Water Festival Bangkok
Songkran 2018, no exception to the rule, water everywhere, no way you can escape to be splashed wherever you walk around the city. Water fights and street parties in the blistering heat. Most of the Bangkokians going to their province for family reunions, and during this week Bangkok is very quiet, no more crazy traffic, but a lot of tourists. Songkran is the most important and most celebrated festival, it’s also the Thai new year and the National Elderly Day. The traditional holiday takes place every year from 13 to 15 of April.
Songkran means to move or pass into, it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. The origin is from the ancient Indian Makar Sankranti Festival. The ancient visited the temples and provided food to the monks. Scented water was poured over the monks, and was collected to bring it back to friends and loved ones, then poured the water to each other as they believed the water was blessed. A symbol of washing from bad fortunes and sins of the past year, and a fresh start for the new one. Songkran was the New Year’s Day until 1888, it’s only in 1940 the first of January was adopted.
Songkran Festival Day
The first day is called Wan Maha Songkran, the houses, schools, temples, offices, are cleaned, throwing everything old and useless. Thai perform the traditional ritual called, the Rod Nam Dum Hua, young people gently pour a bowl of perfumed water into the palm’s or shoulders of the elders and ask their blessing. The second day called Wan Nao is the family day, food is prepared for alms to the monks the next day. The third,15 of April Wan Thalerng Sok is new year’s day, the day to visit the temple giving food and clothes to the monks. A religious ritual is to bathe the Buddha image, pouring perfumed water on the statue is believed to bring good luck.
Happy Songkran Day
Although these rituals are still respected, however since then things have changed. Nowadays is more about, Buckets, water pistols, throwing water from containers on trucks and pickups, garden hose standing at the side of roads soaking motorbikes, cars, and of course passers-by, tourists alike. You may also be smeared with Din So Pong which is a natural white talcum powder mixed with water that was used by the monks for a blessing. The Thais put it on their faces during the whole Songkran festival, it’s refreshing and also good for acne, oil balance and tightening the skin.
Lumpini Park Celebration
The official this year has moved the celebration from Sanam Luang to Lumpini Park. The procession of the Phra Buddha Sihing has taken place the 12, April, and on the 13th the merit-making, giving monks alms and traditional water pouring on the hands of the elderly.
A wild world, the long street, of the famous Patpong, is flooded with thousands of packed people. The highlight is the firetrucks with their very powerful hoses. Din so pong is not allowed, and everyone is checked by the security guards at the entrance. You can have a view of the party from above at the BTS skywalk, but don’t expect to stay dry. BTS and MRT Saladaeng.
Kao San Absolute Madness
The Wildest crowd, water fights no stop, crazy but everybody has fun. Podium with dancers, bars cover with plastic shelters. Although the police control at the entrances and don’t allow alcohol, you still can buy all once in the street. But don’t forget it’s hot, can reach 40 Celsius. Going there
Soy Cowboy and Soi Nana Happy Time
If you think Kao San road or Silom is too crowded, try both highlight nightspot of Bangkok, Soi Cowboy, and Nana. My preference going to Soi Cowboy. As soon you are in you get absolutely wet! Short street but you can easily spend hours there, good atmosphere. BTS, MRT Asoke station. Nana BTS station
Central World. Compared with all the places, is wiser and more chic. BTS Chidlom or Siam station
Siam Square. The place for the teens. Loud music. BTS Siam station
Royal City Avenue. Known as RCA, street parties and the biggest event S20 festival for 20+. Rama 9 MRT and taxi.
To crown the festivities every year a miss Songkran is elected. Miss 2018, will take place on the 4th of April. This year a special contest, for children 5-9 years old, young girls 18-25, and 60 up will have their miss.
Phra Pradaeng Mon Songkram Style
If you are coming late in Bangkok, you could live one of the most beautiful Songkran festival In a more traditional way at Phra Pradaeng on the island of Bang Krachao, Samut Prakarn province. Thai Mon people style, of course, you will get splashed, but a lot of cultural activities to enjoy, Raman dances, Thai-Raman flag, the release of birds and fish ceremonies and many more, and an outstanding floral parade the last day. From 20 to 22 April.
I was there on 22 of April and had a good time, and one more time Thai people were incredibly nice, and like to have fun. I took a boat from Wat Klong Toei Nok and a moto-taxi, no need to mention where I was going. After a few minutes drive, I was soaked, some cold water, but it was so hot (38ºC) I loved it. 10 km drive, nearly 40 minutes, splash and talcum powder and so on all the way. Not Silom or Kao San Road, I saw no more than 15 foreigners. The beautiful parade started at 5 pm from the stage and no splashing, so I had time to dry and thought will be back as is. I was wrong. I have been back the same way as coming, and the same happens, splashed, again and again, never mind I took a good shower at home. Phra Pradaeng is a very Thai Songkran festival I really enjoyed and will be there again next year.
To Go There
From Wat Klong Toei Nok Pier or Bangna Na Nok pier, at Sanphawut Bang Na BTS station
Take a taxi from Taksin BTS station, around 10 minutes 120 – 140 baht
This year will be my..oh! already. Do I still enjoy it, will see? I did!
Sawasdee Pee Mai, happy new year in Thai
- I celebrated Songkran 2019 in Satun, with the exception of Phuket the southern provinces are much quieter.
What is Open and Close
Many of Family business, restaurants are closed
Saen Saeb canal boat will be closed from 13 to 15
Last year I had a toothache, and couldn’t find a dentist, most of the clinics are closed, hospitals open
BTS and MRT working, 3 days free for 60 years old and up
Chao Phraya Express boat on service
Wear a colorful shirt, sandal strap, eye protection, and a waterproof pouch, just carry the necessary things with you
Water gun don’t buy it on the spot, overcharge, and before buying test it first, some have leaks
If you get the white powder in the eyes wash it quickly and don’t rub it
PVC pipes are very powerful, walk away from them
Be aware Some buckets contain ice water and can be very cold
Wearing white? nice but when wet it goes see-through
Try to hide and splash without being seen, VDO games mood
Stay vigilant pickpockets gang on the loose
In some more quiet places, you can ask or show you don’t want to get wet, and most of them will respect your wish. Stay away from drunk people.
if you have any questions, I will be more than happy to help you out
The government announced a five day holiday this year from Friday, April 12
No Songkran in Kao San this year. Due to the preparations for the decorations in Ratanakosin for the King’s Coronation Ceremony from May 4 – 6, all activities of the Songkran Festival are canceled.
Songkran Phra Pradaeng 2019. 19 – 21 April
Free entry to the Bank of Thailand Museum (Bangkhunprom Palace).
Songkran 2020 from Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 April
Pattaya, famous Songkran on April 19 where there are extended days called “Wan Lai” (day that flows)
I hope this will be useful to you in planning your next trip to Bangkok. If you have any questions, I will be happy to help you out.
Your support messages and comments are always welcome.