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Do's and don'ts of Songkran, the Thai New Year

by Pierre To
4 minutes to read
Do's and don'ts of Songkran, the Thai New Year

Thailand celebrates the traditional Thai New Year from 13 to 15 April 2023, here are some tips on how to prepare for this festive event where it's hard not to get drenched!

If you don't know what Songkran is, you can read our article before:
Songkran, the Thai New Year and its water battles

Useful vocabulary

Happy New Year: " Sawatdee pii maille "
Happy Songkran: " Suk san wan Songkran "

Do's and don'ts to make the most of Songkran

Keep your cool (Jay Yen in Thai : jay = heart, yen cold).

If you go out during Songkran, you should expect to be doused or have your face covered with talcum powder.

It's part of the tradition, so just sit back and smile!

Sometimes the water will be very cold (some smart guys put ice cubes in the buckets), sometimes they attack you from behind.

Some children are so excited to use their new water guns that they spray you with them a few days before the official start of the festivities!

Do not wear your best clothes for these reasons.

And if you are a woman, be careful what kind of clothes you wear, some can become transparent when wet!

During this period, you will find many waterproof plastic bags in shops to protect your cameras and paper.

But these protections are not infallible, it is better to leave these objects in your hotel, in a secure corner.

It's also a party for mobile phone salesmen!

By law, you must always carry your passport with you.

However, during Songkran, you may get your important documents wet.

It is best to make photocopies of your passport and laminate them to take out with you and leave all important documents in the hotel.

How to avoid water fights?

This will depend on where you are, in some cities the watering areas are demarcated, but you are never really safe unless you stay in your hotel!

Shopping centres and cinemas are open during Songkran, inside you are safe, but you still need to be able to get there without getting wet!

If you have to use public transport, make sure you use an air-conditioned bus or a taxi meter.

If you use a normal bus with the windows down or a tuk-tuk then you risk getting soaked.

Alcohol consumption and road accidents

Many people drink day and night during Songkran, so if you have Thai friends, you will be invited to have drinks first thing in the morning!

This is the party that causes the most car accidents!

Most deaths occur on secondary roads and in the evening.

On main roads, most accidents are caused by impaired driving and speeding.

If you drive, be very careful. There are many drunk drivers on the roads during Songkran.

And if you're on a scooter, be very careful too, because you can get drenched!

Motorbike sprayed during Songkran

Songkran dates by region

Don't make the mistake of thinking that water fights only take place from 10 to 15 April.

Some regions in Thailand have their Songkran celebrations a week later, such as PattayaBangsaen and Koh Chang.

If you are in Thailand, then this is a good opportunity to discover the most festive side of the land of smiles!

Photos: water fight : Ben Reeves ; watered motorbikes : Wyndham Hollis

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