There are a lot of things that Thailand just gets very very such as the paradise beaches found at places like Koh Kood, Phuket and Krabi or the wonderful views afforded over the jungle in Chiang Mai and the delicious foods that set your taste buds alight. But where Thailand truly excels is in it’s new year celebrations – Songkran this year starts on the 13th of April so there’s still time to book tickets!
The festival turns the streets of Thailand into a water-based battleground for what is easily the worlds largest water fight. You will be soaking wet as families perform drive by soakings from their cars, you’ll get buckets of water over your head as you head onto the street and feel the colds explosion of water-bombs on your back as you try to escape, but the best way to enjoy it is grab a water gun and join in. Thailand’s new year festivities are enjoyed anywhere from 2 days to up to a week – so check the dates of celebrations around the country – we suggest heading to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand which has some of the best celebrations in the country.
The ancient traditions associated with Songkran are of still observed too such as when the younger Thais pour scented water over the hands of their elders in a ceremony known as rod nam dum hua – in a bid to gain their blessings. Another part of the celebrations is to release birds and fish from captivity and one of the best places to see this is by heading to Phra Pradaeng in Phuket where the winner of the Miss Songkran beauty contest is given the responsibility of letting the first of the fish go free. However, celebrations happen all over the country – from Khao San Road and Banglamphu (which generally has a nice mix of performances to enjoy) in Bangkok to the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Phangan.
However we think that the best place to join in the revelry is in Chiang Mai, where in addition to the pandemonium of the water fights that are generally centred around the moats of the city, you’ll have a chance to be witness to the enthralling Songkran procession of Buddha images and floats that pass through the town as well as celebrations around all the city’s temples that include offerings of food. But for those that just want to get to the fun, or ‘sanook’, you’ll find literally thousands of people ready for the fight!