Songkran (Thai new year) is a legendary multi-day water festival that happens all over Thailand. As Thailand's largest city, Bangkok naturally plays host to some exciting Songkran festivities.
We asked our local partners at Bangkok Urban Adventures to give us more local information on what it's like to be in Bangkok during Songkran.
Photo Credit: Michelle Ferreira, Intrepid Photo Competition 2006
How is Songkran celebrated in Bangkok?
Songkran Festival, also known as Thailand Water Festival, is the most important festival for Thai people. Celebrated as the traditional Thai New Year, Thai people sprinkle water on the elders to show respect. They also pay respect to images of Buddha.
Photo Credit: Danai Wongsa, Intrepid Photo Competition 2006
Songkran is a time for families to get together, much like Western Christmas, and although there are no special foods eaten during Songkran, there is a lot of general eating and drinking during the festival.
Do locals stay in Bangkok during Songkran?
There is a mass exodus out of Bangkok, as most people return to their home province. The official holiday is three days, however a lot of people take more time off work. Getting around Bangkok is a breeze, as it is one of the only times of year there are no traffic jams in the city.
What are some local traditions during Songkran?
Songkran Festival, the Water Festival, is very closely associated with water (hence the name). Originally, people gently poured water on elders and family members to give good fortune. Water was poured on their hands, to wash away any bad luck. Images of Buddha were also cleaned.
Photo Credit: Kristy Frahn, Intrepid Photo Competition 2010
Now, Songkran has evolved to splashing strangers on the streets with water, either with a water gun or a bucket, all in the spirit of good fun. Many locals also visit temples to pray for good luck in the coming year.
What is the best way for travellers to enjoy Songkran?
Get out and get WET! Make sure you keep all your valuables wrapped in plastic. Staying dry is unavoidable, so just smile, have fun, and buy yourself a big water pistol to keep up! Jump on the back of a pickup truck and join the dancing while you go around the city with newfound friends.
And hey, once you've dried off, come hang out with us! We'd love to take you around Bangkok's Chinatown and Nightmarkets or temples and Chao Phraya River, or guide you around Bangkok by bike or by tuk-tuk. It's never a dull moment in BKK!
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