Songkran Water Festival

Sawasdee Pee Mai, Suk San Wan Songkran, Happy Thai New Year. It’s second day of Songkran and I’m staying at the hotel. I’m very tired and sleepy. We went to Silom Road and Khao San Road yesterday to celebrate. I plan to go Central World today but my body is quite painful now, from head to toe. Not caused by the festival, it’s because I walked too much the day before. I went to many places especially temples (Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Saket) to see the traditional side of Songkran celebration. Traditionally, Thai people celebrate Songkran by visiting temples and splashing water on each other as a wish for a year filled with good luck. Over the years, it has evolved into a nationwide water fight and a fantastic reason to party. Expect thousands of people on every street on Songkran day. Most Thai wear Pink on the day.

Songkran in Bangkok

Songkran Water Festival

The Songkran Festival also known as “Thai New Year” falls in the hottest time of the year in Thailand. The date was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed on 13 to 15 April every year in Bangkok. My friend who is a Thai told me that Songkran Festival at Pattaya will be held on 17 to 20 April. Depending on where you are in the country, the dates and period of festivities may vary. You have to check it before you travel.

Silom

Songkran Water Festival Silom

Songkran Water Festival Silom


Most shops are closed for the three days of Songkran and everyone heads to the streets with buckets, water guns and hoses. Where to celebrate Songkran? Silom Road and Khao San Road have some of the biggest street parties and should not be missed if you don’t mind getting wet. I prefer to go Silom though my brother told me it’s very dangerous there. As long as you don’t go into the crowd, and don’t go to the middle of the street, then I’m very sure that you’ll have lots of fun there. If you don’t want to get wet, you can enjoy the party by staying on the BTS (Sala Daeng). One of the most amazing things is that there are rows of stalls selling foods such as fried noodles, banana pancakes, beer, etc. when water is spraying around. Can those foods be eaten? Fire fighters joined the party too! You can actually throw water on them if you don’t mind they shoot you with the high pressure hoses.

Khao San

Songkran Water Festival Khao San


I went Khao San a day before the New Year. Want to go Wat Saket (The Golden Mount). Didn’t expect that people there already playing water around and I was wearing jeans and sport shoes! I took the video on that day and I thought it was fun to join the party on first day of New Year at Khao San there but it’s actually much more dangerous. Is it because that we went there at night? There were too many people and we could hardly move and breathe in the crowd. My sister lost her slipper there. In my opinion, if you would like to have fun, you should go Silom. If you like beer and clubbing, then you should go Khao San.

Songkran Tips

Songkran Water Festival Water Gun and WaterProof Bag

Songkran Wet Powder

Here are some tips for you before you get wet.

1. Fight with clean water. If you’re going to Silom or Khao San, make sure you fill your ‘weapon’ before you go. Take note that you’re not allowed to have water filled in your ‘weapon’ in the train. There aren’t many ‘free water’ along the road, you have to buy water there, cheapest is 5 Baht for one small bottle. Some people sell 10 Baht for one and some three for 20 Baht. Most are ice-cold water. You can fight with water pistols, huge water guns, water buckets (big or small), plastic cups (avoid glass) and even garden hoses. My water gun is useless. I got it at China Town, 250 Baht. You can get it at Big C, selling quite cheap. Buy a good one if you are serious in the water fighting! Most people on the streets are fair game, but try not to shoot passersby in the eyes, as this is considered dangerous and irritating.

2. Go during the day, better between 12 pm and 6 pm. It’s more fun to get wet under the hot sun. Ladies, do not wear white, and better wear swimwear underneath. Basically, dress as if you’re going to the beach. Thick fabrics such as jeans will get really heavy and uncomfortable. Do not carry too many things. I took only money and hand phone. And I put everything in a waterproof bag. Hang the bag on your neck and hide it inside your shirt or buttoned pocket if possible. Carry a small towel. It comes in handy when the splashing is over.

4. People will apply wet powder to your face. It stays with you as a little “blessing,” even after your clothes have dried. I did some research on the net. They recommended wearing swimming goggles as sometimes the powder and water is not clean can lead to irritation and infections. With that idea in mind, I wore sun glasses to the battle field. I thought I was smart but people purposely applied the wet powder on my glasses. The wet powder stuck on my glasses and blocked my vision. And it’s hard to remove it. In conclusion, you don’t have to wear glasses or goggles.

5. Don’t just simply throw water at each other. Spot those who are already wet, with powder on face or body, or with ‘weapon’. Don’t douse monks, babies or the elderly. Try to take Tuk Tuk home if you’re staying around. The train is quite cold if you are wet. We took Tuk Tuk at Silom to Khao San, only 200 Baht. Along our way to Khao San, some people threw us a big bucket of cold water; some sprayed us with water hoses mostly because they saw us wet and holding water guns. We had water fights between Tuk Tuk too; we sprayed each other water especially while waiting for the traffic light. Pity the Tuk Tuk driver, he got really wet fetching us and he said the water was really cold! That’s really something that I couldn’t forget in my life time. It’s really fun! However, don’t throw water at motorcyclists, to prevent road accidents.

Happy New Year in Thai

I’ve learned how to say Happy New Year in Thai on the internet. You can say either “Sawasdee Pee Mai” or “Suk San Wan Pee Mai”. Most people say “Suk San Wan Songkran” meaning “Happy Songkran Day” but I found this hard to pronounce. I said “Sawasdee Pee Mai” to an old lady and she was very happy. I realise the real meaning behind the splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes in the past year, thus welcoming the New Year with a fresh new start. There were more than 100 pair of hands applied wet powder on my face yesterday. Thanks for their blessing. I hope all the bad things in the past year will be washed away with the water splashed on me. Smile and have fun on Songkran Day!

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