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Songkran in Pattaya (Wan Lai Festival)

April 3, 2017
Tags: .  Songkran ,  festival ,  travel ,  vacation ,  Pattaya ,  Rental for the Holidays


Songkran is the official time to celebrate New Year in Thailand, a remarkable water festival which is celebrated from the April 13th to the 15th.  If you've ever traveled to Thailand during this time of the year, you must have experienced an ice-cold bucket down your shirt or splashed against your car windows. It's one of the best times to travel to Thailand simply because New Year's isn't celebrated like this anywhere else in the world. The celebrations culminate in fantastic parties and a great, festive atmosphere. However, Pattaya takes it a step further – Songkran here is an unforgettable experience. Learn more about things to do and what to expect if you'll be in Pattaya during Songkran this year!


Bangkok and several other cities in Thailand are fantastic places to celebrate Songkran. Pattaya, on the other hand, celebrates the Wan Lai Festival, which means that Songkran extends all the way to the 19th April. With the beach right by the city, it's the best place to be when the Thai New Year comes around. Nowhere else comes close to the frenzy in Pattaya – locals, expatriates and Thais all converge to the city which means everything is at a standstill for pretty much a week!


Traditionally, Songkran began with family members sprinkling each other with a little water to commemorate New Year's. What you experience today is closer to an all-out water war on the streets. If you're out and about in Pattaya from the 11th to 19th, you are guaranteed to get soaked! Expect a lot of good natured fun where expatriates and locals come together to create a wild party. During this time, Thai families will often travel or leave their cities to come to Pattaya, so expect a lot of traffic. We recommend walking or driving a car instead of riding motorbikes, as the roads will certainly get slippery.


On the 11th, the festivities in Pattaya will kick up. Head to hotspots such as Soi Buakhao to start playing with your water guns as it will get busy. Many tourists will book their holidays especially in Pattaya just to be around when Songkran kicks in. The city will be crowded, with nearly half a million of people arriving to join in the water festival. From the 11th to 17th, Soi 6, Soi 7 and Soi 8 are great spots to be and where most of the action will be taking place. On the 18th, head down to Naklua, especially the Naklua Fresh Market. However, the big shabam takes place on the final day of the Wan Lai Festival – 19th April. Head to Beach Road for the biggest party of all the dates. The 3-mile road and its adjacent streets are all closed off to host the party. There'll be parades, plenty of alcohol and fun not to be missed.


If this is your first time to experience Songkran in Pattaya or anywhere else in Thailand, we have some handy tips. First, place all your valuables in a ziplock bag if you're going to venture out from your hotel. The biggest casualties of Songkran are usually cell phones, so be prepared. Secondly, buy your water pistols before you go out because you don't want to get soaked without playing back. Next, beware of pickpockets since the chaos (especially in Pattaya) makes it easy to lose your valuables. Finally, spend most of your time on foot since the roads can get quite dangerous to drive on. Special Note: this is the only time when foreigners will be able to get away with wetting police officers!


Be prepared to be constantly wet for seven days if you choose to experience the world's biggest water fight in Pattaya. Wear quick-drying clothes to make it easier to get changed (and to not get sick). It's fantastic fun but you must have a strong sense of humor and put up with being wet all the time.  In addition to being splashed, Thais love to play with the famous white paste (a mix of talcum powder and water). Expect some to be smeared on your face, especially in the areas with lots of bars. 


There's something equal parts crazy and special about Songkran in Pattaya. You'll see monks out and about, completely dry and police officers getting soaked while swapping their firearms for water pistols! If you want to experience some of the best parties that Thailand has to offer, Pattaya is the place to be this Songkran. 


Find out more about Pattaya’s other attractions in Pattaya: A vibrant district in Chonburi.