Thailand’s Songkran Festival

If you are in Thailand in April, travel north to the forested foothills and Chiang Mai to take part in the world’s greatest water fight – the Songkran Festival. A destination with plenty to offer, from temples to restaurants and markets, the city comes alive as everyone takes part in a three day water fight.

Buddha statue at the Songkran Festival
Buddha statue at the Songkran Festival

In celebration of traditional Thai New Year, the normally peaceful and calm northern capital of Thailand transforms as people flood into the streets for rambunctious, boisterous and incredibly fun water fights. The origins of the festival are spiritual and is a time of reflection for Buddhists who pay their respect to beloved Lord Buddha. While Songkran is celebrated throughout Thailand, and also in Burma, Cambodia and Laos, Chiang Mai is the epicentre of the water festivities. Join in with the locals as they bring out their super soaker water pistols, water balloons and water cannons from the 13th to the 15th of April, the hottest month of the year.

Painted elephants are part of the parades during Songkran Festival
Painted elephants take part in the parades

What to expect of the Songkran Festival

As well as being soaked to the skin, it is a great time to learn about the culture and religion of Thailand. The rituals of Songkran include sprinkling scented water over statues of Buddha for good luck, then splashing this water over family members in a purification ritual to wash away sins and bad luck.

Watch the parades of elaborate floats and painted elephants make their way through the streets of the Old City and visit the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep standing proudly on the top of a surrounding mountain.

Chiang Mai’s calm and laid back vibe is a wonderful respite after the fast whirlwind pace of Bangkok and during Songkran is the perfect time to visit for an authentic Thailand cultural experience filled with both intriguing tradition and incredible amounts of fun. Join in with the friendly locals who, with years of Songkran experience, will put you to shame with their super soaker water pistol skills.

Join in with the locals in the world's greatest water fight
Join in with the locals in the world’s greatest water fight

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