If you book your trip to Thailand in April, I got some good news for you. You’ll be in Thailand right on time to celebrate Songkran.

When I attended Holi in India in 2018, I decided to add Songkran to my festival bucket list. You can read all about the best festivals in Asia here.

I wasn’t planning on being in Thailand for Songkran, but life had other plans for me. When I decided to extend my stay in Thailand, I was very happy to realize I’d be in Thailand for Songkran. As I was based in Koh Phangan, I celebrated Songkran there.

Wondering if Koh Phangan is a great option to celebrate Songkran?

I think it is! It’s not the craziest party, of course, but it’s a great option if you want to experience it for one day. If you want to play with water pistols a bit longer, keep reading to see what it’s like to celebrate Songkran in other parts of Thailand.

Wait, what is Songkran?

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. Also known as the water festival, it marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. The holidays normally lasts 3 days, but depending on where you are in Thailand, Songkran is celebrated one day or longer.

Planning your upcoming adventures? Travel by bus! (It’s cheap!)

Next Songkran Festival Dates:

The next Songkran will be celebrated from April 13 to April 15, 2020.

How to Say “Happy New Year” in Thai?

To say Happy New Year in Thai, you can say “Sawadee Pee Mai”.

What It’s Like to Celebrate Songkran in Koh Phangan, Thailand

I had previously asked locals about Songkran in Koh Phangan. I knew Songkran could be super crazy in some parts of Thailand and I wanted to know if this would be the case in Koh Phangan too. They told me Songkran wasn’t that crazy and it would last one day.  

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PSST. You should note that most restaurants and shops will be closed on Songkran, so be aware of the fact you might have to eat snacks at the 7/11 for dinner.

We woke up that morning with the idea to go work in a café (digital nomads here, hello!). We used our backpack waterproof cover to keep them safe and we started driving. It took a bit before we got “wet” but we did arrive at the café and we weren’t dry at all, ha!

That being said – going outside means it’s at your own risks!

We worked for a few hours and then we headed back home. Of course, we did buy water pistols along the way. We bought some big ones for TBH 280 each. You can fill up these pistols pretty much everywhere on the street – you’ll see water oses as well as big buckets of water.

We dropped off our laptops at home, put our swimsuits on and went for it. We parked our scooter in Thong Sala (close to the pier) and we saw that the road was closed for cars. So many pedestrians were armed with their water pistols and ready to attack us.

There was also a party with a DJ and everyone was dancing around in the afternoon.  It basically lasted for a while, and eventually, we got tired and headed back home. It took a lot of energy, ha!

Let the photos speak for themselves!

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Songkran in Koh Phangan

Where Can You Celebrate Songkran in Thailand?

Songkran is celebrated everywhere in Thailand, but some parties are way bigger than others.  The most popular one is in Chiang Mai where the celebrations last for about a week and start even the day before. A lot of people travel to Chiang Mai to attend this event. 

Another great option to consider would be Bangkok – which is pretty massive too but doesn’t last as long as Chiang Mai.

You should also note that it can get dangerous too. Remember not to drink and drive, and be careful out there! Read more about the injuries and deaths during Songkran in 2019.

Songkran Tips for First-Timers

  • If playing with water sounds fun, you should also keep in mind that the pistols are filled again with water (sometimes dirty), and it’s pretty common to get ear or eye infections after the festival. That being said, if you wear contact lens – make sure to bring drops with you or eye contact liquid because, yes, your contact lens will get stuck in your eyelids regularly – there’s no pity at Songkran – people will aim for your pretty eyes.  I do wear contact lens and I got home with ugly red eyes. Thankfully, I always travel with antibiotic drops and the situation was resolved quickly. It’s also common to see people wearing Snorkel mask, Goggles and sunglasses during Songkran.
  • Apart from that, as I said above, if you go outside during Songkran, it’s at your own risks.  That being said, expect to be soaking wet pretty quickly, so do not bring your non-waterproof phone or your money without a waterproof bag or a dry bag. I brought my waterproof GoPro with me and a dry bag, and everything seemed to be fine!
  • Be careful while driving, people will try to get you even when you drive. A lot of crashes can happen on Songkran, so if you don’t feel comfortable driving, you could always walk.
  • Don’t wear your prettiest clothes either. It’s common to see people applying flour on other people.  That’s not a huge problem, but it’s also common to see people adding colors to the water and you won’t want to ruin your cute outfit.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance ready. As I mentioned above, a lot of people get injuries during Songkran or even some sort of infections. Better be safe than sorry! Check the options on World Nomads or SafetyWing. You can read more about travel insurance here.
Have you experienced Songkran before? Do you have any tips to share?
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