If you're planning to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok, you're in for a crazy experience.
No doubt, it's by far one of the most exciting times of the year to visit Bangkok and if like me you love to party and don't mind getting wet, it's one item that should be on your bucket list.
So if you're coming to Bangkok during Songkran, here's everything you need to know about the Thai New Year celebration, where to find the best parties, and a few tips to survive it.
You're not afraid of buckets full of ice-cold water or to be covered with soap? 😁
Let's go then.
What is Songkran ?
In case you don't know it yet, Songkran is more than the huge countrywide water fight we see everywhere nowadays.
Before the festival, Songkran is first and foremost the Thai New Year.
Officially, Thailand uses the Thai lunar calendar and not the Gregorian calendar. So for example 2020 is B.E 2563 in Thailand.
Part of the original celebration includes pouring scented water onto the elders' hands to apologize for your sins and ask for their blessing. (more about the tradition)
Even though that is still true and most Thais celebrate Songkran in a more traditional way, spending time with their family, going to the temple... in some big cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Pattaya, things have turned it into the massive water fights we know today.
And that's really good news if you're into crazy parties!
During the Songkran Festival, all the country is on pause, most businesses are closed, and everybody is celebrating.
You have massive water fights everywhere, a ton of pool parties, huge music festivals, and even parties in the streets.
No doubt you're gonna love it!
When is Songkran ?
Songkran is every year in the middle of April, usually around the 13th.
In 2020, Songkran is from Monday 13 April to Wednesday 15 April.
But most parties and celebrations will start on Friday 10 April and continue over the weekend until the 15 April with April 13, 14, and 15 being public holidays in Thailand.
Where to Party During Songkran in Bangkok ?
Now let's get to the fun part. Where to party during Songkran?
You've got endless options.
You've got water fights in streets closed for the occasion like Silom or Khaosan road.
Special Songkran pool parties all across the city.
And some of the biggest music festivals in Bangkok take place during that period too.
You've probably seen videos of huge water fights in Bangkok and that might be the reason why you want to come for Songkran this year.
Some streets are closed during the festival and turned into walking streets filled with stages, performances, and people from all over Thailand (and the world) joining into the biggest water fights you've ever seen.
Silom is with Khaosan where you've got the biggest water fight in the city. The street is closed on both sides, there are stages with shows and people go up and down the street, engaging in raging water fights.
It's intense but if you've never tried before, it's a must-do.
Like Silom, Siam is hosting shows and water fights during Songkran. Every year they have different shows and celebrations and it's more family-friendly than other streets.
Bangkok's most infamous Backpacker's street also attracts a hectic crowd for Songkran. Expect the street to be packed with travelers and locals fighting with buckets full of ice-cold water and blasting music from the top to the bottom of the street.
Soi Cowboy and Nana
Out of the 3 red-light districts in Bangkok, 2 of them, Soi Cowboy and Nana also engage in water fights for Songkran. Who said Gogo girls were not fun?
Famous for its nightlife, RCA doesn't slow down during Songkran either.
The street is also closed to the circulation and most bars and clubs get together to turn it into a big street festival.
RCA also welcomes two huge music festivals during Songkran, S2O Festival, and Siam Songkran Festival (more on that below).
The street isn't closed like others and you still have traffic but good luck to get through it and stay dry. So if you pass by soi 22 during Songkran, make sure you bring your water gun and join the wet t-shirt contest.
For EDM fans, Songkran is one of the best times of the year to visit Bangkok.
Two of the biggest music festivals in Bangkok take place during this period, S2O Songkran and Siam Songkran Festival.
Both festivals bring some of the biggest DJs in the world to take over Bangkok with thousands gathering for a massive water fight with blasting dance music for hours.
As water is at the center of the celebration during Songkran you can imagine how popular pool parties are during this period.
It's simple, almost every pool party organizer in Bangkok hosts special events during these days.
When you usually have 1 or 2 pool parties each weekend in Bangkok, during Songkran you have almost 3 to 4 each day.
Of course, the clubs join the celebration too.
That's the only time of the year when you can enter any club in Bangkok with swim shorts and flip flops.
That means you can go straight from a pool party to a club and party all day and all night during Songkran.
Just remember to bring your ID.
Where to Stay in Bangkok for Songkran ?
Book something as close as possible to the action so you don't have to spend too much time looking for taxis and tuk-tuks who are in high demand during those days.
For more suggestions on where to stay in Bangkok, check that page.
How to Survive Songkran ?
- 💧 Buy a waterproof bag. Throw in there your money, your phone, and an ID and you're good to go.
- 💎 Don't wear anything expensive. Swim shorts, a t-shirt, flip flops and sunglasses to protect your eyes and you're ready. Like for the Full Moon Party, don't wear anything you're not ready to lose. Things can (and will) get wild.
- 🔫 Buy a water gun. Because you can't avoid the water fights even if you're trying to. So defend yourself!
- 🎟 Book in advance. Especially for hotels and music festivals. Every year, Bangkok is packed with people coming from all over the world to celebrate Songkran, and everything sell out really fast.
Start to plan your trip for Songkran
Silom and Khaosan are usually where most of the action happens during Songkran in Bangkok.
But all popular spots in the city, including Siam, Central World, Soi Cowboy, Sukhumvit 22, and more are also the theater of massive water fights and parties.
Thanks for reading until the end.
I'm sure now you have everything you need to know to take Songkran off your bucket list in style!
To know when and where are each party for Songkran, I've made a complete list on MojoSons that I'll keep updated as the events are announced.
As usual, if you got any questions, please ask in the comments below.