SONGKRAN ACTIVITIES

4 MUST Do Songkran Activities That Can Be Done Anywhere In Thailand

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Want to know what the best Songkran activities are? This guide will cover everything you need to know from what Songkran is, where it’s celebrated the hardest and what Songkran activities can be done anywhere in the country!

Ever since COVID came into play which cancelled Songkran for a few years in a row the Thai people have been on a mission to make each year bigger and better! 

I attended the Songkran festival in the heart of Bangkok in 2023 and let me tell you I have never EVER experienced something so mental in my whole life.

Flying to Thailand for Songkran? Check out our guide to 15 Fun Things To Do On A Long Flight

I’ve almost made it my mission to return to Thailand yearly just for Songkran!

From my Songkran experience, I can safely say you’re about to have the time of your life!

Of course, each city is different but this guide is designed so you know what you can expect anywhere in Thailand.

By now I’m sure you’re aware Songkran is essentially one massive water fight. It’s in fact the biggest water fight in the world

So let’s begin this guide to the MUST do Songkran Activities that can be done anywhere in Thailand!

What Is Thai New Year? [Songkran Festival]

Songkran (Thai New Year) is a vibrant and culturally significant festival celebrated annually in April. This lively event spans three to five days, marking the transition from the end of the dry season to the rainy season in Thailand.

One of the main features of Songkran is the exuberant water festival, where locals and tourists alike engage in spirited water fights on the streets.

The water element symbolises purification and the washing away of misfortunes, a ritual deeply rooted in Thai traditions. People use water guns, buckets, and even elephants to drench each other playfully. 

The white paste people wipe on you symbolises protection to ward off evil and fight bad luck and sins. From my experience, if someone puts white paste on you they usually just like the look of you 🤣.

Apart from the water festivities, Songkran is also a time for religious and cultural observances. Temples hold ceremonies, and devout Buddhists participate in merit-making activities. Traditionally, families come together to pay respect to their elders, seeking blessings for the upcoming year. 

In essence, Songkran encapsulates the Thai spirit of fun, religious beliefs, and familial bonds. It stands as a testament to the nation’s rich cultural heritage, making it an experience that is both deeply rooted in history and thoroughly enjoyable for participants.

For most major cities Songkran is celebrated from the 13th to 15th April. Participating in Songkran is a traditional Thai festival, it’s truly unique to the country!

Songkran Packing List

So what will you need for three to five days of festivities:

📌 Not sure what to pack for your trip to Southeast Asia? Check out our guide here!

  • 2 Swimsuits
  • 3 Outfits (they’re going to get drenched and ruined in white paste, I recommend re-wearing them each day).
  • Sunscreen
  • Sliders or Flip Flops
  • Pair of Trainers
  • Water Gun (You can buy these from one of the stalls but the quality is lacking, if you can bring one with you from home you’ll be the King or Queen of the streets! Trust me this one is BIG!)
  • Waterproof Protector (Again you can buy from a stall but the quality is lacking, I found out the hard way…)
  • GoPro (Essential to capture the spirit of Songkran and not worry about water damage!)
    • Check out our Guide To GoPro if you plan on using them underwater too!

💡 Don’t wear your best clothes they will get ruined!

Clothes can be replaced but memories can’t. Having the best GoPro to record the footage and the best super soaker to drench everyone is ESSENTIAL to make the most of the Songkran activities and events.

The Best Places To Celebrate Songkran In Thailand

Songkran celebrations can be found ALL OVER Thailand.

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It will come as no surprise the major cities have the best parties for Songkran.

The best cities to celebrate Songkran are as follows:

These are the main five where you’ll find the biggest celebrations.

BUT

Do not worry, if your Thailand itinerary means you’re not in one of the major cities during the Songkran celebrations the city or destination you’re in will still be having wild water fights. 

I’ve heard Pai is a hidden gem for Songkran celebrations.

4 MUST Do Songkran Activities

Celebrate the Thai New Year with the world’s largest water fight! That’s right this is honestly like nothing you’ve ever experienced in your life!

Nowhere is safe – in your taxi? you’re getting wet, walking to 7-Eleven you’re drenched, it’s mad!

Here are the Songkran activities you MUST consider when attending Songkran in Thailand.

Songkran Music Festival

The most fun Songkran celebrations you can attend are water music festivals.

PICTURE THIS

Top International Artists, Hard EDM music (or R&B if you’re at Rolling Loud), and endless water cannons soaking you and everyone in attendance. 

I attended S20 when I was in Bangkok for Songkran and my word was it incredible.

With acts like Nicky Romero and Tiesto, the vibes were immaculate. 10/10 would recommend.

So what cities have the best water music festivals:

Prepare for a wild and wet Songkran experience because this is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.

Drinks inside the venues are significantly more expensive than your usual alcohol in Thailand. Make sure your pre-drinks go hard!

Loud music, water spraying and lasers lining the sky it’s no wonder why these Songkran parties attract backpackers to come back year after year. 

There are different packages you can buy when attending these music festivals. You can get the VIP packages and get backstage access or go for normal admission the choice is yours.

Street Parties

The most common to celebrate Songkran events is via street parties held all over Thailand.

This is BIG!

Thai locals and travellers alike line the streets armed with water guns and white paste looking to find the next victim they can spray with the ice-cold water.

To be honest the water is nice when you’re being baked in the Thai heat. Make sure you participate in the water fights as anyone seen to be hiding will soon find themselves being laced with water, you have been warned 👀.

So what parts of Thailand are the most popular destinations in each city/island:

  • Bangkok – Khao San Road
  • Bangkok – RCA
  • Bangkok – Silom
  • Bangkok – Siam 
  • Chiang Mai – Thapae Gate
  • Pattaya – Walking Street
  • Phuket – Patong Beach
  • Phuket – Bangla Road
  • Koh Samui – Chaweng Beach

To refill your water guns or buckets down these popular destinations will cost you around 20 to 50 THB. 

For less than £1 you can spray and pour water all over your fellow Songkran enjoyers. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

These Songkran activities will last all day and night. I was out till 06:00 on the final night of Songkran, the Thai people know how to party!

Visit Temples In The Traditional Way

A way to experience the cultural significance of the festival is by visiting one of the many temples of Thailand and take part in the cultural activities and events they host.

There are various cultural activities you can get involved in to learn the significance of Songkran and why the festival is celebrated throughout Thailand.

Engage in traditional Songkran activities, such as offering alms to monks or participating in serene prayer sessions, allowing you to connect spiritually with the essence of Songkran.

Witness or join the ceremonial cleansing of Buddha statues by pouring water on Buddha statues, a symbolic act representing the purification of the soul and renewal.

Moreover, display utmost respect for elders during Songkran by performing a ritual known as “Rod Nam Dum Hua.” Gently pour scented water over the hands of elders as a sign of respect, seeking blessings and expressing gratitude for their wisdom. This ritual underscores the importance of intergenerational respect and family bonds during the festival.

This is how you celebrate a traditional Thai New Year, but I get it the fun is really in the water fights and festivities.

City Hopping

This is something you should seriously consider.

With Thailand having such fun celebrations all over the country it would be a shame to just stick to one destination. 

Not only can you enjoy the festivities in numerous destinations in Thailand but you can in Cambodia too! Yet another top destination for Songkran.

During the same dates, you can celebrate Khmer Songkran in Siem Reap.

Cambodia’s Khmer Songkran also hosts a series of Songkran activities including wild water fights like Thailand. Celebrating in Cambodia offers a unique experience for travellers wanting to make the most of their Southeast Asia adventures.

With flights, buses and even sleeper trains so easily available nowadays transport to any part of Thailand, or Cambodia, should be considered. After all, when are you going to get the chance to celebrate Songkran again?

Here are some example routes you can take: [1 Destination per day or spend 2 days at one place before moving on].

  • Pattaya -> Bangkok
  • Bangkok -> Chiang Mai
  • Bangkok -> Siem Reap
  • Koh Samui -> Phuket -> Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai -> Bangkok -> Phuket

If you book far enough in advance you can get flights relatively cheaply which means you get to experience the different Songkran celebrations – from Bangkok’s Songkran Festival to the popular beach destination of Patong in Phuket – Each destination is celebrated in different ways so make sure you see as much as possible!

Final Thoughts

So there you have it the MUST do Songkran activities you can do almost anywhere in Thailand.

Thailand’s Songkran is something every person should experience AT LEAST once in their life.

Water fights and street parties that are celebrated with great enthusiasm last all day and night. If you’re a party animal, like myself, then Thailand’s Songkran water festival is an event you have to attend.

Remember Songkran is between the 13 to 15th April 2024. If you’re in the country be prepared!