Want to celebrate Songkran in Isaan and the Northern provinces? You had better book now.


Apr 12-14. Roads around Ku Muang canal
Regarded as one of Thailand’s largest Songkran festivals, Chiang Mai’s Pra We Nee Pii Mai Muang offers the best of both worlds, with Lanna cultural events at sacred temples (such as Phra Sing and Phra That Doi Suthep temples) and a big water splashing event around the Ku Muang canal. (Fear not, the water’s been specially cleaned.) It all kicks off with a cultural parade on the first day, of which the highlights are the float carrying the sacred Phra Buddha Sihing and the Nang Songkran Chiang Mai beauty pageant. More information at Chiang Mai metropolitan office, 053-259-000.
Stay here: Hotel M (www.hotelmchiangmai.com) is sat right at Tha Pae Gate and Ku Muang canal. Rooms start from B2,090 with breakfast.


Apr 13-15 at Thanon Khao Tan
As started last year, the 500-meter-long Sumon Thevaraj Road is temporarily renamed Thanon Khao Tan during the festivities with trucks supplying water to the area all day. If you’re seeking refuge from the deluge, Wat Phumin is only a few steps away.
Stay here: The all-teakwood Pukha Nanfa Hotel (from B2,300, 054-771-111, www.pukhananfahotel.co.th) is sat right on Sumon Devaraj Road where the water fight occurs.


Apr 13-15 at Thanon Khon Muan
The northernmost province celebrates the New Year with traditional rituals like offering alms to monks and sprinkling water on Buddha images and the elderly at Suan Tung and Khom Chalerm Prakiat. On the other side of town, youngsters will enter into a water war along San Khong Luang Road, which is named Thanon Khon Muan for Songkran, when it transforms into a weekend walking street. TAT Chiang Rai 053-717-433.
Stay here: Budget boutique hotels B2 Chiang Rai and B2 Night Bazaar Chiang Rai (from B890, www.b2hotel.com) are located not far from San Khong Luang Road and the night market, while The North (from B450, 053-719-873, www.thenorth.co.th) is right at the center of the night market.


Apr 12-15 at Chommanee Beach on Mekong River
The celebrations take place along the Mekong River, with the biggest gathering at Hat Chommanee where Thai and Lao people come together for a friendly splash. As for cultural events, visit Wat Phochai to bathe the revered Luang Pho Phra Sai Buddha image. More information at TAT Nong Khai 042-421-326.
Stay here: The Royal Mekong Nong Khai (from B1,200, 042-465-777, www.royalmekong.com) is on the Chommanee beachfront next to the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.


Apr 12-14 at UD Town
The giant community mall UD Town hosts Udon Thani’s largest Songkran celebration for the fourth year running. Chang Wonder Water Land will feature everything from cultural events, like bathing Buddha images and receiving holy water from sacred monks to an all-day dance party underneath a 150-meter-long water tunnel. They claim that last year 400,000 Thais and Laotians attended, so be prepared. (11am till midnight. Thong Yai Rd., 042 932 999, www.goudtown.com)
Stay here: Pannarai Hotel (042-344-999, 042-345-111) and Paradise Hotel (www.paradiseudon.com) are new and comprise contemporary rooms with facilities like a restaurant and swimming pool. Both are close to UD Town and CentralPlaza Udon Thani.


Apr 11-18 at Thanon Khao Niao
Isaan’s largest Songkran celebration kicks off early with a cultural parade and showcases at various spots around Khon Kaen town, but the main highlight is the water splashing event, which sees Sri Chan Road temporarily named Khao Niao Road and kids from all over Isaan coming together to mark the occasion.
Stay here: Pullman Khon Kaen Raja Orchid (www.pullmanhotels.com) is the only international-chain hotel in town with rates from B2,860, while Glacier Hotel (from B1,827, 043-334-999, www.glacier-hotel.com) offers a more fashionable ambiance with a white and icy blue palette. 

Information and dates are based on previous years, as most details for 2013 have not been confirmed at the time of going to press. As such, all details are subject to change. Check songkran.tourismthailand.org for the most up-to-date information.


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