Thailand? Songkran is a three-day event that takes place in Bangkok and throughout Thailand. Here is our guide for first-time visitors for the Thai New Year?
However Songkran Festival 2022 will be toned down.
The biggest water fight in the world.
Here on Phuket island, everything stops on the 13th and locals, tourists and anyone else set up make-shift water splash stations on the side of every road.
Pick up trucks are filled with Thais and tourists wearing bright Hawaiian style shirts with huge buckets of water, mostly with a chunk of an iceberg floating in it to make it as cold as possible, and all are armed to the teeth with some of the largest water guns you will ever see. Although everywhere on Phuket celebrates Songkran, the main water fight generally takes place in Patong with Bangla Road being the epicentre and continuing late into the night.
It’s a water festival that has been celebrated for years and is about getting wet and showing respect to elders.
You’ll see people spraying water on Buddha statues as a sign of cleansing and washing away bad luck from the previous year. If you’re looking for a party, then this is the event for you and one that you won’t want to miss.
So, start planning your trip and get ready to have some fun!
Songkran Festival: History
The history of the Songkran Festival is long and fascinating. It can be traced back 3500 years to the Brahmanic period, known as the “Water Festival”. The festival was celebrated to mark the beginning of the New Year. It was also seen as a time for purification, and participants would engage in ritual cleansing before taking part in the festivities.
The festival eventually made its way to Thailand, where it became known as Songkran. The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word “samkranti”, which means “astrological passage” or “to enter”. It is also sometimes referred to as the “Thai New Year”.
Songkran in Thailand was celebrated on a different day of April each year, depending on the lunar calendar. However, after 1989, the festival was celebrated on April 13th-15th according to the Georgian calendar.
The Songkran Thailand Festival is now a national holiday in Thailand, and it is also celebrated by Thai people living abroad. It is a time for family and friends to get together and to pay respect to elders.
Ten things you need to know before going to Songkran Thailand
Here are ten things you need to know before going to Songkran:
- Songkran is the Thai New Year celebrated from April 13-15.
- The festival originally was a time to pay respect to elders and ancestors but has since become a water splashing extravaganza.
- Water is meant to be a cleansing symbol, so don’t be offended if you get doused with a bucket of water. It’s all in good fun!
- If you’re not into getting wet, it’s best to avoid the main streets and areas where people congregate to celebrate.
- Thai people love to have fun and party, so expect loud music and plenty of revelries.
- Be respectful of religious sites and temples – many people go to these places to pray during Songkran.
- Expect to see everyone wearing floral Hawaiian shirts on Songkran as it is a tradition.
- Silly string is often used during Songkran and can get quite annoying. If you don’t like it, politely say no thanks.
- Don’t get too drunk – public drunkenness is not tolerated, and you may find yourself in trouble.
- Although it’s a traditional festival or Thai people, foreigners are highly welcomed there. Have fun and be safe!
How to prepare for your trip to the Songkran festival?
The best way to enjoy Songkran in Thailand is to be prepared for the biggest water fight in the world. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your experience:
1. Dress appropriately: Light, loose-fitting clothing is best for the hot weather and splashing water. Avoid anything too valuable or sentimental that could be ruined by water damage.
2. Protect your electronics: Put your phone in a waterproof case or bag, and don’t bring anything you’re not willing to get wet. That will free you of any worries, and you will be able to enjoy the best time of your life to date.
3. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, which will only dehydrate you further in the heat. The best way to go through the whole festival without feeling down is to keep yourself hydrated.
4. Use sunscreen: Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly, especially if you’re going to be out in the sun all day. The last thing you want is to get sunburned on top of everything else.
5. Have fun: This is the most important tip of all! Songkran is about having fun, so let loose and enjoy yourself. Splash some water, dance to the music, and make some new friends.
Why should you attend Songkran Thailand Festival?
If you’re looking for a truly unique and memorable experience, look no further than Songkran in Thailand! This festive event is celebrated every year to mark the start of the Thai New Year, and it’s definitely a party that you don’t want to miss. Trust us, once you’ve attended Songkran, you’ll be hooked for life!
This is not it, you should attend the Songkran festival for many reasons:
1. Traditional Thai New Year Celebrations
One of the most popular and well-known aspects of Songkran is the traditional water pouring ceremony. This is when people pour water on Buddha statues as a way of paying respect and making merit. It’s also a great opportunity to cool off in the heat!
2. Thai culture and traditions
Songkran is the perfect time to immerse yourself in Thai culture and traditions. From the food to the music, this festival is a true celebration of all things Thai. You’ll also get to see some amazing traditional dances and performances.
3. Fun for all ages
Songkran Thailand is a family-friendly event that’s suitable for all ages. Whether you’re a young backpacker or a seasoned traveller, there’s something for everyone at this festival.
4. Make new friends
One of the best things about Songkran is the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. With so many people gathered in one place, it’s easy to strike up a conversation and make some new friends.
5. Wet & Wild Water Fights
Of course, one of the main reasons that people flock to Songkran each year is for the water fights! These take place all over Thailand, and they are definitely a sight to behold. Be prepared to get soaked as you join in on the fun!
6. Amazing Fireworks
Another highlight of Songkran is the amazing fireworks display. This happens every night during the festival, and it’s definitely something that you won’t want to miss. It’s a great sight for kids and adults alike.
7. Thai Food & Drinks
Last but not least, Songkran Thailand is also a great time to sample some delicious Thai food and drinks. There are plenty of street food vendors around, so make sure to bring your appetite!
So what are you waiting for? Get packing and head on down to Thailand for an unforgettable Songkran experience!
Getting around in Thailand on Songkran festival
Songkran is the biggest and most anticipated event in Thailand. It is the water throwing festival that occurs every year to celebrate the Thai New Year. The festival usually lasts for 3-5 days, and people from all over come to participate in the festivities.
If you are planning on attending Songkran this year, there are a few things you should know about getting around during Songkran, so that you can have a great time and avoid any stressful situations.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Songkran is a very chaotic time. The streets are full of people, and there is a lot of water being thrown around. This can make it difficult to get around, so it is important to be prepared.
The best way to get around during Songkran is on foot. This way, you can avoid the traffic and the chaos that comes with it. Walking is also a great way to see the sights and sounds of Songkran, as you will be up close and personal with all the action.
Of course, if you do not want to walk the entire time, there are other options for getting around during Songkran. You can take a tuk-tuk, which is a popular form of transportation in Thailand. Tuk-tuks are small, three-wheeled vehicles that can seat up to four people. They are a great option for getting around, as they are fast and relatively inexpensive.
Another option for getting around during Songkran is to take a bus. Buses in Thailand are air-conditioned and comfortable, so they are a great way to escape the heat and the water.
Things to do during the festival of water: fun activities
There is so much to do during Songkran, the list just goes on:
1. Start your celebrations early
Songkran Thailand officially runs from April 13-15, but in reality, the party starts much earlier and keeps going throughout April. In Bangkok, for example, people start splashing water on each other as earlier but this is not a good thing to do. However, this year due to Covid there may be many restrictions so check.
2. Thai water blessing at a local temple
Many temples offer this opportunity to receive a special blessing from a monk. The water used is often blessed with holy water from the temple’s well. Moreover, during Songkran, many people take the opportunity to visit a local temple and offer food to the monks. This is a great way to explore more about Buddhism and Thai culture.
3. Splash around in a local water fight
A true Songkran festival-goer knows that getting involved in a local water fight is a must. Be sure to stock up on supplies such as water guns and buckets of water.
4. Songkran treats
Make your way to a local market and try some of the traditional snacks on offer such as Thai grilled chicken (gai yang) or deep-fried rice cakes (khanom krok).
5. Watch traditional performances
One of the best things about Songkran Thailand is that it’s a great opportunity to learn about Thai culture and traditions. There are often traditional performances taking place in public areas such as parks or temples.
6. Visit a water park
If you’re looking for a more family-friendly activity, then head to one of Thailand’s many water parks. These are great places to cool off and have some fun in the sun.
7. Take part in a mud spa
Mud spas are becoming increasingly popular in Thailand and can be found in many of the country’s major cities. These spas offer a range of treatments that are said to have health benefits.
8. Get a Thai massage
What better way to relax after a long day of water-filled fun than with a traditional Thai massage? These can be found in most towns and cities across Thailand.
9. Go whitewater rafting
Thailand is blessed with many rivers, making it the perfect place to go whitewater rafting. There are many tour operators that offer this activity during Songkran.
10. Visit a local waterfall
A great way to cool off from the heat and humidity is by visiting one of Thailand’s many waterfalls. There are some stunning waterfalls located all over the country.
Things to avoid during Songkran
While Songkran is full of happenings, there are some certain rules and traditions, that need to be followed by everyone:
- Do not use too much water when pouring it over people’s shoulders, as this is considered disrespectful. A small amount is all that is needed to show respect.
- Do not pour water over a monk, child, and elderly, this is a big No.
- Don’t stop smiling, this festival is all about cultural celebrations, and everyone enjoys it.
- Avoid throwing water on running vehicles, as this can cause accidents.
- Don’t use offensive language or obscene gestures during the festival, as it is considered rude and disrespectful.
- Don’t drink and drive, this goes without saying.
- Be careful when using water guns, as they can injure people. Try to avoid shooting at people’s faces.
- Don’t use a water hose with a lot of power, as it can seriously injure others.
This article provided an overview of the Songkran Thailand water festival, which takes place in April throughout Thailand. There are many activities to enjoy during the festival, such as splashing water on each other, participating in a local water fight, trying traditional Thai snacks and drinks, and getting a Thai massage. However, there are also some things that should be avoided, such as pouring water on monks, children, and the elderly, using too much water, and throwing water at moving vehicles. Be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience during Songkran.
Why do young people prepare rose water on Songkran?
There are many traditions that are associated with Songkran, the Thai New Year. One of these traditions is the preparation of rose water. Rosewater is thought to have cleansing and cooling properties, which makes it ideal for use during the hot summer months. Rosewater is also used as a symbol of love and respect and is often given to elders as a sign of filial piety. Moreover, young people also celebrate the rot nam dam hua ceremony by showing respect to the elders.
Is it important to wear white during traditional Thai New Year?
No. Wearing white during Songkran is a symbol of purification. White represents the purity of new beginnings; however, it is not compulsory. Young people signify their desire to start the new year with a clean slate. White is also thought to ward off evil spirits.
What is the significance of the water splashing during Songkran?
The water splashing during Songkran is a symbol of purification and a way to ward off evil spirits. Water is thought to have cleansing properties, and by splashing water on others, people purify them and drive away any bad luck or evil spirits that may be clinging to them. Water is also a symbol of new beginnings, and by splashing water on others, people are bestowing them with good luck for the new year.
How do Thai people celebrate Songkran?
Thai people celebrate Maha Songkran by spending time with family and friends, sharing meals, and exchanging gifts. They also visit temples and make offerings to the monks. On the third day of Songkran, people often go to wat pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha, to pay respects to the Buddha. They also splash water on each other and engage in water fights using a water gun and bucket. It is not uncommon for people to get drenched during these water fights.
In addition, people prepare food and respect the temple’s sacred Buddha images. Songkran Thailand celebrations are a fun family way to spend quality time in their hometowns.
Khao San Road is a famous tourist hotspot in Bangkok, where Songkran’s celebration is always fun with traditional foods and other rituals. However, it is highly likely there will be no water throwing in this area. Phuket Town also celebrates Songkran day with pickup trucks throwing water all over people. Similarly, in Northern Thailand, there are many places like Chiang Mai where Maha Songkran is celebrated like a religious festival.
What is the Nam ob?
There is a perfume called Nam ob made from jasmine flowers and is used as a symbol of respect and reverence.
It is often used in religious ceremonies and is believed to have spiritual properties.
The Nam ob is often used during Songkran, as it is thought that scented water can purify and bless people.
It is also used as an offering to the monks.
What is the significance of releasing birds during Songkran?
Releasing birds during Songkran celebrations is a tradition that dates back to the time when people believed that birds carried the spirits of their ancestors. By releasing birds, people were thought to be releasing the spirits of their ancestors and giving them a chance to start anew. This Songkran tradition is still practised today and is seen as a way to honour one’s ancestors.
It doesn’t matter if you are young or old if you are out and about during Songkran you will end up getting wet, in fact getting soaked, but it’s amazing fun and a true bucket list experience.