Your Bangkok Songkran Survival Guide

  • Posted onMarch 14th, 2014

Songkran 1Thai New Year, and the country’s most infamous holiday and largest annual celebration, Songkran must be the world’s largest water fight!

Historically Songkran is a religious festival and a time for people to return home and re-unite with family and loved ones, and while modern-day songkran still holds those values, ad traditions, with many Thai’s spending travelling back home, visiting family, and paying respect to their local temples, the water throwing aspect of the holiday’s has literally exploded.

Songkran 3Every major (and minor) city, town, resort and village, having a number of designated days (yes plural!) when it’s OK to fill up a water-gun or large bucket of ice cold water, and soak any and everyone who passes by you – regardless of who they are, what they are doing, or what they are wearing – you have been warned!

When is Songkran in Bangkok

The dates of Songkran vary from city to city. Being New Year, traditionally it was  calculated based o the lunar calendar, and the exact date changed every year, but each area of Thailand seems to have its own fixed date. In Bangkok the main days of the festival are 13th to 15th April, with the final day being the craziest.

Songkran 4Where is Songkran in Bangkok

The simple answer to this is everywhere! There are very few streets or even alleyways where you can avoid it, and even if you are just nipping out of your hotel to the local 7 Eleven, expected to get drenched in cold water and doused in flour.

The largest (and most chaotic) location for joining in with the water-throwing fun is Silom. Things get pretty wild here with the entire stretch of the 4 KM street being closed to traffic, and jam packed with party-going folk. Everyone will be drinking, dancing, and throwing cold water at each other (of course). If you want see just how crazy Songkran can get this is where you head.

Songkran in BangkokAlternatively, Khao San Road (and many of the surrounding streets, turn in to one giant party and water-fight. It’s much the same atmosphere and vibe as Silom but with slightly more young tourists. The areas are monitored by police, who ‘try’ to create check points and confiscate glass bottles and dangerous objects, by beers is still very much allowed.

Survival tips

–          Dress appropriately – If you head outside during Songkran you ARE going to get WET. Don’t wear anything you can’t afford to ruin, as not only will you get soaked to the bone you will also get coloured in flour, and some will use food colouring.

–          Leave valuables at home – Don’t take out anything you can’t afford to lose. That includes your phone, credit card, camera, and money.

–          Protect your belongings – If you do plan on taking anything out with you then wrap it up in something waterproof. Many vendors will sell waterproof wallets, bags and pouches during and running up to songkran, they are a worthwhile investment.

–          Respect Motorbikes – Try not to spray motorcyclists during, especially not in the face. Sadly many people don’t respect rule and to make matters worse this is also a time of year when drink driving is at its worst and road fatalities are at their yearly high. Respect road-users and avoid using bikes and scooters to get around.

–          Have fun – Don’t take things too seriously, after all this is a time for fun and celebration. You patience maybe tested at time as cold (sometimes almost freezing) water hits you in the face, eyes, nose, mouth.. from every imaginable angle, but don’t forget it’s all just a bit of fun!

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