The traditional Thai New Year, Songkran, is officially celebrated from 13 to 15 April in Bangkok. Depending on where you are in the country, the dates and period of festivities may vary.
Songkran, often called the ‘Water Festival’, actually holds purposeful meanings behind its water-throwing activities. It all started from the traditional practice of pouring fragrant water into the elders’ palms. While pouring the water in this manner, people utter good wishes and words of blessing for the New Year. The water symbolizes to wash off all misfortunes in the past year and welcoming so the new year with a fresh new start.
Among foreign tourists Songkran is famous for its friendly water fights all over the entire country. People will wish each other a Happy New Year (Sawadee Pee Mai!) and splash water on each other. Songkran is the best opportunity to act like a kid without being judged!
Most tourists celebrate the Thai New Year at Khaosan Road, the famous backpackers neighborhood, or Silom Road which is closed off for traffic during the Songkran festival.
If you’re outside during Songkran, you’re almost guaranteed to end up soaked but you’ll have lots of fun!
Tips to have an awesome Songkran:
- Buy a plastic waterproof bag for your phone and money. There is no mercy for anyone during Songkran so you will get wet.
- Bring a water gun with you to join the water fights. Skip aiming for the eyes and face. Do not douse babies, monks, elderly, street vendors and motorcyclists.
- Dress appropriately. It’s going to be hot and you’re going to get wet, so best to wear something light. Thai culture is conservative. Walking around in a bikini or shirtless isn’t respectful.
- Don’t forget sun protection.
- Invest in a cheap waterproof camera to save your memories of this amazing festival.
- Have fun and smile. Songkran is a time where the country gets happy. It’s hard not to smile during a water fight, and this three-day one results in a general great mood from most.
During this period Bangkok will be a little more quiet because many people usually return home to their loved ones and family members. Most offices, banks, as well as many family-run shops and local restaurants shut down completely, but the major shopping malls will be open.
And… Recreational Bangkok Biking is also open during Songkran and all our tours in Bangkok, and at our other branches in Thailand, are operated as usual. So why not join us for a (half day) fun cycling adventure!