Songkran thai festivals

Songkran 2024: Your Guide to the Thai New Year Festival

Are you planning to fly to Thailand in April? Then get ready for the wildest water fight of your life! Songkran, the Thai New Year festival, turns the entire country into one big splash zone from April 13th to 15th. But here is the insiderโ€™s tip: the fun does not stop there โ€“ it is a week-long party! 

Imagine this: people dancing, music playing, and water flying everywhere. No one stays dry during Songkran. It is like the entire country takes a giant dip! From water guns to buckets, anything that can hold water becomes a weapon of mass splashing.


Origins of Songkran 

Songkran, meaning “to wash,” is more than just a shower fest. It is a deep dive into Thailand’s rich past. Originating in the ancient Kingdom of Sukhothai, the word “Songkran” hints at its roots. It signifies the transition from one astrological sphere to another. It is like nature hitting the reset button as the sun moves from Aries to Taurus. 

But for Thai folks, Songkran isn’t just about cleansing. It is about community and good vibes. They believe the festival’s water brings blessings and fortune. So, they splash around with friends and family, hitting up temples to pray and light incense. 

Interestingly, Songkran traces back to a Hindu spring festival in ancient India, celebrating the start of the harvest season. While neighboring countries have similar festivals, Thailand’s Songkran steals the spotlight as the ultimate New Year’s bash known worldwide. 

Evolution of Songkran festival 

In ancient times, Songkran marked the transition of the sun into a new astrological sphere, signaling the start of the Thai New Year. People would visit temples, offering food to monks and seeking blessings for the year ahead. It was a time of reflection, cleansing, and renewal. 

As the years rolled on, Songkran evolved. What started as a simple act of sprinkling water on one another for purification gradually transformed into something much livelier. Fast forward to modern times, and you’ll find the streets packed with laughter, water guns, and joyous chaos. 

In 2011, Songkran made history, earning a spot in the Guinness World Records as the “largest water gun fight”. From that moment on, the festival took on a whole new dimension. It became less about serious rituals and more about cheerful celebrations, where people of all ages come together to revel in the joy of community and solidarity. 

Today, Songkran is synonymous with fun-filled water fights, music-filled streets, and exciting cultural displays. Yet, amidst all the festivities, the essence of Songkran โ€“ of renewal, blessings, and togetherness โ€“ still shines brightly. It reminds us of the rich heritage that lies at the heart of this beloved Thai tradition.

origon of Songkran

Dates & Duration of the Songkran 2024 Festival 

Songkran isn’t just a one-day affair. It is a three-day extravaganza that lights up Thailand every April, typically from the 13th to the 15th. Let’s break down each day and what makes it special: 

  1. The First day: Maha Songkran Day (April 13th) 
  • Significance: This marks the transition from the old year to the new, known as “Maha Songkran Day”. It’s a day of preparation and purification, where homes are scrubbed clean, and offerings are made at temples to seek blessings for the year ahead. 
  • Highlights: Processions of Buddha images, massive water fights, and a festive atmosphere across the country. 
  1. The Second day: Wan Nao (Water Day) (April 14th) 
  • Significance: Get ready to get soaked! “Wan Nao” officially kicks off the water festival as people hit the streets armed with water guns, buckets, and hoses. The idea? Splash away the past year’s sins and start fresh. It’s a symbol of purification and a whole lot of fun! 
  • Highlights: National Family Day, where spending quality time with family is encouraged amidst the ongoing water battles. 
  1. The Third day: Wan Thaloeng Sok (Family Day) (April 15th) 
  • Significance: As the festivities wind down, it’s time to focus on family and forgiveness. “Wan Thaloeng Sok” is about making merit, offering alms to monks, and reconnecting with loved ones. It’s a Day of Reconciliation and building bonds for the year ahead. 
  • Highlights: The official start of the New Year, marked by lively celebrations, continuous water fights, concerts, street food galore, and a whole lot of joy! 

With three days packed full of tradition, fun, and community spirit, Songkran is a celebration like no other. It is a time to cleanse the soul, strengthen bonds, and welcome the new year with open arms. 

Traditional Rituals and Customs: 

Songkran isn’t just about water fights and parties. It is deeply rooted in tradition and customs that have been passed down through generations. Let’s explore some of the timeless rituals that make Songkran so special: 

Water Splashing: Symbolism and Tradition 

Water isn’t just for getting wet. It holds significant symbolism during Songkran. The act of splashing water on each other is believed to cleanse away the past year’s misfortunes and sins, paving the way for a fresh start in the new year. It’s a joyful expression of purification and renewal, shared by people of all ages across Thailand. 

Temple Visits and Offerings 

Amidst the festivities, Songkran is also a time for spiritual reflection and reverence. Many Thai people visit Buddhist temples to make offerings, offer prayers, and seek blessings from monks. This tradition honors the cultural and religious significance of Songkran, reminding us to cherish our spiritual connections amidst the celebrations.

Traditional Rituals of Songkran

Traditional Thai New Year Foods 

No Songkran celebration is complete without trying out traditional Thai New Year foods. From savory dishes like Khao Chae (rice soaked in jasmine-scented water) to sweet treats like Khanom tom (stuffed coconut balls), these culinary delights are enjoyed with family and friends, adding a delicious touch to the festivities. 

Religious Observances and Ceremonies 

Beyond the water splashing and feasting, Songkran also incorporates various religious observances and ceremonies. Pouring scented water over Buddha statues, paying respects to elders, and offering alms to monks are just some of the sacred rituals practiced during this auspicious time. These ceremonies raise a sense of gratitude, reverence, and community spirit, reminding us of the deeper meanings behind the celebrations. 

Top Places to Experience Songkran 2024 

Songkran 2024 Festivities in Bangkok 

Khao San Road: Soak Up the Fun 

Head to Khao San Road for a wild water fight and lively atmosphere. Be prepared to get soaked while enjoying drinks and music in the rushing bars. Just watch out for slippery floors after a few whisky buckets! 

Silom: Where the Party Never Stops 

Silom is the heart of Songkran’s excitement in Bangkok. Join thousands of young Thais armed with water guns along the 5-km stretch, while staying relatively dry on the BTS skywalk. Don’t miss the thrill of fire trucks cooling down the crowd in the heat. 

Phra Pradaeng District: Embrace Tradition 

Experience traditional Songkran celebrations in the Phra Pradaeng district. Join Thai-Raman communities in cultural activities, games, dances, and boat races that showcase the rich heritage of Thailand. 

Beauty Pageants and Food Fair in Wisutkasat 

Enjoy the Miss Songkran Beauty contest and pamper yourself with delicious treats at the Wisutkasat area. From parades to food fairs, Songkran at Wisutkasat offers a vibrant atmosphere and festive delights for all. 

Sanam Luang: Sacred Celebrations 

Take part in sacred ceremonies at Sanam Luang, where the Buddha image ‘Buddha Sihing’ is paraded for water blessings. Pay respects and see the building of sand stupas adorned with flags and flowers. 

Songkran 2024 Festivities in Chiang Mai 

In Chiang Mai during Songkran, there’s a whirlwind of activities to dive into. Join the massive water battles at Thapae Gate, where locals and tourists mingle, dressed in traditional attire, engaging in friendly competitions while enjoying live performances. Along the moat, laughter fills the air as people engage in water fights, though caution is advised as the water may not be clean.  

Nimmanhaemin Road pulses with energy, offering trendy boutiques and lively water battles, with performers and DJs adding to the festive atmosphere. Venture into the smaller streets for a more intimate experience, where locals eagerly wait with cold water to soak passersby. It creates a friendly vibe away from the major crowds.  

Witness the spiritual side of Songkran by offering alms to monks and taking part in symbolic blessings for the New Year. Join the grand Buddha procession, where sacred statues are paraded through the streets, adorned with water blessings by hopeful Buddhists. Take a tuk-tuk tour or visit temples for a cultural tour. 

Pattaya in Songkran 2024: A Week-long Water Extravaganza 

Get ready for the ultimate water battle in Pattaya during the Songkran Festival! From April 11 to April 19, the city transforms into a water-soaked paradise, earning the nickname ‘Wan Lai Festival’. Originally it was a tradition of sprinkling water to welcome the Thai New Year. Songkran in Pattaya now features high-pressure water guns, ice bucket challenges, and foam parties on the beaches.

Don’t miss out on the sand sculpture displays, cultural water plays, and beauty contests that add to the festive atmosphere. Locals and tourists alike flock to Pattaya for seven days of non-stop fun and excitement. You won’t want to miss it! 

Phuket in Songkran 2024: Splash and Dance on Bangla Road 

Experience the craziest festivities of Songkran in Phuket, particularly on the infamous Bangla Road in Patong. While the police usually limit water throwing to April 13, in Patong, anything goes! Get ready to splash and be splashed as you join in the watery revelry that lasts longer than expected. Whether you’re on Beach Road or Bangla Road, one thing’s for sure โ€“ you’ll get soaked in the festive spirit! 

Ayutthaya in Songkran 2024: 

Ayutthaya kicks off the Songkran Festival with a majestic parade of ten painted elephants, adorned with colorful themes and messages welcoming visitors. Tourists seize the opportunity to splash water at the elephants as they parade through the city, visiting landmarks like the City Pillar Shrine and Wat Phra Ram. Amidst the joyous celebrations, Ayutthaya agencies also allow trucks with water buckets, welcoming visitors to experience the unique charm of the province after years of the pandemic.

Top Places to Experience

Staying Safe During Songkran 2024 

Stay Safe Around Water 

Having fun with water is great during Songkran, but it’s important to be safe. Wherever you decide to celebrate, watch out for slippery areas and crowded spots. Take care of your kids when playing in the water to avoid accidents. 

Protect Yourself from the Sun 

It’s hot out there, so make sure to protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to shield your skin and eyes from getting burnt. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid feeling tired in the heat. 

Be Respectful 

During Songkran, it’s essential to be kind and respectful to others. Ask before splashing someone with water and avoid doing anything that might upset or offend others. Let’s keep the fun friendly and inclusive for everyone.

Travel Tips for a Great Time 

If you’re visiting Thailand for Songkran, plan to make your trip smooth and enjoyable. Learn about local customs and traditions and try to pick up a few basic Thai phrases to communicate with locals. Keep your belongings safe, especially in busy places, and stay aware of your surroundings. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the festival with a positive attitude!

travel tips


Get ready for the splashiest celebration in Thailand โ€“ Songkran Festival! From April 13th to 15th, the country erupts into a massive water fight, marking the Thai New Year with joy and solidarity. Rooted in ancient traditions, Songkran has evolved into a week-long extravaganza of water battles, cultural rituals, and lively street parties. Whether you’re in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, or Ayutthaya, there’s no escaping the fun and excitement.  

Note: Let’s keep the environment clean and preserve the magic of Songkran for generations to come! 

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