How to Plan the Ultimate Songkran Getaway
Thailand’s Wet and Wild New Year Celebration
Songkran, Thailand's most famous and celebrated festival, marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. Known for its water-splashing festivities, Songkran is an exciting and memorable time to visit Thailand.
History of Songkran
Songkran has its roots in ancient Buddhist and Brahmanical traditions. The word ‘Songkran’ comes from the Sanskrit word saṁkrānti, which means transformation or change. Originally, Songkran was a time for cleansing and purification, and the water symbolised the washing away of sins and bad luck. Today, the festival has evolved into a joyous celebration of family, community, and renewal, with water-splashing festivities taking centre stage.
Where to Celebrate
Songkran is celebrated throughout Thailand, with each region offering unique experiences. Here are some of the best places to celebrate Songkran:
Bangkok: As the capital city, Bangkok boasts massive water fights, street parties, and cultural events. Khao San Road, Silom Road, and Central World are popular spots for tourists and locals alike. You can also find a number of luxury hotels in Bangkok located close to all the activity. Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel is an example of the kind of accommodation you find here.
Chiang Mai: The northern city of Chiang Mai is known for its traditional and cultural Songkran celebrations. The Old City moat becomes a battleground for water fights, while various temples host religious ceremonies and processions.
Pattaya: For an extended Songkran celebration, head to Pattaya, where the festivities last for a week. Beach Road and Walking Street are popular party spots, with foam machines and DJs adding to the atmosphere.
Phuket: Experience Songkran on the beautiful island of Phuket, with Patong Beach being the centre of the action. Enjoy water fights, beach parties, and cultural events during your stay.
Places to Visit During the Festival
While Songkran is undoubtedly the highlight, there are plenty of other attractions to explore during your visit:
Temples: Participate in traditional Buddhist ceremonies and witness the beauty of Thai temples, like Wat Pho in Bangkok, Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, or Wat Chalong in Phuket.
Night markets: Shop for souvenirs and sample delicious Thai street food at night markets, like the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar or Patpong Night Market in Bangkok.
Beaches: If you are in a coastal region, take time to relax on Thailand's stunning beaches, like Railay Beach in Krabi or Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before you embark on your Songkran getaway, keep these things in mind:
Respect local customs: Dress modestly and be respectful when visiting temples or participating in religious ceremonies.
Stay safe: Be cautious when taking part in water fights, as roads can be slippery, and accidents can occur. Avoid using water mixed with ice or dirty water, and avoid spraying water directly into people's faces, particularly their eyes and ears.
Protect your belongings: Keep your valuables in waterproof bags, and avoid taking expensive electronics, like cameras and smartphones, into the water fight zones.
Tips for Attending the Festival
To make the most of your Songkran experience, follow these helpful tips:
Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, quick-drying clothes and waterproof footwear, as you will likely get drenched. Avoid wearing white or light-coloured clothing, as it may become see-through when wet.
Use a waterproof camera or phone case: If you want to capture the excitement, invest in a waterproof camera or a waterproof case for your phone to prevent water damage.
Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen: The heat during Songkran can be intense, so drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen regularly to protect yourself from the sun.
Be patient and embrace the chaos: Songkran can be chaotic, with crowded streets, traffic jams, and loud noise. So, you should embrace the experience and have a positive attitude to fully enjoy the festivities.
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