Songkran is often referred to as the world’s biggest water fight. The festivities kick off April 13th and last through the 15th, although for the Thais, this is more of a general idea then an actual time limit. Prepare to exit onto the streets on April 12th and promptly get soaked by a bucket wielding teen in the back of a pick-up truck.
Chiang Mai was where I celebrated my first Songkran, and where I lived for a year. The normally tranquil city is turned into a crazy, free for all water fight where anything goes. I loved Songkran on the first day, and found myself growing tired with the revelries (and with be constantly soaked) by the 3rd. Anyways- I was happy to escape the festivities this year, and will probably not be returning. Here are my tips on how to stay safe (and sane) for Songkran.
1. Don’t Drive A Motorbike
And don’t throw water at people riding motorbikes either. Why? Cause it’s dangerous- obviously.
2. Don’t Fill Up Your Watergun With Moat Water
Have you seen that moat? It’s gross. I spent weeks after Songkran fighting an ear infection that I’m positive was from moat water.
3. Try To Avoid Taking Tuk-Tuk’s in Old City
Unless you really like being a moving target for buckets of ice water. For tourists, I would recommend staying in central Old City, and walking everywhere.
4. Apply That Sunscreen!
This is a no-brainer, but make sure you are wearing sunscreen and that it is waterproof. April is the hottest month in Thailand, and it’s no fun to be walking around sporting a painful sunburn. Don’t forget to apply it to the top of your head!
5. Travel in Groups
Not only are you an easier target for buckets of ice water alone, you also don’t have your mates to stage a counter attack! I got separated from my group on the 3rd day, and was held down by a drunk Chinese man while having ice water dumped over my head. (Not once, but six times!). At that point it had gone from fun to sucky in a matter of minutes. Also, don’t be that asshole. ^
6. Don‘t Bring Your Phone
Those waterproof cases suck. I was lucky and had previously learned my lesson about these cases while floating the river in Laos.
Despite all of these things, Songkran still has a bit of magic to it. Where else can your run around with your super soaker, dance in giant foam parties, and basically feel like a kid again? Just remember- stay safe, have fun, and don’t drink the jungle juice.