My first Songkran: Thailand’s wettest festival

This article was created for The Travel Project by Donovan Leong, a full-time ‘wanderluster' whose wish is to explore each and every country in the world during his lifetime. He has been to 71 countries across 7 continents so far.

Songkran festival – AKA Thai New Year. Traditionally celebrated by sprinkling water on family members and elders for good fortune, and by paying respects to images of the beloved Buddha.

The festival has since evolved into three epic water filled days with water guns and super soakers as the locals and visitors run riot on the streets of Thailand...

Since the Songkran holiday coincided with Good Friday long weekend, I decided to visit Bangkok to soak in the wet festivities. Though It wasn’t my first time to Bangkok, it was my first Songkran experience, held in the Thai capital. Most of the locals had gone back to their hometown, leaving Bangkok less congested than usual.

Water soaked the streets!
Songkran festival water soaking

Being in Bangkok during Songkran allowed me to truly immerse myself in the Thai culture. Locals and tourists alike were mingling on the streets, spraying water at random passers-by and sometimes even the innocent delivery man! There were huge parties going on at the stadium and concert halls, but I stayed around downtown Bangkok and partook in the free activities.

Since I was staying at a hostel, I met some backpackers who also happened to be in the city for Songkran. We revelled in the festivities together and we even formed our own army outside the hostel to splash water at passers by. The locals were incredibly friendly – no one got angry because they all know that it was all part of the Songkran fun! If this were to happen in Singapore (where I’m from), I’m sure we would get many scowling faces.

Donovan standing next to paddle pool

The roads were filled with puddles, and almost everyone was drenched in one way or another.

However, as an environmentalist, I couldn't help feeling concerned about the amount of water that had been wasted, whilst many people all over the globe have to walk long distances to collect water.

Water is even a scarce resource in Singapore – and, as such, we would be seen wasting water like that. Nevertheless, this Thai tradition only lasts for three days, and it was an eye opening experience for me. From taking part in the splashing of water along the roads, to dodging people’s water gun attacks – it was a fantastic three days and an unforgettable experience!

Songkran festival in bangkok, people on the street

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