If you are in Thailand 13–15 April you should prepare yourself for Songkran, Thailand’s famous New Year celebrations. The Songkran Festival is a time of renewal and paying respect to Buddhism. The ritual of cleansing is to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.
Songkran also marks the end of the dry season (April being Thailand’s hottest month) and the beginning of the tropical rains. Songkran is the longest public holiday in Thailand, which gives local people an opportunity to get together with friends and family.Today Songkran is known for its water festival, which is celebrated by locals and visitors alike. In cities streets are closed for traffic, and used as arenas for water fights and games. Water is being splashed over everything and everyone, so expect to get wet.Last year in 2016 I was in Thailand for the Songkran festival. I knew absolutely nothing about Songkran in advance but when I got to the small island of Koh Mak I found that all hotels were fully booked because of Songkran as all Thais were on the move for the Thai New Year celebrations. More about my arrival in Koh Mak with trouble and tears here.
I had heard that Songkran festivities may get pretty big and wild in some places but luckily Koh Mak was a small and quiet island, so I got to celebrate Songkran the easy way in Koh Mak.
The Songkran celebrations in Koh Mak started on Wednesday 13 April with people driving around and kids and adults sitting in the back of pick up trucks throwing iced water over anyone in the vicinity.Songkran hot spots for water games in Koh Mak were mainly located on the village main road behind Ao Kao Beach and by the crossroads next to Thaidaho Vista Resort. Here people were stationed on the side of the road with colourful water guns, hoses, buckets, scoops and other “weapons”, eagerly waiting for passersby. Some people also played with white powder to paint people’s faces white.I passed through numerous Songkran parties and water spots, each time getting soaking wet and my face painted white. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, laughing and smiling a lot. However, after the initial excitement on the first day I started to get a little bit annoyed as you really could not leave the hotel without getting wet. The beach was most probably the safest place to be. I really did not respect being soaked again after having changed into dry clothes when heading out for dinner in the evening. But luckily things started to die down after the first few days.
In the evenings Songkran was celebrated in a festival area behind Monkey Island Resort, with live music, DJ, street food, market stalls, games, water playground with water slides etc. Entrance was free of charge. There was no water throwing here, which I was very pleased about.Songkran was definitely a very interesting experience. Some day it would be great to celebrate the Thai New Year some place else, for example in Bangkok where I suppose they go big. With an open mind, right type of festival spirit and proper gear for water fights I would totally be up for it!
Did you like this blog post? Read more about Koh Mak: