Songkran: Thailand New Year Festival 2019
Songkran (เทศกาลสงกรานต์), or Thai New Year is arguably the best water festival in the world!
If 3 full days of shooting water with water guns, throwing bucket loads of water to everyone and getting soaked back sound with music and drinks to accompany you sounds wonderful to you, you'll fit right in!
Thais celebrate Songkran every year from April 13-15. This falls about same days as the Cambodia's traditional new year and Sri Lanka's traditional new year. It's quite hot in Thailand in April, and you wouldn't mind getting refreshed occasionally!
Similar to Sri Lanka's new year, the Thai new year also means a "transition", with the word roots in Sanskrit. It signifies the sun's full revolution in the zodiac cycle.
Where to be
Songkran is celebrated everywhere in Thailand, and some cities have slightly different days. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya would be your best bet. In Bangkok, Khao San, the famous backpacker ghetto will be jam-packed with festive people.
When stuff happens
From about 11 AM to 1-2 AM the next day, you can expect a bucket load of water anytime! In Khao San road, there will be music (mostly Thai songs, but you'll occasionally catch "We Will Rock You" and "Despacito". If the music isn't working out, get help of a beer or two, and you'll get there.
Although the official Songkran days are April 13-15, you'll see people having fun from 12 evening onwards. In fact, Thai's get a few days more so they can go to their families to celebrate.
Play it safe
Do note that there will be police present everywhere, and they sometimes block roads if there appear to be too many people inside.
Always use clean water. You don't have to pour an Evian or Chang drinking water, but just make sure they are clean enough. Using ice cold water will piss off the most, but it apparently happens in many places.
It should go without saying, but don't throw water at policemen, or anyone else in a uniform. It's also frowned upon at throw water and cyclists, motor bikers, or Tuk-Tuk drivers.
Don't take your passports or any valuable with you. ATM cards can take a soaking, but don't risk it. Keep your money wrapped in a plastic bag or buy one of those plastic covers off the street.
A water refill will cost north of 120฿, and water refill will be either free or 5฿, so you know how much you should bring.
Unless you like strangers to water down your Pad Thai, don't eat near the action.
That said, Songkran was a wonderful experience for me. I teamed up with some of the friendliest people (Thai and Farang alike) and had an awesome time.
Save for a couple pissed off riding a bike, everyone took our water with a smile on their face, and I have up dunking water thrown at me in a few minutes into the fight.
I hope you'd come here one day to celebrate Songkran with the Thai people!