Songkran is the biggest festival of the year in Thailand and Chiang Mai has a reputation for being one of the best places to celebrate. This iconic festival which celebrates the Thai New Year officially takes place from 13th to 15th April but around Chiang Mai, people often like to draw out the celebrations a little longer. Check out our top tips for enjoying this awesome festival which takes “sanook” (Thai for “fun”) to a whole new level!
1. Be prepared to get wet!
A major aspect of Songkran is traditional throwing of water to represent purification for the coming year. Over time this has developed into a full-on waterfight which is completely unavoidable if you plan on going outside over the 3 days of celebrations. It’s not uncommon to be innocently walking down the street only to have a full bucket of water thrown at you from a vehicle passing by or a vendor on the street. Make sure you have all your valuables and electronics in waterproofing bags before going outside and why not buy yourself your own water weapons so that you retaliate!
2. Respect this religious tradition
As the traditional Thai New Year, this is a celebration rich with symbolic traditions. What is now considering the biggest waterfight in the world, originated from the tradition of gently pouring water on Buddha statues to wash away their sins and bad luck. While sharing the fun, it is suggested you show respect by dressing modestly and not participating in provocative behaviour (which authorities are threatening to be rather strict about this year).
3. Book in advance.
With an expected 2.64 million travellers attracted to Thailand for Songkran, tourism has its biggest boom of the year during this time; with limited spaces available this inevitably results in higher prices. So make sure you book your accommodation in advance (and budget a little bit extra) so you don’t find yourself in the city without a place to stay!
4. Have fun!
The Thai’s are all about ‘sanook’ and this time of year is arguably the most fun time of year to be in Thailand. If you want to get amongst the massive waterfight you are best to head to Tha Pae gate and around the old city moat; for the 3 days this area will be vibrant with celebrations!