Saturday, April 4, 2015

9 Tips To Enjoy & Survive Songkran

Songkran 2014
Last year on my honeymoon, I had the pleasure of attending Songkran. Songkran is part of Thailand's New Year Celebrations, and can last anywhere between one day and one week. Traditionally, Songkran is about worshipping Buddha and wishing good karma for the new year. This good karma is achieved by washing Buddha images, visiting temples, cleaning the house, and cleansing your spirit with water. In parts of Thailand, this means the world's largest water fight! If you plan on attending Songkran (and you should!) here are some tips to making the most of this awesome event!

1. Research when Songkran occurs where you will be. The Thai New Year is traditionally celebrated April 13-15. However, in different parts of Thailand, Songkran celebrations can last anywhere between one day and one week, with little mercy for anybody out on the streets. Research when Songkran will be occurring, and make sure that on the dates you will be around Songkran celebrations that you are ready to participate!

2. Book & arrive early. Now that you know when Songkran will be celebrated, make sure you book your accommodations and arrive early. After all, if Songkran will be celebrated in your destination on April 13, you don't want to arrive that day and have yourself and all your luggage get drenched. Try to arrive a day or two early, as this will give you time to get settled in. The Thai New Year is a very busy time for tourists in Thailand, so make sure you book your accommodations early to ensure that you have a great place to stay. In Koh Samui, Nick and I found that Songkran was really only celebrated on April 13- but, some people did start the celebrations a little bit early on the 12th and carried through to the 14th.

Nick and I were prepared the night before with our squirt guns
3. Protect yourself. A day or two before the celebrations begin, purchase yourself a squirt gun or bucket. You won't want to hit the streets unarmed, so it is best to do this in advance! If you have fair skin, put on a layer or two of waterproof sunscreen.

4. Protect your valuables, or be safe and leave them at home. If you absolutely must bring valuables- i.e., cell phone and camera with you- take steps to waterproof them. And then add more protection. I cannot stress enough the fact that you will be soaked the entire time you are out and about, and this includes anything you bring with you. If you want to be completely safe, leave any and all valuables at home- this guarantees they will not get wet and ruined.

5. Make friends. Your going to constantly be refilling your squirt gun/bucket, so make friends with those that have hoses. My personal tip is to make friends with people that have an ice supply as well- the cold water provides a much better shock factor when you are drenching people!

6. Dress the part. In case you haven't figured it out yet, you will get wet. And stay wet, likely all day. I would advise you to wear a swimsuit underneath a light, breathable sundress or shirt and shorts. Materials that can dry quickly will also be quite nice, especially when you take breaks to get a bite to eat or something to drink. Avoid ponchos and umbrellas, as these will make you even more of a target.

7. Relax. This is a fun event, both for the locals and the tourists. In addition to the water splashing, be prepared for white powder to be smeared on your face/arms. Respectful people will ask first, others may just go ahead and do this. The white powder is a part of the celebration and paying respects to elders. Some colored powder (while not traditional) may be used as well- so don't wear clothes that you don't want to get ruined!

8. Don't drive. This one is specifically to tourists. I would advise against driving a car or renting a motorbike during songkran- cars and motorbikes tend to get soaked, and the drivers often have buckets of water thrown at them while they are in motion. As such, driving in Thailand can be quite dangerous during this celebrations. Stick to walking, taxis, or tuk-tuk rides to be safe.

9. Don't want to get wet? Don't go. This one may seem a little bit harsh, and I apologize for that. But if you don't want to get wet, do not go to Thailand during Songkran. Between the locals celebrating and the tourists celebrating, there is a 100% chance that you will get wet during Songkran. You can try to avoid this by wearing ponchos, but this will just make you more of a target. You can try to avoid this by avoiding the main roads, but people will be headed to the main roads for celebrations. If you don't want to get wet, the only way to guarantee you won't is by not visiting Thailand during this celebration.

For those of you who've been to Songkran, what helped you to enjoy the day? If you haven't been to Songkran, when are you planning on attending this awesome party?!


  1. This looks like so much fun! I have no idea when we will ever make it to Songkran, but I love these pictures and reading about it. Thank you for sharing!

    Stopping by from Sharefest!

    1. Thanks Jen! It was so much fun last year. Who doesn't love a good water fight?!

  2. This sounds like a really great travel experience and something really positive - what isn't great about karma?! I had no idea about Songkran so thanks for sharing :)
    - Marcella

    1. Thanks Marcella! I loved our experience with Songkran- so fun!

  3. Sounds like such a unique time to be there! I have to be honest that festivals like La Tomatina don't interest me so much but a giant water fight is something I could get behind, especially in a country with a tropical climate.

    1. I can agree with that- who wants to get messy?! However, in tropical places like Thailand- especially in April, the hottest month- the water was definitely welcomed!

  4. This sounds amazing! I can't believe I had never heard about this! Sounds like my kind of festival! :) And I love your last point - so true, I mean people can't complain if they show up to a water festival thing and get soaked! :)

    1. Thanks, Camila! So many people seemed to get frustrated when they got wet…and it was just like, really? You are at a water festival, what do you expect?!


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