Where to celebrate the biggest, wettest and definitely most fun festival in Thailand (Apr 13-15, 2016).
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April is Thailand’s hottest month, and marks the transition between the end of the dry season and the start of the rice-growing season. As such, it was traditionally considered the beginning of the New Year. It’s a time to pay respect, let off steam and celebrate. That means you can expect two very different kinds of events during Songkran: mad, country-wide water wars and serene traditional ceremonies at temples. Here is our full guide to enjoying the Thai New Year.
“Traditional” and “Songkran in Bangkok” don’t really sit well together, as the festival has become an excuse for an all-out three-day water war, but this year the Tourism Authority of Thailand is pushing to bring back the more sedate side of Songkran.
Aside from offering alms to monks and bathing sacred Buddha images at Sanam Luang and Nagaraphirom Park near The Grand Palace, there will also be cultural activities taking place across the central stretch of the Chao Phray River under the name Water Festival 2016. Temples including Wat Arun, Wat Prayoon and Wat Kalayanamitr will each have their own activities, along with riverside shopping promenades Tha Maharaj, Yodpiman Riverwalk and Asiatique the Riverfront. What to expect? Local food, traditional games, Thai dance performances and a far more considered approach to water splashing than you’ll find out on the mean streets of Silom and Khao San. There’ll also be free water transportation running between each of the seven venues.
Tickets are available at s20festival.com. Show Oasis Arena, Rama 9 Rd.
Songkran is definitely the wildest time of the year in Thailand. And the most Thai of all beers has got to be Singha. So if you want to make sure your Songkran is the full, original Thai experience, make sure you enjoy it with a Singha, the original Thai beer. Just be careful with that bottle or glass: it would be a shame to get water in your drink!
Here are some more tips for a safe Songkran:
• Even though the government has requested that people keep their water splashing to dedicated zones, just be aware that you are seen as fair game anywhere and anytime from April 13-17 with tourists a popular target. The only way to guarantee staying dry is to stay indoors.
• The smearing of powdered white chalk, traditionally used by monks in rituals, on strangers was common in the past but men should refrain from doing so to women they don’t know.
• Spraying water inside shopping malls and on public transport is prohibited.
• Get more information about Songkran and updated events across Thailand at www. tourismthailand.org or call 1672.
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