Traditional Thai New Year, or better known as Songkran Festival is celebrated in the most fun way not only by the Thais, but also people from all around the world. How big is the 3-day celebration? An estimated 1 million travelers, both domestic and international, are expected to pass through the country’s six main airports operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT). As you know, most of the professional therapists in Thai Odyssey are originally from The Land of Smile, we have collected all the information you might be interested or needed regarding the largest water festival in the world. Let’s splash it!
But first of all, let’s practice your Thai a little. Since this is the New Year they are celebrating, why not we learn a phrase or two to wish them a great year ahead? C’mon, let’s get into the holiday spirit! Repeat after me: “sah-wah-dee pee mai”, it means “Happy New Year”. However, nowadays you’ll be more likely to hear this “suke sahn wahn song kran”, which means “Happy Songkran Day”.
The background of Songkran festival is far more religious. The word “Songkran” stemmed from the Sanskrit “Sankranta”, which means “a move or a change”, literally. Water is the main element of this holy festival, to wash-down the negative beliefs and actions, plus bringing good luck and prosperity in the New Year. However, the water fiesta which was once all about fresh starts, has evolved to a fun, refreshing and a must-join yearly water fight. Splashing water at one another has become the no.1 attraction of the festive season. Besides, it’s the greatest way to temporarily run away from the burning heat without anyone thinking that you’re insane. After all, April is the hottest month of the year in the exotic land.
Gear Up For The Festivities
This is war! If you wished to come home alive, you have to be ready. Did I just sound so serious? Anyway, since this is the water war of the world, wouldn’t it be great if you equipped yourself with some practical tools? Water guns, water cannons, water balloons, buckets, traditionally fragranced powder and even a truck that fetches the “attackers”, you name it. Imagine that, from children to adults, everyone is fully equipped for the festivities. It’s a water, water, water world, only it’s not a theme park but a kingdom. Therefore, be prepared, form a team with friends and drench yourselves in the fun.
Songkran Major Hot Spots
Bangkok – As the city that never sleeps, is surprisingly less happening during this festive season. The main reason being most of the locals have gone home to celebrate this national holiday with their families. Still, you’ll find the water fights happening in few places including: various spots around Banglamphu, Rattanakosin Royal Square, Phra Athit Road, Santhichaiprakan, Wisut Krasat, Khao San Road and Silom.
Chiang Mai – The largest and one of the most culturally significant city in Thailand, is well known for arguably the most fascinating Songkran celebration in Siam nation. The celebration goes on almost anywhere, as long as a week.
Pattaya – No stranger to tourists and expatriates, this is an island surrounded by rice crops. Thus, Songkran festival isn’t as simple as a New Year celebration but also the time of the year to look for a rain god. Plus, parade and cultural events also take place at the same time. Swim wear is a must-have item!
Phuket – The largest island in Thailand, is another hot spot during Songkran festival. Water guns, water cannons, buckets and barrels full of water can be seen anywhere. If you are interested, you can always join the Thai New Year merit-making ceremony in the community.
Khon Kaen – The home of “Sticky Rice”, is one of the four major cities in Isan province, Thailand. Over the years, Khon Kaen has up its game in celebrating the Thai New Year. If you’ve experienced Songkran festival in the above said locations, this would be another option to fulfill your enjoyment.
Be Waterproof – Of course not you, I am talking about your gadgets and valuables! It’s advised not to bring your valuables such as jewelry and timepiece with you or you’ll be busy protecting them than yourself. As for other must-brings including phones, cash and wallet, a waterproof bag will do. For girls who wears makeup, be sure you’re wearing a waterproof mascara.
Dress Right – Since you know this is a water fight, I am sure you understand shirt and slacks, gown and heels are crossed in the checklist. Guys are simple, a T-shirt, shorts and a pair of flip-flips, you are good to go. For the ladies, make sure you avoid see-through clothes.
Be Polite – Don’t try to splash the locals with water if they expressed their unwillingness of getting drenched. As much as we want to have fun, we should remain respectful and only target those who are in the game. If you do not want to take part, smile and say “mai len kha” (female) or “mai len krup” (male), or just wave your hand and shake your head with a smile.
No Tuk-tuk – Only if you have quenched enough for a day and wish to go back to your hotel room. Make sure you’re off the big roads and say no to open-air transportation. A taxi is your solution. And don’t worry about your well-drenched body and clothes, the drivers are more than happy to send you to your destination.
Have I Missed The Fun?
Well, sorry to say that you have missed it. Nevertheless, don’t be disappointed as this event will be held annually. So mark your calendar and join in the fun next year! In the capital of Thailand, the nationwide water war lasted 3 days, from April 13 to April 15. Moreover, if you wish to prolong the festivities, heading to Chiang Mai is a great idea because the locals celebrate this national holiday up to a week.
There is always fun to visit Thailand. The delicious food, friendly locals, cultures and affordability and many more reasons for us to visit the country again and again. And if you can’t be there as often as you want to experience the Thai culture, you can always visit us at Thai Odyssey for a traditional Thai spa time served by our professional therapists.
Moreover, either you are looking for our nearest outlet or interested in our price packages available, you can always visit our website at www.thaiodyssey.com. Or better yet, stay in touch with us through www.facebook.com/thaiodyssey.