Everything You Need to Know About Songkran When Visiting Thailand

Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year, is one of Thailand’s most celebrated festivals. This vibrant and joyous event marks the beginning of the traditional Thai lunar calendar and is observed with water fights, street parties, and religious ceremonies. If you’re planning to visit Thailand during Songkran, here’s everything you need to know to fully immerse yourself in this cultural extravaganza:

Dates and Duration:

Songkran typically lasts for three days, from April 13th to April 15th, though festivities may extend beyond these dates in certain areas, especially in tourist hotspots like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket. There they can go on for 7 days straight.

Water Festival:

Songkran is widely known for its water fights, where locals and tourists alike engage in friendly water battles on the streets. Expect to be doused with water from water guns, buckets, and hoses, symbolizing the washing away of the previous year’s misfortunes and sins.

Traditional Customs:

Alongside the revelry, Songkran holds deep cultural and religious significance. Many Thais visit temples to make merit, offer prayers, and pour scented water over Buddha statues and the hands of monks as a gesture of cleansing and respect.

Respectful Attire:

While Songkran is a fun-filled event, it’s essential to dress appropriately, especially when visiting temples or participating in religious ceremonies. Avoid revealing clothing and opt for modest attire out of respect for Thai customs and traditions.

Water Safety:

While participating in water festivities, exercise caution and be mindful of safety. Avoid spraying water directly at people’s faces or eyes, and be aware of slippery surfaces to prevent accidents or injuries.

Cultural Sensitivity:

Respect cultural norms and sensitivities during Songkran. Refrain from engaging in excessive public displays of affection, inappropriate behavior, or using water excessively on monks, the elderly, or those who prefer not to participate in the festivities.

Hydration and Sun Protection:

Thailand’s April weather can be scorching hot, so stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Apply sunscreen generously and wear a hat or sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun’s rays during outdoor celebrations.

Street Food Delights:

Indulge in Thailand’s delectable street food offerings during Songkran. From savory snacks to sweet treats, explore the diverse array of culinary delights available at bustling street markets and food stalls.

Participate with Joy:

Embrace the spirit of Songkran with an open heart and a playful mindset. Join in the festivities, interact with locals, and immerse yourself in the colorful celebrations to create unforgettable memories of your Thai New Year experience.

Dos and Don’ts During Songkran:


  • Do participate in water fights and enjoy the festive atmosphere with a spirit of fun and camaraderie.
  • Do respect cultural customs and traditions, especially when visiting temples or engaging in religious activities.
  • Do greet locals with the traditional “Sawasdee Pee Mai” (Happy New Year) and offer good wishes for the year ahead.
  • Do try traditional Thai dishes and street food specialties to savor the culinary delights of the festival.


  • Don’t splash water on monks, the elderly, or individuals who do not wish to participate in the water festivities.
  • Don’t engage in rowdy or disruptive behavior that may disrupt the peace and harmony of the celebrations.
  • Don’t forget to secure your belongings, such as electronics and valuables, to prevent them from getting damaged during water fights.
  • Don’t drive or ride motorcycles during Songkran unless necessary, as roads can be congested and safety hazards may arise due to water-related activities.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can fully embrace the spirit of Songkran and enjoy a memorable and culturally enriching experience during your visit to Thailand.

Sawasdee Pee Mai!

Photo by: JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *