Songkran is among the most important of all the Thai festivals and holidays. It marks the beginning of the new year and the rainy season.
Officially celebrated each year on 13th April, but the festival actually takes place over a period of several days, beginning around the 10th April.
On this website we share with you photos of Songkran and other water venues around Chiang Mai.
If you enjoy a good soaking then this is for you.
When? 10th to 15th April.
Local times may vary. In some regions it can be from April 1st to 18th, like in Chiang Mai. Allow for a few days afterwards when there are still some wet street parties.
Where? All over Southeast Asia.
Sale of alcohol is banned in many areas as it causes too many deadly traffic accidents and drownings.
Why? Songkran is sanskrit for "Change". Pouring water over your friends and family is done as a blessing that washes away bad karma from the last year and brings joy and happiness for the new year. It is one of the most important festivals in Southeast Asia.
This really is the biggest wet festival worldwide and is celebrated all over Southeast Asia with millions of soaking wet participants. All over Thailand millions of people go out and soak everybody they can. But the wildest party is in Chiang Mai, along the 7km long moat of the old city.
Getting wet fully clothed is the norm in Thailand, especially during Songkran. People dress up for Songkran and wear good looking jeans and shirts. Some wear nice rain jackets or hoodies. The really love it when you pour water over these clothes or join them for a swim.
Please be polite and dress in nice casual clothes that you like getting wet in. The nicer you dress the more people will enjoy pouring water over you. Also remember, the sunshine is intense in Thailand.
The Songkran Festival is celebrated in each city, town or village. During these days everybody gets soaked in the ritual blessings of pouring water. If they see you walking around dry then you obviosly have not been blessed yet and they quickly take care of it. Only when you're soaking wet have you been fully blessed.
Songkran a nationwide fun party. They throw water with cans and hose pipes, and jump into the canals or lakes. They may push you into the water to ritually bless you with water in a rowdy celebration of the Thai New Year.
The water-splashing festivities stem from the Thai tradition of pouring water over Buddha statues in homes and temples to bring them merit for the New Year, and then dousing grandparents in perfumed water to bring them good luck.
In recent years, Thais have taken the revelries out into the streets and now offer their blessings to anyone who comes within their range. Foreigners are not exempt and get singled out for a really good soaking.
"I don't think people will get mad," said 18-year-old Fu Kantha, just after drenching passengers in a passing bus. "Today they will forgive us." Fu and his cohorts take up positions on the streets in the morning.
Open-windowed public buses and motorcyclists are their prime targets. Taxi drivers help out by whizzing down their electric windows so attackers can douse their passengers. "It's fun to splash many people, that's why we throw water on the buses," Fu said, as he refueled his squirt-gun and buckets.
People in Bangkok were getting off easy. The natives of northeastern Thailand said that in the countryside nobody is spared a soaking, and many are even sprinkled with powder when wet. Everyone spends the day drinking and dancing. In the country villages they keep the traditions, so it's a lot of fun.
As teens and parents return from the traditional washing of the Buddha statues in the temples of Phuket, they bring out the high-powered water buckets and huge garbage cans filled with water. Then the real water fights begin.
The Songkran Festival around 10-16th of April is celebrated in each city, but the best is in Chiang Mai.
During these days everybody gets soaked in the ritual blessings of pouring water.
This then becomes a nationwide fun party.
They throw water with cans and hose pipes, and jump into the canals or lakes, or push you in
to ritually bless everyone with water in a rowdy celebration of the
Thai New Year.