The Songkran festival will take place between April 13 to 15 in Phuket. This is the festival that marks the beginning of Thai New Year. The fact that it falls within the hottest month of the year is one of the reasons it has turned it into the largest water fight in the world. But it hasn’t always so boisterous and rowdy. It simply evolved over time into the spectacle that it is today.
What is Songkran All about?Songkran started out being a time of purification rituals and merit-making. Thais would pour water on statues of the Buddha as a way of purifying them for the year to come. This ritual was extended to worshiping their ancestors and pouring water over the hands of the elders in their family as well.
It’s still an important merit-making holiday. Thais travel back to their home towns to spend time with their families, which means that the roads, bus stations and train stations are very crowded at this time of year.
But Thais are also known for their sense of fun. This sense of fun, the hot weather, and, some would say, the invention of the ‘super-soaker’ water gun has made the Songkran festival what it has become today.
Tips on Surviving Songkran in PhuketBut there are other tips as well that will help you survive Songkran in Phuket. Here are some of the basic suggestions to help you enjoy Songkran without incident.
- Have Fun, But Take Care. This is the best advice for anyone planning to be in Thailand during the Songkran festival who has never before experienced it. It’s three days of dancing to loud music, drinking and participating in water fights.
- If you plan on being on the streets of any town in Thailand during the hours between sunup and sundown, you’d better be prepared get wet. Being in Phuket, you’d better be prepared to stay wet for most of the day.
- The Cardinal Rule of Songkran is: When the sun is up, the party has begun. When the sun has set, it’s generally safe to take to the streets again without the worries of having your clothes and valuables ruined by water and powder. This is sort of the cardinal rule of Songkran.
- The most obvious caveat to this cardinal rule is that since Phuket is a prime tourist area, don’t expect all tourists to know or obey the cardinal rule. Still, by taking your tolerance up to its highest level, you’ll be able to survive the most boisterous party you’ve ever encountered. The mixture of Thais on holiday and tourists eager to take part and enjoy a new experience makes Phuket one of the prime hot-spots for Songkran partying and water fights.
- The one thing to keep in mind during the festival is to always be tolerant and to not take things too seriously. Just go with the flow and take the occasional drenching and sprinkling of powder with a good sense of humour.
- Take care of your eyes. The water you’re being doused with may not have come from a particularly clean source. Wear some swim goggles if you’re actively taking part in a water fight and shower and wash your eyes out directly afterward.
- Stay off of motorbikes. With people throwing water on passing motorbikes, accidents are bound to happen and plenty do. Being on a motorbike during Songkran will likely lead to you being an accident statistic.
- Keep your valuables in a water-proof bag. This may seem obvious, but a plastic bag or a Ziploc bag is really not what we had in mind, because these will leak. Keep your passport and expensive phone in a bag that can be totally submerged like a diver’s bag. Even a non-lubricated condom can be stretched over a phone and tied to provide adequate protection.
- Don’t walk around barefoot. You might be tempted to just kick off your shoes to avoid getting them all wet. But remember, people will be drinking and this means broken glass is likely. Getting a cut on your foot around so many questionable water sources will increase your risk of also getting an infection.
- Finally, if you want to really immerse yourself in Songkran, the best place on the island to go is Bangla Road in Patong Beach. This is the annual site of the mother of all water fights.
Rental for the Holidays can get you close to the action during Songkran by providing rental properties in Patong Beach as well as all over Phuket. Whether you are interested in being right in the heart of it or looking on from a safe distance, we have the accommodations for you.