What is Songkran?

Effectively for all intent and purposes, Songkran is the Thai New Year, which falls on April 13th each year. Most of the country celebrate over a three day period including the 14th and 15th but in Pattaya, this is extended to five days.

Songkran is celebrated by Thai people firstly as a merit-making experience, where they will visit Buddhist Temples, taking food to the monks and pray. Many will pour water over Buddhist statues, which is a common ritual during the Songkran celebrations. This is a form or purification or a method of cleansing ones sins and is believed to remove a person’s bad luck. You may see the younger generation pouring water of an older persons hands.

Water is a key feature as the celebrations progress, when Pattaya becomes a hive of activity and moves into a festival that everyone should take part in at least once in their lives. Many people come to Pattaya for this holiday event, just to get involved in what is the best free celebration you will ever come across. At its peak, it compares to festivals around the world for fun, laughter and sheer madness but always in a good way.

Beach Road for instance plays host to a parade of trucks, transporting people in fancy dress or specifically made costumes. Beautiful girls and handsome men, don traditional Thai costumes, Effectively for all intent and purposes, Songkran is the Thai New Year, which falls on April 13th each year. Most of the country celebrate over a three day period including the 14th and 15th but in Pattaya, this is extended to five days.

Songkran is celebrated by Thai people firstly as a merit-making experience, where they will visit Buddhist Temples, taking food to the monks and pray. Many will pour water over Buddhist statues, which is a common ritual during the Songkran celebrations. This is a form or purification or a method of cleansing ones sins and is believed to remove a person’s bad luck. You may see the younger generation pouring water of an older persons hands.

Water is a key feature as the celebrations progress, when Pattaya becomes a hive of activity and moves into a festival that everyone should take part in at least once in their lives. Many people come to Pattaya for this holiday event, just to get involved in what is the best free celebration you will ever come across. At its peak, it compares to festivals around the world for fun, laughter and sheer madness but always in a good way.

Beach Road for instance plays host to a parade of trucks, transporting people in fancy dress or specifically made costumes. Beautiful girls and handsome men, don traditional Thai costumes, Even venturing away from the centre of the activities into the quieter streets will not save you from a good old immersion in water, for the kids will gather outside their homes waiting on people passing by.

Expect to be saturated all day long. Pop into a bar, and observe the hilarity for a while and you will be dry off within fifteen minutes but you will again be subjected to the merrymaking as soon as you depart the haven of safety as you are doused by water gun or bucket. Even hoses will be used at various places as you walk around the city.

But hey, there is absolutely nothing preventing you from getting involved. The youngsters from kids to teenagers are having a ball and will welcome anyone and everyone to join in. Do not be afraid to purchase a water pistol or bucket and submerge passers by. Just remember to say “Happy New Year” when you do.

Although this is very much a water festival, you will see many people with their faces painted depicting everything from devils to beauty queens. Masks are sold and many will cover their faces in one.

Street vendors will be everywhere selling water guns and a must have item, a waterproof bag to put your phone and wallet or money into. This latter is an essential item to have. Better still, wrap them in waterproof bags, secure the bag with an elastic band, then put it in the waterproof bag from the vendor. When I say you will get drenched, you will be completely soaked and all personal possession with you. Leave anything of value at home or in your hotel or condo.

Forget wearing socks, trainers or jeans during Songkran, this is a time when only shorts, T-shirt and flip flops will suffice.

Some people who have been in Pattaya for a long time, will leave the country for a week to escape the madness. However, Songkran is a special time; a celebration that everyone can enjoy. Get involved, the locals will appreciate you if you offer your head for a bucket of water to be poured over it or to have your face adorned in white paste.

It is a wonderful time to be in Pattaya. Relish it, accept it as a time of celebration, have a ball in the party atmosphere and when it gets too much, simply step inside the safety of a bar and partake of a cold drink for a while.

  1. Horrible–terrible– and very dangerous time in Pattaya. Most farangs who can afford leave the country. It lasts 10 days in Pattaya!!!

  2. Thank you for this piece of news. Now it is a good time to book 2 weeks of holiday in some civilised country.

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