Songkran in Bangkok: The Greatest Festival on Earth

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Songkran in Bangkok is incredible — one of the absolute most fun events on the planet. For three days in April, people celebrate the new year by throwing water on each other, which quickly turns into a giant water fight in the streets.

It’s EVERYWHERE in Bangkok, and NOBODY is safe. It could be a little kid getting you with a water gun — or a little old lady in a Hawaiian shirt pouring a bowl of ice water down your back!

For me, Songkran began with an attack in the mobile phone zone at MBK, one of Bangkok’s best malls.

While perusing iPhone covers with my friends Rob and Ray, a girl behind the counter was attacked.  Out of nowhere, three people grabbed her dumped water on her and rubbed clay all over her face and hair.  She screamed with horror and glee.

It hit me — if you can get Songkraned in the middle of THE ELECTRONICS FLOOR at MBK, you aren’t safe anywhere.

The next day, Songkran began for real — water was flung everywhere in every shape and form.  Little kids eyed me suspiciously before running up and pouring buckets on me.  Groups of Thais gathered in the back of pickup trucks, wearing Hawaiian shirts and armed with water guns.

I had grabbed a cab to Rob’s place to pick up the shopping bags that I had left there the day before — all my new Bangkok clothes, plus my computer.  We decided to go back to my neighborhood via tuk-tuk, rather than an enclosed cab.


Being in a tuk-tuk was an invitation for the whole city to run up and throw water on us!  In moments, I was drenched and laughing.  (I was also praying for the safety of my computer and thankful that I had wrapped its case in several plastic bags.)

Khao San Road and its vicinity were crawling with at least a few thousand people, all of them flinging water at each other.

Lesson learned: you do NOT want to walk around Bangkok during Songkran with shopping bags.  It is NOT a good idea.

But my computer survived.

To give you an idea of what it’s like just walking down the street, check out my video:

Once I got my purchases safely locked in my room, I knew it was time to join the assault — I threw on a tank top and skirt over my bathing suit and joined the fray in the streets.

And just then, to my great delight, my dear friends Ste and Darren showed up!  I hadn’t seen them in more than a month, and they had arrived just in time for the fun to begin!

Armed with hoses and Super Soakers, we terrorized the kids in the street, fought battles, dumped water on each other.

And this went on for three full days.

Everything blurred together.  The three of us joined several of my travel blogger friends — Adam, Mike, Poi and Kirsty — and their friends for even more Songkran debauchery.

While most indoor venues are safe during Songkran, leave it to us to find the bar where we could have a water fight!

I have no words to tell you how indescribably fun Songkran is.  If you’re contemplating visiting Thailand and April, double-check your dates and make sure you come for the full three-day holiday!  It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.


Where to Stay in Bangkok

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