Songkran is the world-famous Thai Water Festival that’s held every mid-April. It marks the New Year in the Thai Calendar and attracts tens of thousands of tourists to come to Thailand every year. If you’re looking to experience this year’s Songkran Festival yourself, here are seven questions that you may be asking as well as their answers:
- When does the Songkran Festival take place?
Songkran Festival starts on the 13th of April, lasting all the way through the 15th. In some years, the celebration doesn’t stop until the end of the week, but the peak is typically the last official day of the festival.
- How is Songkran celebrated in Thailand?
People usually go back to their hometowns to visit their family during this time. The roads outbound from the capital city are packed during the beginning of the celebration, as many people in Bangkok are originally from other parts of the country. Most people will take a day or two to go to Buddhist temples to pray for good fortune for the year. There’s also a tradition of mixing a baby powder with water to make a white paste that will then be applied to the face of passersby. You can expect to see tons of parties and water trucks running around splashing water everywhere on the road, so be sure to look out for them if you’re planning to drive during Songkran.
- What is Wan Nao?
Wan Nao takes place on the 14th. This is the day when many Buddhists will gather to pray throughout the night for good fortune for the year to come. Many also engage in the tradition of building a small sand temple or “chedis” for good luck as well.
- When is the Thai New Year’s Day?
April 15th is the official New Year’s Day according to the old Thai calendar, which is why the main attractions are usually on the night of this day. In the morning, there will be a major prayer session held at every temple in the country and offerings will be given to the monks everywhere.
- How is Songkran celebrated in Bangkok?
Bangkok is the centre of all Songkran festivities, so you can expect to see everything from the craziest parties and the grandest events to the biggest gathering of the Buddhist crowds. The largest religious gatherings will be held in the morning of the 15th at Wat Pho (pronounced wad-po), which is one of the country’s most important temples. If you want to see how the locals celebrate Songkran, Wat Pho is the best location to do so. On the other hand, if you’re looking to experience the best parties, Khao Sarn Road or RCA is where you should be headed.
- Is Songkran celebrated in other parts of the country?
Songkran is a national holiday, so there will be parties and celebrations held all throughout Thailand. The festivities in Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya, in particular, are some of the best places to enjoy Songkran outside of Bangkok. If you go to Chiang Mai, you can expect to see most of the action gathering around the Old Town area. Since Chiang Mai is a historic city, there will be many temples hosting a Songkran prayer session in the morning. The same also applies to Phuket, as it has a similar culture as that of Chiang Mai’s. Bangla Road, Patong and Saphan Hin Park are the best places to enjoy the water festival action. Pattaya is a town where there’s only one main strip, so you will be able to experience water fights practically everywhere.
- Can foreigners participate in the Songkran Festival?
Yes, they can! Thai people are known for their welcoming nature and it has always been a part of their culture. If you dress for the occasion and come with the right mindset, you can fit in right away! Keep in mind that you need to be respectful of the people and culture, as that is to be expected when you travel anywhere in the world.
If you’re looking to book a hotel for your Songkran, we provide a central location to get in on the action. Book today!