Want to enjoy Songkran with your possessions, health and senses all still intact? Then keep reading as we give you top tips to ensure you enjoy your water-blasting festivities with no casualties!
When Is Songkran Celebrated?
Songkran, the celebration of the Thai New Year is celebrated every year on April 13 to 15. Celebrations run from April 12 to 14 on Phuket but the rest of Thailand celebrates Songkran until the end of April 15. Fortunately for the water-soaked participants, Songkran occurs on the hottest time of year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season.
What to Expect at Songkran
Water fights are the main attraction for festival-goers so expect massive water fights on the street for days and nights on end. Thais stalk the streets armed with buckets of water or water guns (sometimes mixed with methylated talc) and blast residents. Or they stand their ground on road sides holding garden hoses and soak each other and passers-by.
The Best Place to Party
The wildest party experience will be found on Bangla Road, on Patong Beach in Phuket. Pubs and bars line the streets to serve whatever alcohol you desire and thousands of people spray anyone who crosses their path. No one is spared!
Top 10 Songkran Survival Tips
- Leave your watch, expensive sunnies, phone, camera and any other electronic accessories at the hotel. You’re guaranteed to be soaked to the bone.
- Dress in clothes you don’t mind getting wet and probably a bit dirty. Go with board shorts/swimsuit and a t-shirt.
- Arm yourself: ice-water can be bought just about everywhere for 10 Baht (approximately 30 AUS cents). Buy some and fill up your water gun. It is absolutely worth it! Ice water cuts through even the thickest t-shirt and you’ll love it every time you shoot someone with the stuff.
- Carry enough cash with you to last a day and night (around 2,000 to 3,000 Baht would do fine). You’ll be a sitting duck standing at the ATM machine otherwise, getting water-blasted while keying in your PIN!
- Don’t be ripped off: be sure you bargain with the street vendors over the price of water guns. Their starting price is usually 30 to 40 per cent more than what they’d usually sell it for. Around 300 to 600 Baht (AUS $10 to $20) will land you a decent water pistol. Some are so powerful; they will fire half a litre up to 15 metres in one blast.
- Drink smart: Buy your drinks on the street or try to get served standing just outside the pubs or bars. You will absolutely freeze from the air conditioning inside these pubs/bars otherwise.
- Pubs reward good customers: if you or your group hang outside the same pub long enough, the bar staff will often bring you free ice water to reload your weapons with, as long as you keep ordering drinks.
- Get vaccinated: Before travelling to Thailand, it’s a good idea to get immunised against tetanus and malaria. Thai water isn’t the cleanest and during Songkran, dirty water from fountains or from the side of streets is often used in water pistols (so someone could literally be spraying tetanus fluid at you). If you cut yourself or swallow this contaminated water, the injection will be well worth it.
- Be careful around the fuzz: It’s a good idea to ask permission before soaking an on-duty police officer. Most will be fine with it, but it doesn’t hurt to check, especially considering that you’re a foreigner.
- Unless you want the city population seeing your anatomy, wear anything except white!
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