For those coming late to Songkran and who may not really know what the event is about, it can be hard to summarize.
The Thai festival is a New Year’s celebration and for us westerners it can be viewed as a holiday similar to April Fool’s (and not just because it occurs within the month of April). Over three days the country teems with people all having fun and splashing anyone within arm’s reach with buckets of water and Super Soakers.
What to Expect When You Party at Songkran
Songkran is a major national holiday and an international draw-card that should be on any traveller’s bucket list. If you’re going to be spending any time in the country over the weekend from the 13th to the 15th of April in 2017, you’ll most likely find yourself amongst the festivities whether you like it or not.
Different regions in Thailand will celebrate the New Year in different ways and many of the outlying areas still tend to observe the traditional elements of Songkran. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in local culture or customs you’ll be able to experience those here.
The Unwritten Rules of the World’s Wildest Water Fight
Like any festival there are certain rules you will need to abide by. If you’ve never been to Thailand before and want to experience Songkran, take some time to familiarise yourself with the following set of rules. Do that and you’ll practically guarantee yourself a good time!
- Rules of engagement: Target the unsuspecting and deliver your H20 payload with a smile.
- Declaring a ceasefire: Cannot be done! Once you start slinging water there is no going back.
- Who has immunity? Only monks, the elderly and uniformed police are considered exempt.
- When you spot a sitting duck: Dry people are fair game so put them back in their element.
- Proper water temperature: Don’t be surprised if you get splashed with near-freezing water.
Protecting Your Valuables is a Must
You’ll most likely notice the roving pickup trucks ferrying groups of people armed with 44-gallon drums of ice water and catching bewildered tourists off-guard. If you need to carry your valuables with you, make sure to seal them in waterproof zip-lock bags or better yet, leave them back at the hotel.
Wear the Correct Shoes for the Occasion
This is a tricky one and most people won’t like the answer but this doesn’t change the fact that beach-line boat shoes and crocs settle the discussion. The pedestrian surfaces of Thailand can be difficult to navigate in places even when dry and thongs just aren’t practical when water is on the ground. Wear anything else and you’ll probably spend more time waiting for them to dry than participating in the fun!