13-15 April


Water Fights

Songkran is most famous for its extensive three day long water fights. This water fighting tradition evolved from the traditional water blessing ceremonies. Nowadays, throughout the whole week people bless others by splashing water on them. On the three main days of the festival however, the small splashing is replaced by water weapons, and the water fights become an integral part of the celebration.

Both locals and foreigners gear up with water guns and buckets ready for battle. The water fights are purely for entertainment and are not aggressive in anyway. The streets are filled with smiles, laughter and most of all, water. The roads are crowded with water stations to fill up water guns and buckets. The locals especially appreciate the westerners getting involved in the festival and therefore, westerners are the number one targets during the water fights.

The areas in Bangkok that attract the most attention for the water fights are Silom and Khao San Road. Silom is busy with locals, Khao San Road however, is the top destination for partying during the water festival. Expect to see stages set up at the front of most bars filling the streets with their blaring music.

Additionally, the water fights are still a large component of the festival even in quieter suburban areas. Simply walking to a convenience store will result in a dripping wet commute home.

Lastly, it is important to understand the cultural context of the water fights during the festival, as well as keeping safe and most importantly, having fun.

Where to Go/Good Spots Guide

If you're planning on heading to Thailand to enjoy Songkran, it's useful to work out which location is going to suit you the most.

If you're after water fights, live music, or parties, you'll proably want to head to either Silom Road or Khao San Road. Silom road is probably the most crowded spot in Bangkok during Songkran. Roads are often closed, so transportation can be tricky. Lots of fun is to be had here though! Keep an eye out for the firetrucks that stop at the end of the road and hose down the crowd with their high pressure water canons. Khao San Road is another great spot for fun. The street doesn't close from traffic though, so keep an eye out for motorcycles and cars.

If you're looking for a more traditional experience, consider heading to Chiang Mai for some incredible treks through the countryside, finished off with some local cuisine and shopping in the evening at the seemingly endless night markets. The Chiang Mai Songkran Festival has a strong focus on fun, with lots of parades, processions and delicious international foods along Urban Culture Street.

If getting wet and pushing your way through crowds isn't your thing, maybe consider heading to Phra Pradaeng. The Miss Songkran beauty contest is held here, before fish and birds are released as a demonstration of freedom, with the winner of the contest releasing the first fish. The celebrations at Phra Pradaeng actually take place a week after the traditional Songkran celebrations, so there will plenty of time left to celebrate.

The Wat Arun region is home to the Songkran in Temples activity, where travellers can attend Thai style New Year Prayers. The activity will give you a better understanding of the cultural heritage of Thailand, and why Songkran is so imporant to the Thai people. It focuses on the worship of nine sacred buddha images at Way Pathumwanaram, and finishes with a spectacular procession through the streets celebrating the cleansing brought by the water thrown enthusiastically during Songkran.