Songkran: Celebrating Thai New Year In Bangkok + Helpful Tips
What is Songkran?
Have you experienced a New Years celebration unlike any you’re used to? When I was in Thailand during my round the world trip, I was able to celebrate Songkran which I knew nothing about previously. My timing was purely coincidental and I’m so happy I was able to experience this interesting and crazy cultural celebration.
Songkran is the Thai New Year! It coincides with many other New Years’ celebrations in Southeast Asia like Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Lao. It’s now known as the biggest water fight in the world. The tradition is to throw water at others for the duration of the 4-day celebrations. Throwing or pouring water symbolizes the cleansing of sins.
While I was in Bangkok I stayed with my friend DJ Ono, who I know from growing up in Vancouver. My original plans were to only spend a couple of days in Bangkok. My itinerary was to go island hopping in the south. Of course, there was a cog in my wheel and there was a flood on Koh Samui. The Thai Navy evacuated anyone who was on the island.
Not to mention the Vancouver Canucks, the hockey team, were in the playoffs. And they were winning. DJ Ono loves the Canucks. He believed that if I changed our daily routine of watching the games together, it would affect the outcome. He forced (my rubber arm) to stay until the playoff series was over. Haha!
It was perfect timing that Songkran fell on the days I was in Bangkok. Ono was performing at a 4-day block party in the RCA district, also known as Royal City Avenue. It’s Bangkok’s nightlife district where many nightclubs line its streets. It’s where locals go party.
We didn’t partake in any other Songkran celebrations other than going to RCA. There are larger celebrations in places like Chiang Mai and Pattaya but I still had an amazing time with my friends in Bangkok.
I didn’t take many photos of my Songkran experience. At the time I didn’t have a waterproof camera or a waterproof case for my iPhone. If you do plan on being in Thailand during Songkran, get a Lifeproof case for your phone or a GoPro. Now I have both now and it’s nice to have that security when near water.
Helpful tips for Songkran:
- Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty in, clothes you may eventually toss out. The water being thrown at you is nasty moat water!
- Guys should wear board shorts and girls should wear bikinis/bathing suit under their clothes. Please note that wet clothes will become sheer or clingy.
- Wear eye protection especially if you wear contacts. I wore glasses and shut my eyes a lot. The water is dirty!
- Keep your mouth closed!
- Wear non-slip waterproof shoes. Whie I was out, I saw so many people slip and fall. I wore Chuck Taylors that I tossed out after the celebrations. They were gross by the end of it. Flip flops are not sturdy but can do the job. Natives Shoes are even better since they are waterproof and have traction.
- If you have a GoPro, now is the time to use it!!!
- If you don’t have a GoPro, at least get a LifeProof case or something like this by Lewis and Clark.
Here are some of my photos at RCA’s Songkran and two video snippets:
Getting ready to toss a bucket of water at someone
Yes he’s hosing her down
There were thousands of people at RCA’s celebrations. I hosed them down with a fire hose!!
Me and my Songkran crew
Don’t wear white to a water fight!
Here’s are some video snippets from my camera: