13-15 April we will be closed for Songkran.
Songkran is one of Thailand’s largest festivals, and it’s a perfect time to be in bustling beautiful Chiang Mai. If you’re unfamiliar with the holiday, it is a 3-day celebration of the Thai New Year, which happens this year from 13-15 April. Traditionally, people would wash themselves with water as a buddhist tradition that is meant to cleanse you in preparation for the new year.
Today, Songkran has evolved into a very modern, large, and exhilarating event. The streets are filled with people of all ages armed with water guns, buckets, and balloons. There are fun events at certain points throughout the city such as musical performances, and most bars throughout the city will be open for people to stop along their way and enjoy the fun from inside.
The entire festival is going to be a great experience for any first timers, and following these simple tips will help make your experience that much better.
Seems easy, right? There’s water being flung at you from every direction. However simple it may seem to keep hydrated during the hot days, you’ll be surprised how often you’ll need to remind yourself amidst all of the chaotic fun. It can be easy to get lost in the excitement. Also, don’t consider shooting your water gun water into your friend’s mouths, because the water you’ll be using as ammo will likely be from the very famous, very dirty moat that surrounds Chiang Mai’s Old City.
The heat isn’t the only reason you’ll need to stay hydrated. For those who are interested in the party scene during Songkran, drinking water in between tequila shots is crucial if you want to last the whole day and night. There will be fun happenings through the evening as well, and you’d hate to burn out and miss them!
While Thapae Gate will be the hub of things during the festival, other parts of the city are worth exploring. Wander around and make your way through the happy crowds to the Buak Haad Park, or Nimman Rd. and you’ll get to see a more intimate Songkran filled with smiling locals and excited travelers. Central Festival mall will be having fun events all day and night as well.
Protect Your Electronics
If you’re wondering at all about the amount of water you’ll be covered in: it’s a lot. You will be drenched from head to toe if you’re inside the city limits. So, with this in mind, it’s important to either leave your phones, cameras, etc. at home, or buy protective bags for them. Many convenient stores will be selling waterproof bags in different sizes.
Although it’ll feel like there’s a massive pool party happening in Chiang Mai, save the bare swimsuits for the pool. Especially for ladies, try not to walk around the city in your bikini. Dressing that way will surely make Thai people uncomfortable, so it’s best to wear light clothing that can get wet, with a swimsuit underneath for comfort. I’d also recommend not wearing shoes that can come off so easily–you’re likely to lose those.
Remember to Just Have Fun
Songkran is a truly blissful event, and will most likely be one of the most memorable things you’ll ever experience. For some, it accesses a bit of a competitive and intense part of them. Being aggressive during this festival is a bit contradictory to the spirit of the holiday. If you can remember that it’s not a competition, but is a playful event, you’ll be able to have fun and maintain a level of respect for others.
If you’re in Chiang Mai for the festival this year, get ready for the time of your life!