I like to attend different festivals because they give me the experience of local culture and traditions. Whenever I get a chance to be part of any festival, I grab it. Here I am going to share my experience of Songkran Bangkok.
Check my post about Things to do in Bangkok and my 3 days Itinerary.
In 2017 I visited Bangkok during Songkran festival time. Songkran is Thai new year festival and celebrated for 3 days from 13th to 15th April. Most of the places in Thailand remain closed during this time and everyone celebrate the festival in the happy spirit. Some streets remain closed to traffic and work as designated areas for water fights. Children, young & old people, everyone follows the tradition of water throwing on each other.
I reached Bangkok on 13th early morning and took the airport metro to my hotel. I reached by 7 AM and checked in. I asked reception where I can go to celebrate Songkran and they told me that the closest celebration area is Silom street. The traffic is closed on the road and it is full of people celebrating the festival. It is always recommended to make your group when you go to the Songkran festival because then you can enjoy more. I was alone so, I checked with the lady on reception if other people are going for it from the hotel. She informed me that some people leaving for festival around 1.00 PM. I decided to take nap before going to the festival.
Also check some fun things to do in Bangkok and How to get to Khao San from Suvarnabhumi Airport
All of us walked to Silom road and from far away I noticed there were so many people on the road. There were roadblocks to stop traffic and as we crossed barricade I saw there were people from all nationalities enjoying the water throwing on each other. A couple of people in our group came prepared with water guns and tiny buckets to throw water. The crowd on Silom road was moving in one direction and people were throwing water on each other. Some of the people standing on side of the roads and throwing water on people walking. It was so much fun. There were water guns and buckets for sale, in case if someone is not prepared. People were selling water for refilling, infect most of them were selling cold water (Water with ice)… Haha… Yes. They have put big blocks of ice in water and water was chilled. Thankfully it was hot so, cold water was a fun and welcome relief. We spent some 3 hours on Silom road before coming back to the hotel.Lots of people were going and coming on Silom road. The festival of water throwing goes until midnight and then again starts in morning, this routine goes on for 3 days. At night it is more of the party scene on the roads where Songkran festival is celebrated. Infect people were throwing water on everyone while we were walking on the street or on people traveling in a tuk-tuk.
Don’t shy away and use kiddo guns to throw water. It is super fun.
Here is a small video of people moving on Silom Road during Songkran Bangkok People walking on Silom Road
Another place I went to on the second day after Royal Palace was Wat Pho. There Songkran water festival was celebrated in a different way. People were visiting the Buddha temple to pay respect. Visiting temples and pouring water on Buddha statues is considered an important ritual during this festival.
Water pouring represents the washing away of one’s sins & bad luck and hence purification. In Wat Pho, one monk was pouring water on people with a broom to clear the bad luck. I also stood in line and got myself purified 🙂 It was a wonderful experience.
Watch the small video of purification at Wat Pho Purification ritual by Monk at Wat Pho
On the last day of the Songkran festival, I traveled to Siem Reap Cambodia. In Cambodia, people were celebrating it as Khmer new year and streets were full of people throwing water.
One difference I noticed between Thailand and Cambodia was that in Cambodia people were pouring Telcom powder also with water, whereas in Thailand I saw it very less. In Cambodia people traveling in vehicles in groups with water drums, it was something like water throwing gangs. In Bangkok Songkran, I had not seen this thing.
For more details about Thailand Cambodia border crossing.
Things to remember when attending Songkran Bangkok –
- Don’t carry camera or mobile in open at any public place, in case if you want to take pictures or use the phone then make sure you have a waterproof cover for your electronic items. Waterproof bags for phone and money are available everywhere in Bangkok. Buy one.
- Take part in water throwing. Buy your weapons 😉 I mean water gun or bucket to throw water.
- Wear lightweight or easy drying clothes so that you dry fast and not feel cold as water sometimes is very cold. No one wants to get sick.
- If you don’t want to get wet while traveling than use taxi instead of tuk-tuk because people throw water on vehicles.
- Many food places remain closed or some close little early than usual. Make sure you check for the closing timing else you will get stuck with some bad eating option or have to buy from 7Elevan.
- Don’t get offended if someone throws water on you. Usually, people don’t throw water if you make the sign of NO from distance.
- If you are traveling during Songkran Festival then be prepared for closed markets.