13-15 April


Protecting Your Belongings

During Songkran, bring only the necessities, such as your phone, wallet and camera. In order to keep your items dry and secure, the use of a watertight capsule, such as a small pouch or a ziploc bag, is crucial. Ziploc bags can be purchased at almost all shopping centres and convenience stores. Additionally, phone pouches which are incredibly popular at this time can be purchased from markets and most streets during Songkran for an approximate cost of ฿50. If you plan on bringing more than just a phone and wallet, a waterproof bag may be necessary to carry excess goods.

Although these methods will almost always keep your items secure, there is still the possibility of water damage. In the case of an electronic device being splashed with water, switch off the device immediately and remove the battery, sim card, and any other damageable items in a dry place. Attempt to dry these items as quickly as possible using either a towel or paper towel, which can be purchased at a convenience store.

The other danger to your items during Songkran is the possibility of pickpocketing. Ensure you keep your personal belongings securely in your front pockets, around your neck in a phone pouch, or in a visible bag. Keeping your items in your front pockets rather than the back is a safer option as they are always visible. Keeping them in a pouch around your neck is the most popular and convenient option, as this too is almost always visible in the case that someone attempts to steal your belongings . If taking a bag, make sure you can see it at all times and ensure that it is waterproof. Lastly, wearing your backpack at the front of your body is also an option in the case that you have larger or heavier items you require during the festival.

Personal Safety

It is important to be mindful of situations that could be unsafe or damaging during this busy time of year. Below we have included common concerns to keep in mind, for a safe Songkran celebration.

Eye Protection

It is critical to protect your eyes from the water to avoid redness or irritation. This can be achieved by wearing protective goggles or glasses.

Stay Hydrated

It is easy to become caught up in the fun and craziness of the water fights, but remember that is equally as important to keep hydrated by consuming as much clean water as possible. When purchasing drinks, avoid leaving them unattended, as both soft drinks and alcoholic beverages can be spiked.

Keep Your Valuables Safe

In Thailand, tourists are often advised to be cautious of pickpockets. Therefore, it is best to take only the necessities, leaving all other valuables in a safe place away from the business of the streets and water fighting areas.

Safer in Numbers

Staying in small groups is highly advised during Songkran, however be tolerant of the large crowds moving slow at times. It is highly possible that your group may be separated, especially in the populous party areas. However, keeping your mobile phone charged for easy communication and organising a meeting point with friends will assist your group to stay together. Additionally, at night it is best to stay on main roads and avoid exploring darker, quieter areas.

Road Safety

Being aware of your surroundings especially on the roads is a crucial aspect of your safety during Songkran. In 2015 alone the road toll for accidents caused by drink driving increased by 27%, and unfortunately 364 people lost their lives. Drink driving stands as the main cause of accidents during this time, however speeding and aggressiveness on the road follows close behind. Despite efforts being made to make it safer for those commuting home, accidents are still obliged to happen, so ensure you are not contributing to the insanity on the roads during this time.

What To Wear

Despite the weather being approximately 40 degrees (Celsius) in Thailand at this time, it is important to be respectful of the more conservative culture and the holiday.

T-shirt and Shorts

A good colourful t-shirt and some shorts will be perfect! Cover your shoulders to be respectful of the modest culture and to protect them from the sun. Board shorts are ideal as they will dry very quickly, but make sure they are not too short. Most Thai people do not mind the different clothing standards for tourists. However, be wary as some people have been fined for wearing items too revealing.

Swim Suit

Wear a swimsuit or bikini under your clothes, it will dry fast and hold its shape better than some undergarments.

Thongs/Flip Flops

Wear some plain, cheap thongs/flip flops as these shoes have to survive getting wet all day. Additionally, they are quick drying and easy to clean. Keep in mind that the shoes you wear are likely to be destroyed or go missing throughout the day.


Sometimes the water is not clean and can lead to eye irritation and infections, so goggles can be used to prevent this. We recommend swimming goggles, but you can also purchase goggles or glasses at the water playing areas.


Avoid wearing white fabrics, as they will most likely become see-through during the water fight. Also avoid thick garments, such as jeans, as these will become heavy and uncomfortable.

What To Bring

As the Songkran festival is known for water fights, being prepared and knowing what to buy will contribute to a successful and fun week. Here is a list of purchases to be made before Songkran begins:

Waterproof Pouch

Waterproof pouches are essential for storing your phone, money and other small personal belongings. These pouches are inexpensive and are available in clear, giving you the ability to use your phone and take photos if desired. These can be purchased prior at shopping centres, convenience stores and markets, or at water gun stands during the festival.

Water Gun

Another necessity is a water gun. During Songkran you can find water guns almost anywhere which will cost approximately ฿150, depending on the size. The bigger the gun the better, as this ensures you will save money throughout the week with fewer refills required.

Waterproof Camera

An option for better quality photos, is to invest in a waterproof camera. If you do not want to spend money, just know that taking photos with your phone in your waterproof pouch can result in the image having water smudges.

Thongs/Flip Flops

If you do not have any, purchase some inexpensive flip flops to be worn for the duration of the festival. Avoid impracticable footwear made from materials such as fabric and leather. In the situation that your thongs/flip flops break or are lost, a replacement pair can be purchased from stands or convenience stores.

Do's and Dont's

The following tips are fundamental for having a great Songkran that is respectful of local culture:

Wear a Colourful Hawaiian Shirt

Wearing a colourful Hawaiian shirt is encouraged and is widely seen throughout the whole country, on both locals and foreigners. Do not head out with exposed shoulders, you will see some people doing so, but for many Thai locals this is disrespectful. Additionally, exposed bikinis or topless is not respectful locally and unfortunately may also attract unwanted attention. Instead, opt for comfortable, light clothing that is not revealing.

Get a Water Gun

A good tip is to also buy a ball of twine, so you can make yourself a sling to hold your water pistol as you walk around. When purchasing a water gun, keep in mind that large pistols are more difficult to carry all day and have been criticised by the government for being unsafe and using excessive water.

Get Wet

Outside of the city, locals around where you are staying will often be very excited to splash overseas visitors. Let locals splash you, also if they put chalk on your face this is a symbol of good luck and that they are wishing you well for the new year. Engage in water fights with people who are also carrying water fight equipment and be respectful to those who are not playing such as officials and those who are working.

Be Caring

The biggest water fight areas are also the most crowded. Thai people are very caring however, and you will generally not find pushing and shoving in the same way a crowd in the west can be when the crowd swells. Remember that the water fights are about having fun, so relax and enjoy the chaos.

Keep Safe

Stay away from roads with traffic when you are water fighting. Each year many people are injured by water fighting in unsafe places. Whilst in water fights avoid spraying monks, those not in a position to play, frail elders, those who are driving unless they are participating in the water play and people working or those who are in uniform. It is also important to avoid violence and be forgiving of any accidents, mistakes or misunderstandings that may occur.

Pay Your Respects

It is encouraged to visit a temple, watch a local ceremony and take an active interest in finding out what Songkran is about, beyond the large street water fights.

Another ritual that you may take place in involves paying a small amount for a cup of rose water. This can be poured over Buddha statues, in particularly the shoulders, to pay respect and receive good luck. Furthermore, discussing Buddha or the King in a negative manner is highly disrespectful and should be avoided at all times.