You don’t have to spend much time in Thailand to figure out one thing: the Thai people love to have fun. They look forward to any upcoming opportunity to have a party, and if there isn’t one, then they’ll just have a party anyway!
This innate desire to have fun in big groups, combined with their adherence to Buddhism, has birthed most of the significant festivals on the Thai calendar. Without a doubt, the biggest of the bunch is Songkran.
Songkran is the Thai New Year festival. It begins on April 13th every year, and runs until the end of the 15th. It’s better known to foreigners as ‘The Water Festival’, for a very good reason. Historically, water was central to Songkran because it represented washing away the sins of the past year.
These important religious elements still remain, but nowadays, to most people at least, Songkran has effectively become the world’s biggest water fight. When it rolls around each year, whole areas of major cities are closed off to traffic, and these zones become arenas for the water fights. Young or old, Thai or foreign; it doesn’t matter. Everybody dumps, throws and squirts water on everybody else, using whatever method they desire, in a wet and wild explosion of fun and celebration.
As you might expect, the biggest celebrations take place in Bangkok; Silom and Khaosan Road tend to be the two centers. Chiang Mai also puts on a good showing, particularly in the old city area. These are the best places to go if you want to see Songkran at its biggest and craziest, but the reality is that – wherever you are in the country – you’re going to have an unforgettable time.
If your schedule allows, and you possibly can do, there’s no better time to come to Thailand than Songkran.