From April 13th-16th, the largest annual festival in Thailand, Songkran, will be held throughout the entire country. Marking the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year, Songkran is unforgettable experience for both natives and foreigners alike- three days jam-packed with amusement, spirituality, and camaraderie. The Songkran celebrations include one of the world’s largest water festivals, in which the main streets of most cities are closed for transportation and instead filled with celebrants splashing tons of water on each other.
All in all, Songkran is simply a can’t-miss experience. Read on for your ultimate run-down on the best Songkran festivities that will take place throughout Thailand. Plus, here’s how you can Win a trip to Thailand!
At Sanam Luang, a parade of the famous Phra Buddha Sihing image will take place- after which the image will be installed on this large field for people to bathe and pray to. A large alms giving ceremony will also take place here, which marks the beginning of the New Year. On Wisutkasat Road, the legendary Songkran celebrations include the historic Miss Songkran Beauty contest. Bangkok’s wildest Songkran festivities take place at the famous Khao San Road, where locals and tourists pack the street and soak each other in a perpetual water fight. Finally, the Silom district will be constantly full of revelers throughout the three days; it’s the go-to spot if you’re looking for a wild party.
Ayutthaya is home to many of Songkran’s most famous cultural and spiritual celebrations. Join the locals in merit-making festivities around the town, or visit the Miss Songkran parade with its many flamboyant floats. One of the most important aspects of the festivities at Ayuthaya is the bathing of the Buddha images around the area.
In the small town of Sangkhlaburi in the Kanchanaburi region, the Mon people hold some of the most unique Songkran festivities. The ceremony to bathe the revered Buddha statues with the use of kilometer-long bamboo pipes is especially fascinating. Village men also form a human bridge on the streets by lying down, allowing monks to walk to and from purifying areas without touching the ground. Merit-making activities include building sand pagodas into local temples, as well as the bathing of the village elders.
In the Nong Prue district, Songkran is celebrated through the incredible Wax Castle Procession, in artists from all over the region assemble to create magnificent castles and palaces made from wax.
Songkran celebrations in this northern city last for a whopping five days! You can take part in the procession of the city’s Phra Buddha Sihing image as well as its bathing ceremony. Another prominent part of the festivities include the parade of locals that bring sand and Bodhi trees to temples to build decorative pagodas. Additionally, there are many interesting cultural events, performances, food festivals, and fair that occur throughout these five days.
This region hosts some of the most lavish ceremonies and parades in the country, including the worshipping ceremony of the royal dynasty. Furthermore, the Miss Songkran pageant and the Chang Pho Mueang parade are both held at the beautiful Sri Satchanalai Historical Park. In remembrance of Sukhothai’s past status as the ancient capital of Thailand, a massive Songkran festival will also be held at the Sri Satchanalai Historical Park.
The northern city’s celebrations include a public procession of the Phra Buddha Sihing image from the majestic Wat Phra Singha temple, in which locals and tourists alike can bath the image and pray to it. Additional festivities include the city’s Miss Songkran competition, sand pagoda construction contest, and a variety of local events and fairs.
Experience a unique set of Lanna-style Songkran celebrations in this large town in the northern region of Thailand. You can enjoy relaxing and shopping in replicas of traditional markets and cultural villages, or bath the town’s Buddha image. Additionally, be sure to experience the “Salung Luang” procession, the town’s Miss Songkran pageant, and decorative horse-draw carriage competition. That’s not to mention the town’s many cultural shows, musical performances, and OTOP markets.
One of the larger cities in northeastern Thailand, Khon Kaen is renowned for its particular brand of exhilarating and joyous Songkran festivities. On the city’s Khao Niew Road, an abundance of exciting activities take place throughout the three days, including a floral parade, musical shows and performances, and a traditional Issan-style dance. Khon Kaen also has its own city-wide water festival, in which people pack the streets and engage in an all-out water fight.
In this northeastern city, a traditional Issan-style of Songkran is celebrated in the areas of Mueang district and Tambon Renu Nakhon. You can experience the Thai-Lao Songkran cultural festivities at the ancient local markets, an extravagant parade, cultural showcases, folk fairs, and, of course, a Miss Songkran contest. Don’t miss out on the fun of Khao Pun Road, where a massive water festival takes place over the three days.
Many different Songkran celebrations occur throughout this eastern region of Thailand. In Bang Saen, the unique festival of “Wan Lai” is held, which places emphasis on the celebration of fishermen. Traditional merit-making activities also take place here, with a huge sand pagoda building competition taking place in the region’s temples. In the coastal city of Pattaya, celebrations include the traditional “Rod Nam Dam Hua” ceremony, a Miss Songkran contest, and a variety of cultural events. The Meaung district hosts its own distinct parade that marches the “God of Death” statue to the sea in order to ward off bad luck for the coming year. In Sri Racha, many traditional celebrations take place, including a rice pagoda parade and local theater performances.
On the tropical island of Ko Chang, the Songkran celebrations are called “Ko Chang Wan Lai.” Festivities include a religious ceremony to bathe 45 Buddha images, and plenty of other merit-making activities. The island also holds an array of entertainment, such as stage plays, musical performances, and theater groups.
On the famous Patong beach of this tourist-filled island, celebrate “Songran on the Beach” with both locals and foreigners. A variety of merit-making activities take place on the island, including the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual and the parade of the Phra Buddha Sihing image. Plenty of cultural shows, competitions, fairs, and fun-filled entertainment take place on the island over the course of Songkran.
Nakhon Si Thmmarat
In this southern city, Songkran celebrations include the highly unique and colorful procession of “Nang Dan Mueang Nakhon”- which welcomes various ancient gods and goddesses to the city for the coming year. You can also experience the bathing of the revered Phra Buddha Sihing image, attend local plays, take a lively tour of the city, and enjoy the musical performances. A traditional Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual occurs during the festivities, as well as a multitude of other cultural activities.
On the popular island of Koh Samui, a Songkran beach festival takes place to ring in the Thai New Year. Fun-filled water festivities go on for all three days along Chawang Beach Road, where the sea meets the land. Additionally, highly-entertaining Samui Muay Thai Angels matches occur throughout the festivities.