Songkran Survival Guide: Essential Tips for First-Time Visitors to Thailand654
BY Professor Bear

Songkran Survival Guide: Essential Tips for First-Time Visitors to Thailand

April is among the most interesting times of the year. It is when Songkran, one of the world's biggest and most electrifying water festivals, can be experienced by every traveler to Thailand. So, if you’re a first-timer at Songkran and hope to enjoy the festival, I guarantee that you will have the best time celebrating in Thailand.

If you are traveling to Thailand for the first time during Songkran, you will have an unforgettable experience enriched with joy, culture, and water-filled festivities. However, you will have to learn many things before navigating through the exhilarating chaos of Songkran, as it requires some essential tips to get an enjoyable experience.

Songkran Festival in Thailand

If we begin by learning about the significant evolution of Songkran and embracing local customs, you will have to read our Songkran Survival Guide for a first-time traveler, which is your key to unlocking the magic of Thailand's most thrilling celebration.

So, preparation is the key for first-timers to make the most of the Songkran celebration. Let’s read and learn this complete guide for first-timers as they embark on their Songkran adventure, fully prepared to enjoy the vibrant spirit of Thailand's Biggest Water Festival.


🧑‍🎓 Quick Trivia!

Songkran is known as the longest holiday in Thailand because it lasts 3full days, day and night. 



Celebrating Thailand's New Year in April

Group Thai Women Ware Thai Traditional Dress Play Sprinkle Water Thai New Years Day

According to the Sanskrit language, “Songkran” means “transformation," the festival marks the beginning of a new year in Thailand. 

If you are hoping to travel to Thailand soon, you may need to look at what time you plan to visit. In mid-April, you might experience the beginning of a fun 4-day water fight festival, the Songkran. With this, I recommend planning for a 5-Day Songkran Getaway Tour

In addition to modern entertainment events during Songkran, you can participate in traditional Thai practices such as visiting temples, pouring water on Buddha statues, and almsgiving for needy people. Also, during the Songkran festival, the country's entire land will be turned into a large water fight playground, where everyone will throw water out of buckets and shoot water guns. So, get ready to soak up Thailand’s biggest water festival!



Essential First-Timer Tips to Survive Songkran

Portrait Beautiful Woman Songkran Festival with Thai Traditional Costume

As a first-timer who travels to Thailand for the Songkran Water Festival, I believe it is better for everyone to learn some of the key survival tips. This is to fully enjoy the festivities while paying respect to the locals and their traditions.


#1 Respect Thai Tradition 

Songkran has a deep spiritual meaning and is considered an important religious celebration in Thai tradition. It is believed that it is not just a ceremony to entertain people; the festival provides a special time for local Thais to cleanse out their bad sins and gain honor. So, be sure to respect the culture by following the etiquette of Songkran beforehand, and keep these important rules in mind.

  • Avoid splashing water on monks, pregnant women, elderly people, and drivers.
  • Don't buy and play from hoses/guns with high water pressure.
  • Don't play with water after evening.
  • Avoid throwing water indoors.


#2 Wear Appropriate Clothing 

Make sure to dress wisely, as you will quickly get wet as soon as you join the Songkran festivities. So, don’t wear white; wearing a swimsuit underneath will be a comfortable combination for your shorts and T-shirts. For your additional safety, don’t forget to wear goggles, as they will protect your eyes from serious cases like pink eye.


#3 Use Smart Waterproof Accessories 

Although you want to keep your valuables with you to avoid robberies and misplacing, they will be all wet due to water fights. So, don’t be late to buy plastic waterproof necklaces that protect your valuables from water and pickpocketing. Most importantly, you can take photos through the plastic necklace without getting your camera or phone wet.


#4 Make New Friends 

The word Songkran itself suggests cooperation and gathering. So, the festival season provides a great chance to engage with different kinds of people, even those of different ages, and break down the boundaries between strangers. Accordingly, you can make new friends and celebrate your days with thousands of strangers. Don’t forget to say, “sah-wah-dee pee mai” or “suk san wan Songkran” to wish them a happy Songkran day.


#5 Limit Drinking and Behave  Responsibly

If you hope to visit Khao San Road in Bangkok during Songkran, be alert and try to drink responsibly. This should be duly noted because too much heat, dehydration, and fewer proper meals will lead to getting drunk much quicker than on usual days. 


#6 Pre-arrange a Place to Meet Friends 

Select a place away from the crowded main streets to meet up with your friends during the festival. It will stop missing you and your friends in the huge crowds, and you will be free to enjoy with your friends. 



Best Events and Places to Enjoy Songkran 

Group Children Playing with Water Guns

Whether you are new to Songkran or have already visited many times, there is much to see and enjoy. Whether you love to visit major Songkran centers like Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) and Chiang Mai to engage with vibrant celebrations, visit Sukhothai to immerse in culture, or join with unique traditions and events in Pai and Chonburi, Thailand’s Songkran festival is an unforgettable memory that should not be missed. 


#1 Songkran Music Festival

Do you want to escape the heat during the Songkran holidays? Songkran Music Festival, the biggest, wildest, and wettest event in Thailand, will cool you off from the summer heat of April! So, join your best party buddies and enjoy your first Songkran event with electronic beats, fantastic performers, crazy fun crowds, and water.


#2 Silom Road

The best area for water fights is Silom Road, where a huge crowd will gather to welcome you with a cooling blast of water! Young visitors and locals mostly gather there to celebrate Songkran with their water guns and buckets.  


#3 Khao San Road

Khao San Road in Bangkok is among the most popular areas, especially for backpackers. During the Songkran season, the whole road is transformed into a water fight arena, and you will surely be unable to leave this spot dry. 


#4 Central World

In addition to Silom Road and Khao San Road, the Central World is famous for water fights and celebrations during Songkran. 


#5 Waterbomb Bangkok Festival

Water Bomb Bangkok is good news for all Korean music lovers. At the Water Bomb Bangkok Festival, you’ll experience music with the trendiest Korean artists, as well as numerous Korean bands and artists. 


#6 S2O Songkran Music Festival

In addition to Korean music, if you love Western bops and DJs, you’ll love the S20 Songkran Music Festival. So, mix the music with water and join this annual water-themed music festival with your old and new friends to enlighten your first experience at the Songkran festival.


#7 Sanam Luang

If you love to see traditional Thai performances for Songkran, the perfect destination would be the Sanam Luang area. Most importantly, it is free of charge and open to the public! You can watch shadow puppetry, mask dancing, Muay Thai, and Thai music performances at the place. 


#8 Wat Pho and Wat Arun

If you are waiting to make merit, pray, offer food to Buddhist monks, and ask for blessings for the new year, you should visit the temples of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho.


In addition, you may also check out our list of the Top 10 Best Destinations to Celebrate Songkran in Thailand. If you want to know the best parties to attend during Songkran, here are the ones you should visit:



What Should You Pack for Songkran?

Man Asian Backpack Looking Train Train Station Thailand

  • Waterproof Bag 
    • A waterproof bag would be essential if you have a camera or other valuable items to protect. It will secure your accessories from water. 

  • Waterproof Phone Case 
    • Any waterproof phone case is a must during Songkran, especially when you want to capture moments on your phone or text with your friends. 

  • Dark and Fast-Drying Clothes 
    • The best and most comfortable dress code during Songkran is a dark cloth that dries fast. This is because buckets of water will be poured over you. 

  • Swimsuit
    • One of the best Songkran hacks to follow as a first timer to Songkran is wearing swimwear under your clothes. It will keep you dry off faster and more comfortably.

  • Waterproof Camera Gear 
    • Songkran is a great place to take out your GoPro or waterproof casing for your camera gear.



Security Reminders During Songkran

Teenager Group Have Fun with Water Gun Songkran Day

  • Drink bottled water.

  • Eat freshly cooked food.

  • Don’t drink when you drive.

  • Don’t get water into your mouth.

  • Wear waterproof clothes and shoes.

  • Use public transportation as much as possible.

  • Be careful when crossing roads and walking on streets.

  • If you have younger children, don’t gather in crowded areas.



Transportation Tips During Songkran

Corridors Cabins within Bts Sky Train Travel Bangkok Thailand

  • Thailand public transportation between major cities.

  • Get the Bangkok BTS Skytrain Rabbit Card, valid for 6 months.

  • Private car rentals with drivers around Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon).
  • Car rentals are available in Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon, Doi Suthep, Mae Kampong, and Other areas.

  • Enjoy hassle-free airport transportation with Private Premium Suvarnabhumi Airport Transfers. 

  • Buy the Bangkok BTS Skytrain One-Day Pass and avoid buying tickets for individual train trips repeatedly.



Enjoy Your First Songkran Water Festival!

Women Playing with Water Guns Songkran Festival

As you begin your first journey to Thailand to immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of the Songkran festival, it's paramount to ensure you're equipped with our complete guide of essential tips. By familiarizing yourself with local customs and practices, you safeguard your well-being and honor the rich traditions underpinning this cherished celebration.

Armed with this knowledge, you're poised to revel in the jubilant atmosphere, connecting with locals and fellow travelers alike as you partake in the splendor of Thailand's cultural tapestry. If you're with your family and loved ones, check out our article on Family-Friendly Activities for Songkran: Fun Ways to Celebrate with Kids in Thailand, and if you're on a tight budget, check out our Budget Tips for Celebrating Songkran: How to Enjoy the Festivities Without Breaking the Bank.

So, seize every opportunity to embrace the warmth and hospitality of this enchanting land, forging enduring friendships and weaving the fabric of unforgettable experiences that will linger in your heart long after the festivities have concluded.


Songkran Survival Guide: Essential Tips for First Time Visitors to Thailand


🧑‍🎓 Vocabulary Time!

: absolutely necessary


: without problems or bother


: the quality of being good or worthy, especially to deserve praise or reward


: a man who is a member of a group of religious men and lives a simple life apart from general society


: the continuation of customs or beliefs from generation to generation



Written by
Professor Bear

Hi! I'm Professor Bear, your scholarly travel companion, here to take you on immersive journeys to new places. Join me as I delve into history and provide detailed tours and guides for an unforgettable travel experience of your life.


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