What is Songkran?
Traditional Thai New Year
Thailand’s most popular festival is Songkran. This water festival, a significant event in the Buddhist calendar, marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. A Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’ comes from the name Songkran.
Where to celebrate:
The Bangkok Songkran Splendours Festival, which takes place in the capital from 13th to 15th April. The formal opening ceremony takes place at Wat Pho, one of Thailand’s most important Buddhist temples, where the spectacular reclining Buddha is gold-plated. On and around Khao San Road, which is one of the world’s most common streets for backpackers, many more celebrations are held.
Chiang Mai is the location of one of the largest Songkran celebrations in the world. Slightly earlier, on 12 April, the festival here kicks off with an eye-catching procession around the city. In northern Thailand, street food, cultural festivals and traditional performances remain a significant part of Songkran. Of course, the customary water throwing is also there.
Thailand’s largest island, especially in the Patong Beach area, is buzzing with activity during Songkran. Expect gridlocked streets full of pickup trucks that throw water at locals as well as visitors. The Songkran celebrations continue well into the early hours along Bangla Lane, which is where you’ll find the most vibrant night spots in Patong. In Phuket City, Saphan Hin Park is the main focus of the festivities. These fun events include live music and traditional performances.