Songkran, Thailand’s new year, is celebrated from 13-15 April each year with what is known as the world’s biggest water fight.

What started as a respectful washing of Buddha images with water to welcome in the upcoming wet season, has turned into a nationwide water fight that offers a welcome respite from the heat during the hottest month of the year.

If you’re headed to Thailand for Songkran, here are some survival tips for joining this massive water fight.


Dress to get wet

During Songkran, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get wet – soaking wet, as if you’ve dived fully clothed into a swimming pool.

For this reason, it’s best to wear light clothing that dries easily and water friendly shoes like sandals. For added comfort, wear a bathing suit rather than underwear under your clothing.

Women should avoid anything that is skimpy or will become transparent when wet since the Thai culture is quite conservative and Songkran is considered a holy holiday.

Don’t forget to put on waterproof, high SPF sun protection as well. April is the hottest time of the year in Thailand, and you’re likely to spend a lot of time in the sun.


Invest in a waterproof bag

A waterproof bag is essential during Songkran in order to keep your valuables, money, and electronics safe and dry.

A plastic waterproof pouch or a Ziploc will be just fine, but there are necklace bags for sale that also work well. Keep your pouch hidden under your shirt for safety.

Given the chaos of the event, it’s also best to grab a waterproof, disposable camera and to leave your expensive cameras and phones safely packed away – even if they are waterproof.


Wear protective eyewear

Alongside the waterproof bags, there is plenty of protective eyewear for sale in the streets of Thailand and this is also something to consider investing in.

You’re very likely to get water in your eyes during Songkran – often at a high pressure, which will likely hurt and has the potential to damage your eyes.

The water is also typically not clean, often filled with powder and could be ocean, river, or moat water, so the risk of an eye infection is good as well.

For this reason, you also don’t want to drink any of the water being shot at you or being used to reload guns. In fact, try to keep your mouth closed when being shot at.


Get out the big guns

During Songkrun, water guns, garden hoses, buckets, and bowls are all fair games on the streets, and street sellers will offer a wide range of water pistols.

If you don’t want to keep stopping to refill and you have a little extra cash, go for one of the big guns.

You can refill them at free water stations offered by locals and businesses. Don’t get suckered into paying for water for your gun – most locals are offering water for free.


Play by the rules

 

While the event is chaotic, it is not a complete free-for-all. Be sure to use clean, room temperature water when you fight. Never use hot water, and expect to sometimes get hit by iced water.

High-pressure hoses and guns are prohibited for safety reasons, and using one may lead to it being confiscated and you’ll be charged with a heavy fine for using them.

Most people play fair on the streets, but make sure you are careful not to shoot the passersby in the eyes since this is somewhat irritating (and potentially dangerous).


Have fun and don’t take it personally

During Songkran, you’re supposed to throw water on whoever you come across, so don’t take offence when someone throws a bucket of ice cold water over your head or blasts you in the face with their water pistol.

Expect people to rush up to you and throw or shoot water at you – they’ll usually have a big smile on their faces, so smile along and enjoy the celebration of their new year.


Getting there

Various airlines offer flights from London to Bangkok. The cheapest tickets are available approximately 60 days before departure, with midday flights from Heathrow offering the best prices on the route.

For a hassle-free trip to Thailand, remember to pre-book an airport transfer, taxi, or rental car through hoppa to get you to your accommodation. Hoppa is the world’s top specialist in smooth, reliable transportation, comparing 1,000s of transport providers from around the world to get you where you need to go. Whether at home or abroad, with choices of taxis, car hire, and airport transfers, we search and compare the best deals so you arrive happy.

 

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