Songkran Water Festival in 2024: Everything you need to know

Songkran Water Festival in 2024: Everything you need to know

The Thai Water Festival, famously known as Songkran, holds a significant place as one of Thailand's most vital celebrations. Marking the inception of the new year in accordance with the Buddhist calendar, this festival ignites the nation with religious ceremonies, processions, traditional dances, and, notably, spirited water battles. Within this piece, we aim to immerse you in this period of jubilation and purification, as Thais unite to exchange wishes for a joyous new year by joyfully dousing one another with water

avatar
Written by Preetika Narula (Local Expert)Updated on 15-04-2024
Comments

1. What is the Thailand Water Festival?

Songkran, known as the Water Festival, commemorates the Thai New Year following the Buddhist calendar. This age-old celebration occurs annually from April 13 and can last between 3-7 days depending on the province in Thailand.

The term 'Songkran' originates from Sanskrit, signifying 'passage'. It denotes the hottest period, signifying the shift from the dry season to the onset of the rainy season, a crucial phase for Thai agriculture. Songkran is absolutely epic, an amazing and unique time to come visit for every tourist.

songkran
People participating in gigantic “water fights”

This festival, aligned with the Buddhist calendar, goes by different names in various parts of Southeast Asia. Termed 'Thingyan' in Burma, 'Chaul Chnam' in Cambodia, and 'Pimay' in Laos.

Water assumes immense significance in this festival, symbolizing renewal by purifying negative energies and ushering in good fortune for the approaching year, per Buddhist beliefs. Symbolically, it holds the power to cleanse the past year, allowing individuals to prepare for the year ahead.

During this celebration, streets teem with people engaged in exuberant 'water fights'. The atmosphere pulsates with music, dance, and joy, creating an unparalleled festive ambiance. By dousing one another, Thai people convey wishes for happiness, prosperity, and good health to themselves and their dear ones.

Check out Time and location of Songkran Festival in Thailand 2024!

songkran water festival
Participants sprinkle each other with water in the Songkran festival

This occasion is also cherished by numerous foreigners who visit to embrace this unique experience and partake in the revelries.

2. How to Celebrate Songkran in Thailand?

During the three-day Songkran festival, numerous traditional activities take place, including water splashing, house and Buddha statue cleaning, temple offerings, and lively street and beach parties.

2.1. The Tradition of Water Pouring

The practice of water splashing originated from collecting water used to cleanse Buddha statues. This water was then poured over family members and elders for blessings. Thais believe in the spiritual purity of water, attributing to it the ability to absolve sins and grudges accumulated in the previous year.

tradition of pouring water
Thai people believe in purifying water to cleanse past sins

Over time, this ritual evolved into a national splashing event, focusing on both joy and spirituality. While locals revel in this aquatic excitement, they also dedicate part of their Songkran to visiting Wats (Buddhist temples) for donations and to accrue merit.

Central to Songkran is the ceremonial bathing. Thais believe water holds the power to purify and rejuvenate the mind and body. During the festivities, participants sprinkle water on each other, wishing a happy new year while cleansing themselves of past year's transgressions. 

participants in songkran water festival
Participants sprinkle each other with water to wish each other a happy new year

2.2 Religious Observances During Songkran

Songkran offers an opportunity for Thais to make offerings to monks. They visit temples to present food, clothing, and other gifts, showing respect and appreciation for the monks' spiritual teachings and seeking blessings for the new year.

Thai people frequently attend temples for prayers and religious ceremonies. They construct sand stupas, known as "chedi," symbolizing renewal and prosperity.

During Songkran, processions enliven the streets in celebration. Participants don traditional attire and carry Buddha statues alongside offerings to temples, often accompanied by music and traditional dances.

religious rituals during Songkran
Sand stupa, called "chedi"

2.3. Decorations and Family Gatherings

Throughout Songkran, houses and temples gleam with garlands of flowers and vibrant flags, as there's a popular belief that these decorations bring luck and ward off evil spirits. Thais embrace the tradition of cleaning their homes and temples, ridding them of negative energies amassed in the past year to usher in the new year with positivity.

Another significant custom during Songkran is “sabai sabai,” which translates to “relax” in Thai. At this time, Thais take moments to unwind, gather with family and friends, and relish outdoor activities.

festival songkran thailand
Decorations of flower garlands and colorful flags

Families often come together to partake in sharing traditional meals, playing games, and participating in various outdoor pursuits. It's also a chance for individuals to don traditional Thai attire, such as the "Thai shush" for women and the "chong kben" for men.

For insightful tips and a comprehensive guide on managing your expenses while exploring the wonders of Thailand in 2024, be sure to check out "Mastering Your Budget in Thailand: Prices and Tips."

3. Where to Celebrate Songkran in Thailand?

3.1. Bangkok

As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok emerges as one of the prime spots to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Songkran. The city streets transform into lively water battlegrounds where locals and tourists engage in spirited water fights, armed with water guns and buckets. Key celebration areas like Silom Road, Khao San Road, and Rama 9 Road offer an unforgettable Songkran experience. Or, give a motorcycle taxi driver ฿1000 to drive you around for a few hours. You'll get soaked.

where is songkran
Songkran festival in Bangkok

3.2. Ayutthaya

For a more traditional Songkran affair, Ayutthaya, an ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam, beckons. Here, you'll partake in traditional Buddhist rituals such as bathing sacred statues and presenting offerings to monks. Ayutthaya offers a serene and spiritual setting to celebrate Songkran.

songkran in ayutthaya
The Songkran water festival in Ayutthaya

3.3. Chiang Mai

Nestled in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai boasts renowned Songkran celebrations. Experience traditional processions, epic water battles, and lively street revelries. The historic city center of Chiang Mai becomes the hub of Songkran festivities, including the not-to-miss Miss Songkran parade showcasing the grace of Thai contestants.

songkran in chiang mai
Songkran water festival in Chiang Mai

3.4. Phuket

The southern paradise of Phuket also ranks high as a Songkran celebration spot. Its beaches transform into colossal water fight arenas where celebrants joyously drench each other. Patong Beach, Karon Beach, and Kata Beach host the main celebrations. After a day of aquatic revelry, unwind at Phuket's beautiful beaches and indulge in the island's diverse array of bars and restaurants. Explore more about Phuket Beach Clubs and Bars.

songkran festival on the beach
Songkran water festival at Phuket beach

Here's a map which will guide you to the best place to celebrate Songkran in Thailand!!

Songkran Map
Source: Amazing Thailand

4. Tips for Maximizing Your Thai New Year Experience

4.1. What to Do During Songkran

  • Extend warm greetings to the Thai people by saying “Sawadee Pee Mai,” conveying “Happy New Year.”
  • Show respect during processions by maintaining humility and restraint, refraining from interfering with rituals unless invited to participate.
  • Opt for public transport due to potential heavy traffic during Songkran; taxis may refuse soaked passengers.
  • Carry only essential items, securely stored in plastic bags.
  • Wear suitable shoes that dry quickly. As Songkran falls in April, Thailand's hot season, wearing lightweight, breathable clothing ensures comfort throughout the day.
  • Keep in mind that during Songkran, most offices, banks, and numerous small shops and restaurants remain closed, while major shopping malls typically stay open.
  • Savor traditional Thai dishes such as Tom Yum, Pad Thai, and Mango Sticky Rice. Also, indulge in a delicious Thai Margarita to quench your thirst!

Learn more about: Greeting in Thai

elephants in festival songkran thailand
The elephants have fun at the water festival with the men

4.2. What NOT to do on Songkran

  • Avoid getting drunk or behaving inappropriately during the festivities. Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Exercise caution when joining water fights to refrain from accidents. DON'T spray water on non-participants such as the elderly or monks. Use clean water responsibly, avoiding wastage.
  • Try not to get shot directly in your ears or eyes it can lead to infections. 
  • Avoid using colored powder during Songkran, as these products can be toxic and cause skin and eye irritation. It's safer to opt for water splashing instead.
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or intoxicants during Songkran; congested roads during the festivities pose significant risks.
  • Do not target unwilling participants or using forceful water jets or dangerous objects during celebrations.
what not to do on songkran
Participants take full advantage of the Thai New Year
Songkran troll
A troll photo of Songkran

Songkran stands as a joyful and spiritually rich celebration, shining a light on Thai traditions and culture. The symbols and rituals of this holiday have deep roots spanning centuries, offering both Thais and visitors a distinct chance to unite, purify, and extend New Year's wishes. Whether you're a local resident or a tourist, engaging in Songkran promises an unforgettable immersion into the essence of Thai culture. Get ready to embrace the fun and water-filled festivities of this upcoming Songkran!

>>> Every month, everything you need to know about Thailand

JANUARY | FEBRUARY | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUGUST | SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER | NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 

Songkran

🚌 Love Thailand? Continue your journey with those articles! 🚌:


Quiz: Do you really know about Thailand?

CLICK TO PLAY

Quiz: Do you really know about Thailand?

Do you really know about Thailand?
1/5.In which city is the Wat Pho temple with the reclining Buddha?
2/5.What is the official name of Thailand from the following options:
3/5.Which is the national dish in Thailand among the following choices?
4/5.Which region in Thailand has most of the islands and beaches?
5/5.Which spicy and aromatic Thai dish consists of stir-fried rice noodles, among the following options?
Congratulations
CLOSE
Congratulations2
CLOSE
Congratulations3
CLOSE
Your question or comment
Related articles
 The mysteries unveiled at the Night of Museums in Thailand 2023
The mysteries unveiled at the Night of Museums in Thailand 2023
The Night of Museums 2023 in Thailand unveils its treasures. Explore 48 museums, from Bangkok to Phuket, for an unforgettable cultural experience.
Exploring the First Vietnamese Quarter in Thailand
Exploring the First Vietnamese Quarter in Thailand
Experience the essence of Vietnam in the heart of Thailand. Discover the first Vietnamese quarter, a place where culture, cuisine, and hospitality harmoniously come together.
Festivals and Activities in Thailand - November 2024
Festivals and Activities in Thailand - November 2024
Explore exciting festivals and activities throughout Thailand in November 2024. A comprehensive guide for a memorable month.
Mastering Your Budget in Thailand 2024: Prices and Tips
Mastering Your Budget in Thailand 2024: Prices and Tips
In this article, discover all the tricks to optimize your budget and find the best prices for your stay, so you can fully enjoy this fascinating destination.
Same New Tax, Different Destinies: Thailand Soars, Bali Struggles
Same New Tax, Different Destinies: Thailand Soars, Bali Struggles
In the battle for Southeast Asian tourism supremacy, Thailand's nightlife revival and Bali's tourist tax dilemma take center stage. Thailand extends nightlife hours, attracting visitors and boosting the economy, while Bali's tourist tax raises concerns about its attractiveness. Let's discover the contrasting strategies and their impact on these tropical destinations.
Thailand - The Land of All-Night Fun!
Thailand - The Land of All-Night Fun!
Embark on an adventure in Thailand, where legendary all-nighters and dazzling celebrations await. Dive into the vibrant nightlife paradise, where entertainment springs to life at every turn!
Thailand in April, Here Comes a Tropical Paradise!
Thailand in April, Here Comes a Tropical Paradise!
Thailand is a destination that captivates travelers all year round. However, the month of April offers a particularly rich experience to discover this fabulous country. Between tropical heat, vibrant traditional festivals, and lush nature, Thailand in April will delight your senses. Majestic temples, dreamy beaches, or the festive atmosphere of Songkran, there is something for everyone! Discover in this article the many facets of Thailand in April.
Thailand Islands: Guide to Choosing the Best One in 2024
Thailand Islands: Guide to Choosing the Best One in 2024
Thailand is a dream destination for nature lovers, culture enthusiasts, and adventurers. This Southeast Asian country has more than 300 islands, some of which are among the most beautiful and pristine in the world. Whether you are looking for relaxing on white sandy beaches, exploring underwater worlds rich in biodiversity, discovering Buddhist temples, or having authentic experiences with the locals, you will surely find your happiness in the Thai islands. But how to choose among so many possibilities? What is the best time to go? How to get to the islands? In this article, we give you all the tips and information you need to plan your trip to the tropical islands in Thailand. We also present to you our selection of the best islands to visit in this article.
Related Tours
21-Day Journey through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand
21-Day Journey through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand
Discover the magic of four enchanting countries over 21 days: Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Immerse yourself in the diverse cultures and stunning landscapes of Southeast Asia on this unforgettable journey.
A 21-day adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand
A 21-day adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand
Experience an extraordinary 21-day tour through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, meticulously crafted for nature and culture aficionados. Discover the most captivating landscapes, delve into rich cultural tapestries, and savor delectable cuisines. Amidst these adventures, indulge in moments of luxury and relaxation, ensuring an unforgettable escapade.
Best of Northern Thailand in 10 Days
Best of Northern Thailand in 10 Days
Explore a 10-day adventure in Thailand, discovering Bangkok's lively heart, Ayutthaya's history, and Chiang Mai's enchanting north. Journey further to find the beautiful sights of Chiang Rai, Pai's relaxed vibe, and Mae Hong Son's calm beauty. Dive into the cultures of diverse hill tribes, making the region rich in culture. Taste unique local foods from each tribe, each with its delicious dishes. Experience the traditions and history while enjoying the stunning northern scenery.
Best of Vietnam Cambodia and Thailand Tour in 3 Weeks
Best of Vietnam Cambodia and Thailand Tour in 3 Weeks
Experience the captivating beauty of Southeast Asia during this 21-day odyssey. From the tranquil countryside of Chiang Mai to the vibrant floating markets of Thailand, immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes and cultural gems of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Discover the serene charm of Chiang Mai and the bustling energy of Thailand's floating markets, making this journey a feast for the eyes and soul.
12-Day Itinerary: Thailand & Vietnam: Islands, Temples & More
12-Day Itinerary: Thailand & Vietnam: Islands, Temples & More
Celebrate this year with a 12-day tour of Vietnam and Thailand. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or on your own, this journey is promising to give you an itinerary packed with engaging activities and fascinating visits.
Discovering Central and Northern Thailand in 2 Weeks
Discovering Central and Northern Thailand in 2 Weeks
If you seek adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable family moments, this 2-week Thailand tour is tailor-made for you! With a moderate pace, you'll embark on a journey from majestic temples to pristine white sandy beaches, savoring delicious cuisine and embracing unique experiences. Every step of this adventure promises to be memorable. Join us as we explore the enchanting corners of Thailand, crafting precious memories for you and your children!
Discovering Thailand & Vietnams multifaceted beauty in 14 days
Discovering Thailand & Vietnam's multifaceted beauty in 14 days
You will delve into Vietnam and Thailand's most promising destinations in just 14 days. Then have the chance to explore iconic landmarks, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious cuisines. Unravel rich histories, learn from locals, and feel the true essence of these captivating countries. This itinerary is perfect for culture enthusiasts, foodies, and nature lovers, this transformative journey promises lasting memories.
Epic Escapade in Vietnam and Thailand: 3 Weeks of Adventure
Epic Escapade in Vietnam and Thailand: 3 Weeks of Adventure
Experience the essence of Southeast Asia in one comprehensive journey through Vietnam and Thailand. Cruise along the Mekong, marvel at ancient temples, and find serenity in the romantic ambiance of Chiang Mai.
Tour suggestions
21-Day Journey through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand

21-Day Journey through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand

Discover the magic of four enchanting countries over 21 days: Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Immerse yourself in the diverse cultures and stunning landscapes of Southeast Asia on this unforgettable journey.

23/01/2024 5,239 views
A 21-day adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

A 21-day adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

Experience an extraordinary 21-day tour through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, meticulously crafted for nature and culture aficionados. Discover the most captivating landscapes, delve into rich cultural tapestries, and savor delectable cuisines. Amidst these adventures, indulge in moments of luxury and relaxation, ensuring an unforgettable escapade.

03/04/2024 5,620 views
Best of Northern Thailand in 10 Days

Best of Northern Thailand in 10 Days

Explore a 10-day adventure in Thailand, discovering Bangkok's lively heart, Ayutthaya's history, and Chiang Mai's enchanting north. Journey further to find the beautiful sights of Chiang Rai, Pai's relaxed vibe, and Mae Hong Son's calm beauty. Dive into the cultures of diverse hill tribes, making the region rich in culture. Taste unique local foods from each tribe, each with its delicious dishes. Experience the traditions and history while enjoying the stunning northern scenery.

24/01/2024 5,421 views
Best of Vietnam Cambodia and Thailand Tour in 3 Weeks

Best of Vietnam Cambodia and Thailand Tour in 3 Weeks

Experience the captivating beauty of Southeast Asia during this 21-day odyssey. From the tranquil countryside of Chiang Mai to the vibrant floating markets of Thailand, immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes and cultural gems of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Discover the serene charm of Chiang Mai and the bustling energy of Thailand's floating markets, making this journey a feast for the eyes and soul.

23/02/2024 5,039 views
12-Day Itinerary: Thailand & Vietnam: Islands, Temples & More

12-Day Itinerary: Thailand & Vietnam: Islands, Temples & More

Celebrate this year with a 12-day tour of Vietnam and Thailand. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or on your own, this journey is promising to give you an itinerary packed with engaging activities and fascinating visits.

15/04/2024 5,579 views
Discovering Central and Northern Thailand in 2 Weeks

Discovering Central and Northern Thailand in 2 Weeks

If you seek adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable family moments, this 2-week Thailand tour is tailor-made for you! With a moderate pace, you'll embark on a journey from majestic temples to pristine white sandy beaches, savoring delicious cuisine and embracing unique experiences. Every step of this adventure promises to be memorable. Join us as we explore the enchanting corners of Thailand, crafting precious memories for you and your children!

24/01/2024 4,891 views
Discovering Thailand & Vietnams multifaceted beauty in 14 days

Discovering Thailand & Vietnam's multifaceted beauty in 14 days

You will delve into Vietnam and Thailand's most promising destinations in just 14 days. Then have the chance to explore iconic landmarks, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious cuisines. Unravel rich histories, learn from locals, and feel the true essence of these captivating countries. This itinerary is perfect for culture enthusiasts, foodies, and nature lovers, this transformative journey promises lasting memories.

05/02/2024 5,581 views
Epic Escapade in Vietnam and Thailand: 3 Weeks of Adventure

Epic Escapade in Vietnam and Thailand: 3 Weeks of Adventure

Experience the essence of Southeast Asia in one comprehensive journey through Vietnam and Thailand. Cruise along the Mekong, marvel at ancient temples, and find serenity in the romantic ambiance of Chiang Mai.

23/01/2024 5,037 views