If you find yourself anywhere in Thailand during mid-April, there is no getting away from being splashed (the only exceptions to this would be monks, new born babies and the elderly), even if you are dressed in your nicest clothes… so leave your best suit and suede shoes at home. Also, take good care of cameras, passports, and other valuables – keep them in your hotel safe or, if you have to bring them out, waterproof bags are widely available and should be used. One phrase you will hear all over Thailand during Songkran is “Sawadee Bee Mai” which means ‘Happy New Year’, it is sure to be greeted with smiles and is the best way to make new friends. Every provincial town will have some form of celebration and often the local exuberance in small towns can be as much fun as in any of the most popular towns and beach resorts listed above. Just remember to take a splashing with the good humour in which it is intended, and if you don’t like being splashed, stay indoors or in the confines of your hotel.
15 Tips for Enjoying Songkran in Thailand
- It’s all just fun, so don’t get angry.
- You’re going to get soaked. Just accept it.
- If you want to stay dry, stay inside.
- You might get daubed in a grey-white paste made of scented powder and water. It’s harmless, but stings if it gets in your eyes.
- Say: “sawadee bee mai”. It means: “Happy New Year!”
- Sunglasses will protect your eyes from water and the mysterious paste.
- Use a waterproof pouch (cheap and widely available) to protect valuables.
- Don’t wear white – it goes see-through when wet!
- Monks are highly respected in Thailand, so never throw water at them.
- People riding a motorbike could have an accident if suddenly soaked.
- People riding tuk tuks or songthaews are sitting ducks – lock and load!
- Avoid driving motorbikes during Songkran. Use four-wheeled public transport or walk.
- Secure your valuables in your room and be mindful of any you do take with you.
- Avoid swallowing the water being sprayed at you – you don’t know where it came from!
- Wet tiled floors will be slippery, so be careful of your footing.