Goes wild in an enormous, colorful, water fighting frenzy, and music. Streets are flooded, especially in Bangkok, with crowds dowsing each other with anything that can shoot — or dump — water.
Soaking wet, yet laughing wildly, the Thais bring in the New Year with extreme style; and crowds from all over the world flock to Bangkok to witness it in all of Songkran Water Festival glory.
Image By: Phuket@photographer.net
During the days of April 13th – 16th, 2020, the country celebrates Songkran by closing down many shops, reuniting with family and friends, visiting temples, cleaning, throwing street parties, and well, having massive water fights.
If you also want hear some top DJ’s in Songkran, see the music festival poster below.
If your into food battles then see these food fights from Spain and Italy.
Why the water?
The water acts as a symbol of purification: of washing away the worries, misfortunes, and grievances of the previous year. Simultaneously, it is “cleaning the slate” for a fresh start to the new year.
Traditionally, Thai’s gently pour a bowl of water over loved ones for this very reason; it acts as a sort of spirit bath. So, if you find yourself spraying your best friend in the head with a load of water, remind them that you are doing them a great service.
The non-traditional gentle way
Image By: Kazuhiro Nakamura
Where in Bangkok to go for the Songkran Water Festival?
Depending on your mood (and possibly your group of friends), there are various different ways you can experience Songkran — here are the top 4:
This is where you are going to want to be on the morning of April 12th; it will be across the beautiful Grand Palace. Here, the ‘Phra Buddha Sihing,’ Buddha statue, is carried along the streets to for people to worship and sprinkle perfume water upon.
If you miss the first day, though, that’s okay — the statue will be kept at Sanam Luang for the following three days. In this area, there will also be many other local merits and traditions taking place.
This is usually where the main party is: by main we mean the biggest and wildest. Completely jam-packed with beaming youth and giant splashes, this crowd stretches the length of 5 km!
What’s great about this section of the party is that you can view it from an upper level in order to try and maintain relatively dry while still experiencing the blissful chaos of it all.
The water frenzy in Silom
Image By: YANG HAI
Khoa San Road
Looking to get completely soaked in the midst of an insane party? Khoa San is your road. With a loads of alcohol and frequent DJ dance parties, visiting this street is a sure way to start off the Thai New Year with thrill.
Phra Pradaeng District
As opposed to the raging party-vibe, Phra Pradaeng District is much more traditional. Luckily, the celebration here takes place about a week later than the Bangkok parties, so you don’t have to compromise on which experience to have.
This celebration is filled with much more Songkran cultural significance — don’t worry though, you will still get splashed. Along with the splashes, however, you will also get the pleasure of experiencing Thai-Raman flag dances and ceremonies, boat races, parades, and many more.
Songkran S2o Music Festival 2020 (Cancelled)
If you thought there’s only a crazy water battle going on, well your wrong. Songkran also boasts an amazing music festival from April 11-13 in Live Park, Bangkok.
Some of the headliners in 2020 included: Dash Berlin, Don Diablo, Jonas Blue, Marlo, Zedd.
Siam Songkran Music Festival 2020 (Cancelled)
Bangkok Really does go all the way in Songkran when it comes to music. If S20 fest isn’t enough, then the mind blowing acts in Siam Songkran Festival will truly mind F you.
Afrojack, Darren Styles, Andrew Rayal, and more performers on their way will perform at Siam at Urban Yard Bangkok. See the list below:
So Why Songkran Water Festival?
So, if you are looking for a perfect combination of a cultural immersion and serious fun, the world’s largest water fight, during Sangkron in Bangkok, is absolutely the experience for you. This April, join the mass flock to Bangkok and playfully clean your slate for the new year.
Step with caution! Especially where there are tiled floors. The ground in many areas can become very slippery and it’s common for drunken and water-blinded individuals to find themselves bottoms-up in unfavorable positions and places around the city.
2# Waterproof Bags
Use waterproof bags to protect anything that can be potentially damaged — no matter what your plans are. Not planning to participate in the water fight? Use waterproof bags anyway — it may not be up to you.
3# Don’t Spray Everyone
Do not spray elderly, monks, babies, or people riding on motorcycles. Just don’t. Be respectful. That being said, perhaps try wishing others “Sawasdee Pee Mai,” which means Happy New Year in Thai.
What to Do?
Bangkok is a culturally beautiful, vast, and vibrant city. That being said, there’s a huge number of things to do, regardless of your interests.
The Famous Landmarks
If you are interested in taking in the local culture, you can check out the famous Golden Buddha, The Grand Palace, or the enormous Reclining Buddha.
If you are interested in shopping, you can check out the Siam Paragon shopping mall or the Chatuchak Market. With it’s 8,000 stalls, the Chatuchak Market is sure to have what you are looking for.
For the Adventurer
Also, if you are more of the explorer type, you can take a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River or climb to the top of the Sathorn Unique Tower for an exquisite view of the city.
Where to Stay?
Luckily, Bangkok really knows how to provide a supreme level of hospitality to its visitors.
If you are looking for a bit of luxury, the top-rated Eastin Hotel Sathorn provides breathtaking views of the city, wonderful service, top-notch quality, and an incredible infinity pool from $127 a night!
If you are traveling alone or on a budget, you can check out some of Bangkok’s many hip and happening hostels! You can stay at the top-rated party hostel, Slumber Party Bangkok, from $12.50 a night for a dorm bed.
Although Bangkok is an enormous city, it is still wise to schedule your booking ahead of time using a website like booking. Songkran brings in a ton of people and accommodations sell out quickly.
Where to Eat?
While the entire city of Bangkok is a ‘foodie paradise,’ it does the two things the very best: 1.) Thai food, 2.) street food.
The Som Tum and Pad Thai
The finding of the absolute best Thai food in the city is an impossible mission and biased mission. However, it is relatively agreed upon that the Somtum Der restaurant has the best Som Tum in the city, and Thip Samai has the best pad Thai around.
Thai Street Food
The best areas to find Grade A street food in Bangkok are Yaowarat (in Chinatown) and Ratchawat, they are both great places for both unusual (such as fried shark) and traditional cuisine (like Tom Yum soup).
If you are looking for something still delicious, yet a bit more vegan-friendly, the Broccoli Revolution is a highly recommended option for you. Broccoli Revolution is a restaurant and cold-pressed juice bar fusion, with outstanding cake, vegan burgers, and hearty tempeh.
How to Get There?
Being the vast city that Bangkok is, it has two main, international airports to fly into: Suvarnabhumi Airport (A.K.A. Bangkok Airport) and Don Mueang International Airport.
In this case, it is best to use whichever airport is cheaper from your departure city. There are many options to help you get to the city from the airport, such as cheap taxis, car rental services, and shuttle buses.
From Chiang Mai
From the State Railway of Thailand Railway station in Chiang Mai, you can take a train from Chiang Mai directly to Bangkok. The trip will take about 10 hours and 30 minutes and cost anywhere from $22 – $35.
From Chiang Mai, you can take the Bangkok bus service directly to the Bangkok Mochit bus terminal. The trip will take about 9 hours and 40 minutes and will cost about $22.
You are going to want to start out on Route 1 from Chiang Mai. From Route 1, follow until you reach 32. From Route 32, get onto Route 9. Follow Route 9 all the way down until you reach Bangkok, then get off at exit 2-09. The trip should take about 9 hours and cost anywhere from $60 – $90 in gas.
From the Transport Company bus station in Phuket, you can get a bus that goes directly to Bangkok, running once every 4 hours, from $21-$30. The trip should take about 14 hours.
From Phuket, you are going to want to start out on Route 4. Follow Route 4 to Route 415 and follow signs to Bangkok. From there, follow Route AH2 and Route 4 all the way up to Route 35.
Continue Route 35 toward Bangkok Rama 6 Road and take exit 2-09 into Bangkok. The trip should take about 11 hours and 30 minutes and cost roughly $70 – $110 in gas. As this route follows the beautiful coastline all the way up, be sure to bring your camera along!
The traditions of Songkran date back way before the huge water festival (as we know it) ever began. Traditionally, Songkran brought families together for reunions, spring cleaning, and temple visits.
During this time, they perform ceremonies such as the Rod Nam Dum Hua (on the first day), also known as the National Elderly Day. On this day, the young would show much respect to their elders and pour perfume water on their palms and ask for their advice and blessings for the up-and-coming year.
On the second day, National Family Day is celebrated. On this day, family spends the entire day visiting one another. It is also very dedicated to visiting temples and giving alms to the monks. As well, the ritual of ‘Bathing the Buddha’ is performed, where Buddhists pour perfume water over Buddha images, as well as many other merit-making ceremonies and activities.