In April, Thais celebrate one of the most important festivals of the year: Songkran — also known as the water festival. This celebration of Thai New Year is a big wet and wild party, with buckets of water being thrown, water guns being blasted, and everyone in the streets ending up drenched.
It may seem like unrestricted mayhem, but there is etiquette to be observed. Monks and pregnant women are not considered valid targets. You do not splash or shoot water inside restaurants, hotels or people’s homes. Most importantly, once the sun goes down, people go home to change into dry clothes and a general cease-fire then comes into effect. Tourists who do not understand these rules can find themselves in trouble both with offended victims and with the police. Observe what the Thais do, and you will not go far wrong. Just remember that it is ok to splash water at each other only until 6pm.
Songkran in Chiang Mai – What to do?
If you like to party, then spending Songkran in Chiang Mai is for you. Here are some ways to enjoy it
1. Buy a gun
7-11s and Tescos sell a wide selection of water guns. You can find them in small Chinese shops, too. The prices vary from 100 Baht to 500 Baht. Go for the more expensive ones as they will last you for the whole 3 days, and they probably ‘shoot’ better than the cheaper versions.
2. Walk around
Forget driving a motorbike, or taking a taxi. Use your legs instead! To really enjoy Songkran you should head to the city center through small streets, where locals like to splash foreigners and where you can find a lot of delicious food and cheap alcohol.
3. Spend some time at Tha Pea Gate
Tha Pea Gate is the main point in the city center and you will find most people partying here. There are huge stages set up all around and the water level is so high that it almost reaches your knees.
4. Find a cool spot to hang out at
If you don’t want to get too tired, join us at Sheryle’s bar and stay there for a bit. You can have so much fun with the owners by having water fights with them and ambushing passing tourists and locals.
5. A good night sleep
When the sun sets, head back to Hollanda Montri Guesthouse and relax at the banks of the river. While we are away from the crowded city a guarantee for a good night sleep and full of energy for the next day of Songkran.