Songkran in Chiang Mai and Silom, Bangkok.
While many prefer to unwind on the beach or take luxurious vacations, the natives of Thailand know how to best get relief against the overwhelming summer heat in April, by joining in the traditional water fighting festivities of the Songkran Festival. Indeed, if there is a place to be to celebrate culture and usher in a new year in style, it is Thailand. Simply put, the Songkran festival is the Thai people’s celebration of a new year marked by several religious events and water fights all over. Not only is it set aside as a national holiday, but also celebrated for three consecutive days (an entire week in some parts of the country).
Right when the calendar hits the month of April, hundreds of people from various regions of the country start to arrive in Thailand to witness the fantastic event, while Thai residents also begin the journey home to celebrate the occasion with their family members. And unlike ordinary days in Thailand, the streets of almost every city will be filled with people and will even become impassable for someone without the threat of getting soaked by water from all angles. It is as fun as it sounds. In Chiang Mai and Silom, Bangkok, the festive event is marked and celebrated differently in the following ways.
Celebrating Songkran in Chiang Mai.
Very many expats will tell you that the best place to celebrate and enjoy Songkran is in Chiang Mai. Despite the city’s small size, the beautiful temple complexes make up a spectacular setting for the event. The most amazing part of the city, however, is the 6.5-kilometer moat full of water that surrounds it and is taken to be the water bucket refill point preferred by the locals of Chiang Mai.
Unlike many other towns, the Songkran festival at Chiang Mai lasts for four days instead of the average three days. The first two days are mostly spent as family time while partying and festivities occur the final two days.
The religious part of the New Year celebration is seen to take place on the first day of the event with a procession of floats and Buddha images starting from the Narawat Bridge and ending at Wat Pra Singh. During the second day, an activity known as ‘raising the temple grounds,’ is carried out all over Chiang Mai. This is a cultural ritual whereby at dusk, the locals head over towards the Mae Ping River to collect sand from the river banks and take them to the temples. There, the sand is piled up and flowers placed on top.
The fun is said to begin in the last two days of the festival after all family, and spiritual, obligations are completed. There are thousands of tourists, locals, expats and even backpackers running all over the streets armed with water guns and toy weapons that are bound to bring out the child within you. There is generally a good atmosphere in the air that seems to put everyone in a good mood. There are also multiple stages set up with dancing girls who spray the crowd with water from roaming bubble machines and large hoses.
Songkran in Silom, Bangkok.
Looking to celebrate Songkran the modern way? Silom is the place to be. Being one of Bangkok’s busiest financial district and home infamous party streets and several rooftop bars, Silom transforms into an awe-inspiring water fighting zone. It probably has the largest and wildest crowd all over Bangkok on top of that. The road’s entire 5km length is fully crowded with thousands of locals loaded with containers, water guns, and buckets – anything that can carry or spray water.
There is a BTS sky walk that runs above the streets of Silom covered with people who attempt to soak by passers down below wet. You can, therefore, enjoy the whole party with a splendid view of everything and still remain dry. You can witness a colorful crowd of people selling items, playing games and splashing water on each other. Sounds entertaining, doesn’t it?
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