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What is Songkran: Everything You Need to Know About Thai New Year

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the quaint villages, Songkran transforms the entire country into a water-soaked carnival of joy. But there’s more to Songkran than just spirited water fights. It’s about paying homage to traditions, respecting elders, and embracing the spirit of renewal.

Songkran, often referred to as the Thai New Year, is an epic festival marked by vibrant festivities that span several days. It’s a beautiful blend of water fights and spiritual rituals where locals and visitors alike get soaked in the streets, symbolizing the washing away of sins and bad luck to welcome the fresh start of a new year.

What is Songkran?

Songkran, the year’s highlight for many, is Thailand’s most famous festival. This water festival marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. ‘Songkran’ comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’. But, it’s not just a simple sprinkling of water.

Oh, no! It’s an all-out, fun-filled water fight that spreads joy and laughter across the entire country. In the sweltering heat of April, the coolest month in Thailand, Songkran is more than welcome. Originally a Buddhist tradition, Songkran has evolved into a celebration.

Picture this – streets filled with people armed with water guns, buckets, and hoses, all in the spirit of fun and camaraderie. It’s an epic experience that washes away the worries of the previous year and brings in blessings for the new one.

What is Songkran

Where Can You Celebrate Songkran in April?

Songkran can be celebrated across the length and breadth of Thailand, but some places elevate the experience to a whole new level. In Bangkok, the capital city, Songkran transforms the bustling metropolis into a giant playground. The city’s Silom area, with its 5-kilometer stretch, becomes a significant hotspot, filled to the brim with revelers.

The northern city of Chiang Mai, known as the Rose of the North, provides a more traditional Songkran experience, steeped in spirituality and ritual. And if you’re a beach-lover, head to Pattaya or Phuket, where the festival extends even beyond the typical three-day celebration.

Wherever you choose to celebrate Songkran in Thailand, you’re in for a heartwarming, exuberant celebration that is both deeply cultural and incredibly fun. So, where will you be when the water starts flying?

Where Can You Celebrate Songkran in April

Why Is The Thai New Year Celebrated in April?

Thai New Year, or Songkran, is celebrated in April, coinciding with the end of the dry season and the advent of the rainy season. This timing is no coincidence.

The festival takes its cue from the ancient lunisolar Theravada Buddhist calendar, which positions Songkran around the first full moon of April. This period marks a time of rebirth and regeneration, of cleansing rains washing away the dust and heat of the dry season.

Additionally, April is traditionally the hottest month in Thailand, making the water fights not only fun but also a refreshing respite. So, when the April heat descends on Thailand, it signals a time of joyous celebration, renewal, and a spectacularly splashy welcome to the Thai New Year.

Why Is The Thai New Year Celebrated in April

Why Are Water Fights Celebrated During Songkran?

Water fights during Songkran are an embodiment of tradition, fun, and spiritual symbolism. They are not only a source of immense enjoyment but also hold significant cultural relevance. Here’s why:

Why Are Water Fights Celebrated During Songkran
Why Are Water Fights Celebrated During Songkran?
  • Spiritual Cleansing: Originating from the Buddhist tradition of spring cleaning, the water fights symbolize the washing away of misfortune and bad luck from the previous year. It’s a ritual purification that paves the way for a fresh, auspicious start to the New Year.
  • Respect for Elders: The water fight tradition also encapsulates the act of paying respect to elders. Originally, young people would pour scented water over the hands and feet of their elders. This has evolved into the playful water fights we see today, but the sentiment of respect and seeking blessings remains.
  • Celebration of Rainy Season: The water fights also mark the arrival of the rainy season and provide a delightful respite from the scorching April heat. It’s a fun and refreshing way of welcoming the change in seasons.
  • Community Bonding: More than anything else, the water fights bring people together. With everyone, locals and tourists alike, participating in the drenching festivities, it fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie.


Best Places to Celebrate Songkran in Bangkok

If you’re game for three days of non-stop water warfare, then Bangkok is your ultimate Songkran destination. Here are some of the city’s best spots to enjoy the revelry:

Khaosan Road

Dubbed as the backpacker’s universe, Khaosan Road comes alive during Songkran. With thumping parties and intense water fights, it’s an experience you wouldn’t want to miss. You may find yourself caught in the crossfire of water pistols, or entranced by the hypnotic beats of the local music. Either way, Songkran at Khaosan Road is refreshingly unforgettable!

Khaosan Road


At the heart of Bangkok lies Siam, a shopping paradise that transforms into a Songkran hotspot in April. Pop-up stages showcase traditional dance performances and pulsating live music. So, ready to swap your shopping bags for water guns?


Silom Road

For those seeking an LGBTQ-friendly Songkran celebration, Silom Road is the place to be. Along Soi 4, you’ll find wild parties and water fights that last till the wee hours. The annual pool party at W Bangkok Hotel is a major attraction. So, why wait? Dive into the fun!

Silom Road


Fresh-faced revelers head to RCA, the heart of Bangkok’s clubbing scene, for an electrifying Songkran experience. Here, you can party till dawn, get drenched in the spirit of Songkran, and dance your worries away.


So, when Songkran arrives, where will you be? Remember, no matter where you choose to celebrate, the Thai New Year is about taking part in a shared joy, a collective cleansing, and a nationwide water fight that knows no bounds. So gear up, get set, and let the water fly!

Tips for Celebrating Songkran Safely and Respectfully

Keeping these tips in mind will not only ensure you have a blast during Songkran but will also help you respect and appreciate the cultural significance of this unique festival. Now, are you ready to jump into the biggest water fight of your life?

Tips for Celebrating Songkran Safely and Respectfully
Tips for Celebrating Songkran Safely and Respectfully
  • Keep Things Waterproof: Songkran is all about getting wet. So, it’s wise to protect your valuables, especially electronic items like your phone and camera. Street vendors offer waterproof pouches right before the festival. Grab one of these to ensure your belongings stay dry amidst the water fights!
  • Guard Your Eyes: As the water fights heat up, it’s not uncommon for water to get splashed around, including in the eyes. Consider purchasing a pair of goggles while celebrating Songkran. Not only will they keep your eyes safe, but they’ll also make you look like a seasoned Songkran participant!
  • Stay Hydrated: Dancing, running, splashing – Songkran is a high-energy festival that can take a toll on your body. Stay hydrated throughout the day to keep up the pace. However, avoid drinking the water used in the festival as it may cause illness. Instead, keep bottled water handy.
  • Be Respectful: Songkran is a festival imbued with cultural significance. While it’s okay to engage in playful water fights, always be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid splashing water on monks, the elderly, or babies, and restrict your water fights to designated areas.
  • Travel Safely: Songkran is notorious for drunk driving and road accidents. If possible, avoid traveling during the festival. When in the city, opt for public transport to move around. This way, you can enjoy the festival while staying safe!


In conclusion

Songkran is so much more than just a festival – it’s a deeply meaningful cultural tradition, an exhilarating celebration, and the largest water fight you’ll ever experience! It’s a time of unity, respect, renewal, and unabashed joy.

Remember, while the water fights are undoubtedly fun, they are also symbolic of cleansing and rejuvenation. As you celebrate, be mindful of the cultural significance and respect the traditions associated with Songkran.

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