What is the Songkran Water Festival?
Songkran Festival Phuket happens on April 13, 2023. The dates vary depending on Thailand’s regions, and the festival can last several days in the north.
Songkran festival in Phuket
If you choose to come to Phuket or Thailand in April, you’d better know what this event is about. Songkran is the Thai New Year, which occurs when the sun moves from Pisces to Aries. According to the Thai calendar, we are already in the year 2565. The country gets many days off, and most Thai people will go back home to celebrate Songkran with their families.
Fortunately for you, it is business as usual in Phuket, and you will be able to enjoy all the tours and day trips as usual. Just expect massive traffic jams on the road as everyone is out on pickup trucks, throwing water at each other.
What Happens During Songkran Festival?
Starting early morning on April 13, people celebrate Songkran Festival in many different ways. It is an exceptional day, and the water ceremony will take many forms. Initially, you should only sprinkle your family with a tiny cup of water. You also respectfully sprinkle a statue of Buddha with water and do a little prayer. It’s good luck.
Later in the morning, the game starts to change. Because this is the hottest time of the year, splashing each other with water is a lot of fun. Add a little beer to that, and Songkran becomes a country-wide water war.
People living in Thailand will be divided into three groups: ‘Wild Wet Fun‘ fans, ‘Sulking Hermits‘ who will lock themselves indoors for three days having wisely stocked food, and ‘Smart Dudes‘, well organised, who will make use of the very long weekend to fly somewhere abroad and dry.
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What are the best water weapons?
This is actually a fun question. 2 weeks before the Songkran festival, every single shop, convenience store, street stall and shopping mall with have hundreds of colourful water weapons on sale, each bigger, scarier and more colourful than the next! The ones with the largest water container and manual pumps are often the best, and indeed they do a pretty good job for a one-on-one street battle, for the newbies! The pros have a much better weapon (and we did test it, it’s the next level indeed!). The pros go around town on the back of pickup trucks with a barrel of ice water, and all they need to freeze you instantly is a simple little plastic bucket. With a bit of practice, you will be surprised how powerful these are when ice water comes at you!
Where are the best places to have fun?
You can join Songkran wet street parties from early morning if you are of the first kind. It starts rather gently in Phuket Town around 10 am, turns to water dogfights in the afternoon in Patong, Kata and Karon, and ends in a hectic, full-scale wet war zone in Bangla Road until late at night.
Shops and supermarkets make fortunes selling all kinds of colourful and humongous water guns. But the best weapon remains the good old plastic bowl and a big tank of icy cold water! Everybody will join the Songkran festivities, kids, teens, adults and tourists, divided into two camps: the ‘Strategically Ambushed‘ by the roadside with plenty of water ammunition and the ‘Mobile Units‘ fully loaded at the back of pickup trucks.
Cops doing traffic and security on the road are always favourite targets for everyone, but they are used to this and keep a smile all day or even play along.
Survival Tips for Songkran Day
- Don’t drive a bike if you can avoid it: it’s slippery, and the tendency to close your eyes when people throw water at you might lead to a crash with the car in front of you. And many drunk people will be out there partying, including you :D.
- Get a waterproof camera; the chance of ruining yours is pretty high!
- If you are unfortunate enough to go to Phuket airport on that day, go as early as possible, preferably in the morning. Beware of major traffic jams in towns, mostly in Patong Beach. It might take you several hours to cross it.
- Don’t carry anything that is not water-resistant or buy a cheap Waterproof Bag.
- Don’t wear expensive clothing; I’m not sure how easy it would be to wash some teens’ colour powder thrown at you.
- Beware of the Sun! If you are on the back of a pickup truck, get a cap and water-resistant sunscreen, or you will pay a painful price the days after!
- Have fun! Don’t take it too seriously; it’s good fun (if you choose to go out there).