Did you know that Songkran festival is celebrated so massively that it puts Thailand as one of the world’s most happening countries in the map? Celebrated during Thai summer from 13th April until 15th April, Songkran festival is refreshing, exciting and definitely an event everyone has to experience, at least once in a lifetime.
Yes we all know that water is essence for life, and you should also know that it is an important element for Songkran too. Pouring and throwing of water has become a huge part of this celebration, so don’t be surprised if you get splashed on randomly during this 3 days celebration. You will see crowds of people roaming around throwing buckets of water, using water guns and water bombs to soak everyone in the vicinity. If you want to be part of this refreshing and meaningful celebration, here are 6 recommended hot spots for you to join in the fun:
Silom in Bangkok
Silom is Bangkok’s business area and it is known for its large and wild crowd in Bangkok, mainly because it takes up at least 5km length of this street. Packed with thousands of people with water guns shooting at each other, the highlight of this area is to spot the fire trucks ambushed at each intersection with their huge water hoses spraying at the crowd. Also there is an alternative for those who want to experience Songkran but stay dry by staying on the BTS Sky Walk that runs above the street.
Khao San Road
This area is known as the happening tourists spot! Unlike at Silom street, once you’re in the battlefield, there is no escape in getting soaked wet. The surrounding of Khao San Road is usually pumped up with loud music as there are waterproof shacks set up with bars and DJs along the road. Those who enjoy water fights and partying hard at the same time should definitely experience the celebration here!
Taking place in the Wisutkasat area during Songkran festival is the Miss Songkran Beauty Pageant contest. This event is held every year during Songkran where these beautiful local women will be judged by the audience. Just like every other beauty pageant contests, these women are judged not only by their outer beauty but also their unique talents which they must display to impress the audience. The pageant is traditionally accompanied by a parade and merit-making ceremony. An event certainly worth to check out if you are in town during Songkran!
If you want to experience a more traditional Songkran celebration, you should certainly check out Phra Pradaeng district which is located on the outskirts of Bangkok. Celebrated a week after the Thai New Year, the locals in Phra Pradaeng will not only splash water at each other, but they will also put together folk dances, parades, Thai-Raman flag ceremony, fireworks and other array of cultural activities to celebrate the New Year.
In Chiang Mai, Songkran is celebrated for 4 days instead of the usual 3-day celebration. With the first two days dedicated for traditional and spiritual activities and spending quality time with the family. On the first day, the locals will organise a parade of Buddha images and floats that start at Narawat Bridge and end at Wat Prasingh. On the second day, they will head to Mae Ping River at dusk to gather sand from the river banks to take to temples. The sand is then piled together and topped with flowers. This practice is known as “raising the temple grounds”, a ritual that is done at the end of the rainy season, which coincides with the end of the old Thai Lunar Calendar. Finally the two remaining days will be spent having fun and devoting to `sanuk’ (to have a good time). Foreigners even claimed that this city is the best place to experience the celebration.
If you are an animal lover and would want to get water sprayed on by elephants, head down to Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage and home to one of Thailand’s most popular elephant camps. Experience a unique kind of Songkran celebration where colourfully painted elephants will join in the water fight by spraying people with water from huge barrels of water. It became a tradition for elephants to spray water at whoever who passes them by to mark the country’s New Year celebration and to get rid of bad luck and bring in good fortune.
So if you’re planning to celebrate Songkran in Thailand, just enjoy the celebration and have fun. With that, Thai Odyssey would like to wish all Thai people `sawasdee pee mai!’