Songkran is the Thai New Year, traditionally a religious holiday where people pay respect to Buddha, monks, and to their families and friends. A splash of water is a symbolic way to wash off misfortune, and to start a fresh, clean new year. In the past small bowls of water were thrown between family and friends. Nowadays things have been amped up a bit and it’s very common to see people with buckets, water guns, or even hoses, and doesn’t matter who is passing by, everybody gets a splash or two.
With the whole country immersed in festivities for around 3 days (longer in some parts of Thailand), Songkran is the time of the year everyone waits for. Locals have the days off work to celebrate and travellers from all around the world head to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Thai Islands to witness the water fight and have fun on the streets. With all that water being splashed around, the probability that you’ll get soaked during Songkran if you venture outside is very high. Don’t burn all your energy on the first day, take it easy and enjoy the whole festival.
There are a few things that every tourist should know before the party starts and to help you prepare for Songkran, AIRPORTELs has put together a list of helpful suggestions so you can protect your belongs from water damage and still enjoy all the fun, because let’s face it, if you are on the streets during Songkran, you’re going to be soaked from head to toe.
Protect your valuables
Before even buying a water gun, you should purchase a zip-lock or a small waterproof bag to keep your valuables dry during the water fight, and only carry with you what is really necessary. If you are travelling from one city to another during Songkran, it would be wise to let AIRPORTELs take care of delivering your luggage so you know nothing will get water damage. We can pick up your luggage from inside the hotel lobby so you don’t need to risk walking outside and looking for a taxi.
Attack is the best defence
While Songkran is traditionally considered a peaceful festival, nowadays people walk around with water guns in their hands. Remember that there are almost no exemptions to getting wet (Monks, elderly and babies: This is a big no-no, and if you end up doing it by mistake apologize straight away) during the celebration.
The best way to protect yourself is to buy a water gun or bring water containers so that you will not just be a target, but can ward off anyone looking to soak you by drenching them back. Water guns that are capable of shooting long distances and that have large reservoirs are the best buy.
Play safe and clean
Only use clean water from the tap, or from the barrels you can find around town supplied by locals. Don’t use water from canals or rivers as this can lead to all sorts of infections if it gets into your eyes, ears, or mouth. Remember to respect people and places. Things can get really ugly if you don’t mind the power of your gun or buckets; you should not shoot water on people’s face or eyes, so please be gentle. Never throw water at motorcyclists. This is dangerous and every year people get seriously hurt because of water being thrown at motorbikes.
The water fight happens on the streets, so respect the shops and markets that might stay open during the holiday. Don’t throw water indoors, or on people who are working. Songkran is all about having fun, so be friendly, play safe and avoid accidents!
Wear proper clothes and shoes
You’re going to get wet, so choose your clothes wisely. Light and fast drying fabrics are the best, underneath a swimsuit or beach shorts, but before you forget, take note of the colour of your shirt as some colours tend to become see through when wet. Sandals are ok, but shoes that protect your feet entirely and that will be safe to walk on the slippery streets are more recommended. Goggles or sunglasses are a plus, and don’t forget to apply some water resistant sunscreen.