The Thai New Year is a time for family, and at least half of Bangkok’s residents travel back to their hometowns to visit family.
Many banks and family-run shops and restaurants shut down, however the city still bustles, as big shopping malls stay open, and scores of tourists flock to the city to enjoy this unique festival.
There are dozens of Songkran events held around Bangkok. Head to Khao San Road for the wildest water fight, or Silom Road for the largest party in Bangkok, spanning the entire 5 kilometre length of the street. Siam Square also holds plenty of events and festivals.
To observe the more traditional aspects, visit Sanam Luang, a public square opposite the Grand Palace where sacred celebrations are held, including washing Buddha images and building sand pagodas.
Bangkok may have the biggest parties, but Chiang Mai has the wettest, with the ancient city turning into a giant waterfight.
Head to Tha Pae Gate in the Old City, then make your way along 4 kilometres of road fillwed with food stalls, music, parties and plenty of water splashing.
Celebrations in Phuket last for the full three days, with constant water fights and parties all over the city. Patong Beach and Soi Bangla have the most wild water fights and everyone gets involved - even the policemen!
You’ll find raucous parties and water fights in Koh Samui, but there are also a few quieter areas that are perfect for families.
In Nathon, the celebrations are centred on sacred traditions, while on Maenam Beach and Bophut Beach, you’ll experience fun, kid-friendly water fights, without it getting too rough.
Songkran celebrations last longer in Pattaya than anywhere else in Thailand, spanning from 13 to 15 April and continuing into the following week.
The biggest day of celebration is 19 April, known as the Wan Lai Festival, and there’s plenty of revelry and water fights throughout the week.
What to wear during Songkran?
Many Thai people wear colourful, floral shirts, and it’s best to wear light, fast-drying fabrics.
It's best to wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes, but don’t go out in just a bikini. Songkran is a holy holiday and Thai culture is quite conservative. Avoid wearing white as it goes see-through when wet!
You can wear flip-flops, but we recommend wearing sturdy sandals to avoid slipping over on wet floors.
Protect your eyes by wearing a pair of goggles or sunglasses. You may get sprayed with a grey paste made of scented powder and water, and although it’s harmless, it will sting your eyes.
We also recommend wearing waterproof sunscreen and a hat. April is the hottest time of the year in Thailand, so you’ll need to protect yourself from the blazing sun.
Top 10 Tips for Songkran 2019
1. You cannot avoid getting wet during Songkran, so if you don’t want to get splashed, it’s best to stay indoors.
2. Keep all valuables in a waterproof bag or keep them locked in your room.
3. Learn how to say “Sawasdee Pee Mai!” and say it after throwing water on people. In means Happy New Year in Thai.
4. Be respectful and never splash monks, babies or the elderly.
5. Don’t throw water indoors or on people who are working.
6. Don’t throw icy water.
7. Avoid driving motorbikes during Songkran. It’s best to walk or use taxis and trains.
8. Don’t throw water at people on motorbikes - this could easily cause an accident. However, people riding in the back of tuk-tuks, songthaews or pick-up trucks are fair game!
9. Avoid swallowing the water splashed on you.
10. Maintain a sense of humour, arm yourself with a super soaker and join in the fun!
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