Best Spots in Thailand to Celebrate Songkran 2018

Best Spots in Thailand to Celebrate Songkran 2018

Thinking of celebrating Songkran this year? We’ve got you covered.

April is finally here! That’s music to the ears of the Thais who celebrate the annual Thai New Year, Songkran, which is from 13-15 April this year. Naturally, Songkran is a big deal – it’s not only an important traditional Thai festival, but also the largest water festival in the country.

If you’re lucky enough to be in town during Songkran, you’ll most likely witness, and even experience the festivities of Songkran firsthand. Locals will be splashing water on everyone – their family members, friends, neighbours, as an act of washing one’s sins and bad luck away. While the the festival is most known for getting everyone completely soaked, many Thais also visit temples where they offer food to Buddhist monks, pour water on Buddha statues and pay respect to their ancestors.

Otherwise, Songkran is essentially a huge water fight. Streets in the city are literally closed to be used as arenas, and everyone’s armed with water guns. Not a single soul will be dry from head to toe. In case you forgot, it also gets hot and humid in Thailand – so there’s really no reason not to hit the streets and cool off with some wet and wild fun!

If you’re all ready to be drenched with a water gun in hand, read on to find out the best spots to celebrate and experience Songkran 2018 this April.

Khao San Road, Bangkok

Image credit: (left) fabulousfabs, (right) Electrostatico

Khao San Road may sound familiar to backpackers and budget travellers out there, because that’s exactly what the district is catered to. But during Songkran, Khao San turns into a huge water carnival! Shop owners along the streets will be selling water guns, offering barrels of water for refills, and even dunking buckets of water on unsuspecting tourists.

The entire scene is a lively, wet mess, and that’s only if you’re there during the daytime! If you’re going at night, many bars and pubs will be open by then and you can only imagine the kind of drunken madness that takes place…

Patong Beach, Phuket

songkran thailand 2018

Image credit: (left) xai.tian, (right) [email protected]

Patong Beach is arguably Phuket’s most popular beach and one of the island’s hottest spots. On any other day, the beach is a fantastic destination for water sports, sunbathing in, or just taking a stroll. But during Songkran, it’s a different story – locals make their way to the beach and engage in total water chaos.

The water fights usually start off mild and gentle in the morning then turns into a full-fledged water war by night time. Patong’s seaside weather coupled with the infamous Bangla Road’s happening nightlife, makes the place a must-visit if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience of Songkran.

Chiang Mai

songkran thailand 2018

Image credit: Ben Reeves

Chiang Mai celebrates Songkran in a slightly more entertaining affair. Besides the water splashing, the ancient city hosts a series of cultural celebrations, performances, and a parade – perfect for those interested in learning more about Thai culture.

The parade which begins at Narawat Bridge, features images of the Buddha from important monasteries. As it moves along Thapae Road and into the Old City, enjoy spectacular floats and join locals in throwing water on the images and even statues. When night falls, put down your water guns and watch as Thai beauties compete in the Miss Songkran Beauty Pageant, donning the most elegant traditional costumes.


songkran thailand 2018

Image credit: (left) James Antrobus, (right) JJ Harrison

Ayutthaya is another ancient city worth celebrating Songkran in. From getting sprayed at by a painted elephant to bathing Buddha statues with water from a bamboo gutter, the ethnic Mon people welcome the new year with unique traditions which offer a different Songkran experience altogether.

Those looking to discover Songkran without getting wet can enjoy other activities such as: offering food to monks at the majestic Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit temple and releasing of birds and fish into the wild (as a way of making merit). Otherwise, get your water guns and make your way to the front of the city hall for a water gun battle.

Hat Yai

Image credit: John Ragai (left), Fisher (right)

Hat Yai may be known for its floating markets and its proximity to the Malaysian border, but when it comes to celebrating Songkran, it beats all other cities in Thailand for just how long its water splashing mania goes on. To answer your question: it goes on till midnight!

All the fun and games typically stop after dinner time, but in Hat Yai, locals, along with Malaysians who cross the border to join the fun, are entertained throughout the night. Free concerts and performances are held until the clock strikes twelve, and everyone’s hurling water at each other to literally welcome the new year. If you do find yourself in Hat Yai, make sure to head down to Nipat Uthit 3, Sanehanusorn and Thammanoon Vithi, where all the action’s at.

These are the five best spots to ring in Songkran (and in five unique ways!). There are several other popular destinations in Thailand such as Koh Samui and Pattaya, so don’t fret about trip planning as you’re pretty much spoiled for choice.

Also, here’s a friendly reminder that Songkran is after all, an important occasion to the Thais, and even if it seems to be all about water splashing, it’s still a spiritual holiday. Here are a few things to take note:

  1. It’s all fun and games, so don’t take anything too personally.
  2. Never throw water at monks, or the elderly.
  3. Dress appropriately. Avoid white clothing!
  4. Bring a waterproof case for your belongings.
  5. Don’t throw water at motorcyclists – it’s dangerous!

And that’s it! You’re pretty much all set. Have loads of fun and remember to say sawadee bee mai (Happy New Year)!

About Author

Teri Anne Tan

If she's not binging on Korean BBQ on a night out with her friends, Teri Anne is most probably at home rewatching Studio Ghibli films or planning her next trip abroad. She loves reading, indulging in clothing hauls, and listening to hits from both K-pop and '80s British Rock. Her ultimate dream? To enjoy a mug of hot chocolate under the Northern Lights in Iceland.


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