You haven’t seen a New Year’s celebration…until you’ve seen Songkran – Thailand’s New Year’s celebration.
While the western world celebrates New Years on December 31 at midnight, Thailand’s New Year which is called Songkran is celebrated in April 13th to 15th, the hottest time of the year. The festive days give locals an opportunity to show their respect for water, the most important element in the agricultural culture.
And you know how they show their respect? By splashing water on each other….! They believe by doing that will wash away the bad luck of the past year and bringing about a fresh start to the new year.
Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand, although the celebration in Chiangmai is generally recognized as the most authentic example, and also the most intense. So here are things you should do to enjoy the biggest water fight in Chiangmai !
1, Get ready !
Make sure you have everything prepared before the day comes and here is the list :
- Get a water gun or a bucket or whatever you can bring to ensure you can splash away the other’s bad luck. Water gun is ปืนฉีดน้ำ (bpuen-cheed-nam)
- Keep your cash and cards tucked somewhere safe in a plastic sachet and don’t even think about carrying unnecessary valuables with you before going out because nothing will be dry in the end of the day. All gun and waterproof stuff is sold all along the city, in any mall or 7/11 with variety colors and different shapes.
- It’s going to be hot and you’re going to get wet, so best to wear something light, but not skimpy or see-through and don’t forget sun protection (sun cream, sunglasses …).
2, It’s a war.
So now you got everything in order, it’s the time to get out there and get soaked.
The water fight is all over the city, you can be splashed right after 1 step out of the door but most crowded area of course is around the moat of the old city (คูเมือง kuu-mueang). Normally people will walk around the moat and shooting everything is moving on the way.
You must wonder how about the traffic ? Lots of bikes, trucks and cars are driving still, but you’d better walking than joining that flow, it’s more safe.
Then what you do next is make yourself be a child again, aim and shoot, have lots of fun !!
3, Time for pool party !
You definitely don’t want to miss the pool party in anywhere especially here !
There are few small pool parties around the city but the the most talked about pool party in town is thrown in Le Méridien Hotel in the rooftop pool. There are DJs, drinks and whatever you need to enjoy the rest of the day, it’s normally on 13th. So get wet, drink, and enjoy the incredible sunset by their infinity pool.
4, If you’re hungry…
There are plenty of street food around the old city, lots of choices. Not too far from Le Méridien Hotel there’s a modern food truck market called “Ploen Ruddee” with a wide variety from Western to Thai food etc is available. They also have live music and lots of drinks or smoothies, definitely worth a visit when you’re here.
5, Have fun and show respect.
While having good time during Songkran, you also need to be respectful to their most important religious celebration : Wear appropriate clothes, don’t shoot the monks, children or driving people. Try not to drive during these days especially after drinking, the road is wet and slippery everywhere. The week holiday period is commonly called “the 7 days of death” and of course drunk-driving is one of major factors.
Last but not least, Songkran is a great festival to have lots of fun but also a chance to see the more traditional side of Thai New Year, try to wake up early and see Thais going to the temples to make merit, you will know better about the beauty of Thailand.
Some useful Thai words and phrases for Songkran you should know :
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