Things To Know About Songkran
Referenced by many as "the world's largest water fight", the festival of Songkran is one not to miss out on! If you enjoy getting soaked by water guns, hoses or buckets full of water at pretty much every street corner, this is the event for you.
What is Songkran
The so-called "Thai Water Festival" is taking place every year starting from April 13th and marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. Although typically celebrated for 3 days only, in some places the festivities last for much longer.
While water rituals have always been an important aspect of Songkran, people later also began to splash each other in a more playful manner. Only over the more recent years though has it evolved into a whole new level. The result is a country-wide water fight celebrated by millions. With its many parties, live music, dancing, drinking and delicious street food, it is dearly loved by the majority of Thai people. Unsurprisingly, it is also a huge attraction for many tourists to visit Thailand during the hottest month of the year with temperatures up to 40°C.
Besides the water, people also drench each other with white chalk. This symbolizes the traditional way chalk markings are used by monks to preserve the blessings.
10 useful tips for Songkran
- stay inside if you are not willing to get thoroughly soaked!
- wear light and comfortable clothes and leave your fancy outfits for another occasion
- leave your camera, passport and other valuables at your hotel or use a waterproof pouch
- wear sunglasses or even goggles to protect your eyes from water and the white chalk paste which stings a lot
- choose walking instead of riding a motorbike, as it is easy to have an accident in case you get hosed down by surprise
- wear any colour but white, unless you intend to go for the see-through look and want to show off your fancy new knickers
- never throw water at monks as it would be considered a sign of great disrespect
- visit a temple, if you need a party break and want to experience the traditional side of Songkran
- if you get a mouthful of water, spit it out, as you have no idea where it's coming from
- remember and use the phrase “sawadee bpee mai” to wish everyone a “Happy New Year!”
Interesting facts about Songkran
Songkran derives from the Sanskrit language and means “passing on” or “moving into”.
The first day of the festival is called Songkran Day. Thai people are busy cleaning their houses to prepare themselves for the beginning of the New Year.
Traditionally, Buddhists pour scented water over the hands of monks. The poured water is collected and taken home to sprinkle it over the hands of older relatives to bless them and wish them well.
Wan Nao is the celebration of the Thai New Year’s Eve (April 14th). On this day, many Buddhists go to their temples to build sand pagodas which are then beautifully decorated. The sand is a welcome donation for the temples, as it is later used to elevate the temple grounds which usually get flooded during raining season.
Where to go for Songkran
Pattaya is known for being a party city, so it comes as no surprise, that it makes use of Songkran to party harder and longer than anywhere else in Thailand. While in most parts of Thailand Songkran is celebrated from April 13th to 15th, festivities in Pattaya go on for much longer (usually 11th to 19th). This extension is known as Wan Tai Festival.
During this week, over half a million people travel to Pattaya from all over the kingdom. The most impressive water battles are taking place in South Pattaya. Beach road is closed off to traffic and there are stages with live music performances, foam parties and food stalls set up all along the way. Engines of the fire department are also parked there, filling up countless water butts for people to reload their water weapons of choice.
Like in many other cities across Thailand, there is also a Miss Songkran beauty pageant. The special thing about Pattaya is, that even ladyboys are allowed to join the contest and fight for the proverbial crown.
Songkran at Kombat Group
Kombat Group is actually a perfect place to stay at during Songkran, as it is far enough from the action to be able to escape it all when you prefer peace and quietude, but still close enough to Pattaya City to join in on all the major fun anytime you feel like it.
All training classes take place as usual with the exception being April 19th, when everyone gets a day off and many resort guests, coaches and staff go out together to celebrate.