Sawadee Pee Mai (Happy New Year)!
April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand, so why not engage in some water fight and water splashing activities to cool yourself down? The fixed date for Songkran Festival is from April 13 to April 15 throughout Thailand.
Of course, apart from all the fun-filled activities, Songkran Festival actually carries deep meaning. Getting splash serves as good luck, while splashing at others is a blessing.
There are actually so many places to celebrate Songkran such as pools, canals and even on streets where there are supplies of water.
We were told by the locals that Chiangmai is the best place to celebrate Songkran Festival in Thailand. Here’s 5 reasons why you must celebrate songkran festival in Chiangmai.
1. (one day before) Have a Nice Dinner by Ping River or in a concept restaurant
One day before Songkran Festival, friends and families will indulge in a nice dinner either at home or in a restaurant. There are so many nice restaurants, bars and cafes along the east side of the river bank. The problem is that there are reservations. So to avoid the hassle, you should have your reservation earlier.
The Good View Bar & Restaurant is a popular and lively space with awesome live band. The menu is huge with a wide varieties of food. Couples can choose to dine at this romantic setting alongside the Ping River.
The Good View Bar & Restaurant
Add: 3 Charoenraj Road | Wat Ket, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
Tel: 66 53 302764
During our first visit to Chiangmai, we dined at The Gallery because the facade looked too beautiful.
We entered through an art and craft gallery to a beautiful setting by the river. The whole place was romantically lit by candles and lantern. Remember to try some Northern Thai food such as jack fruit salad and red curry which is very different from Southern Thai food which we are very familiar with.
Add: 25-29 Th Charoenrat | E of Mae Nam Ping River, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
Tel: (053) 248 601
There are many concept restaurants in Chiangmai and The Windmill is one of them. The setting is very nice with a nice “canal” and a windmill where you can actually go up to. The life band is very good too.
The Windmill Chiangmai
Add: 433 Moo 4,700th Anniversary Chiangmai Road,Mae Hia, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Tel: 086-659-2825, 053-274-800
Khaomai Khaofang is set inside a tree house like property. There are waterfalls, lovely gardens and a huge open space under cover. I didn’t expect to be blown away by the beautiful surroundings of this restaurant,
Add: 181 Moo 7, Ratchaphruek Road | Nongkwai, Hangdong, Chiang Mai 50230, Thailand
Tel: +66 53 838 838
Words of caution though, quality of food varies in most of these concept restaurants.
2. (one day before) Shop for New Clothes & Songkran Survival Kit
One shall dress appropriately during the festivities to avoid becoming uncomfortable. Overly revealing and sexy attire is also not recommended. It is best to wear swimming gear under your clothes and to avoid wearing anything thick and heavy that could become waterlogged. The Thais love their flower power Songkran shirt, you should get one to join in the fun too!
Songkran’s survival kit – eye protective wear, water proof casing for hand phones, water gun (the bigger the better)
Although Chiangmai is Thailand’s second city, Chiang Mai is just one tenth the size of Bangkok and getting around is not that difficult. After dinner, it is recommended to take a tuk tuk to one of the many night markets in Chiangmai.
3. (during Songkran) Pray at the Doi Suthep
The Thais celebrate Songkran Festival by going to wats to pray, give alms, and cleanse Buddha statues by gently pouring fragranced water over them.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is approached by a steep flight of 300 stairs flanked by green trees and guarded by 16th-century Naga (snake) figures. One can also take the cable car to reach the top.
The gold chedi is the most holy area of the temple grounds as it contains the Buddha relics. It is truly a dazzling sight to behold – full of light and colour.
Thousands make the pilgrimage to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai for prayers during Songkran Festival.
The ‘money tree’ is a quite a common sight in Thailand and is one way for Buddhists to make merit and donate to a local temple or good cause. Since today is a brand new year in Thailand, we practise some good deeds by giving donation.
When in Rome (Thailand), I also practise the traditional ritual of pouring water over the Buddha as a symbol of cleansing.
4. (during Songkran) Water Fight around the Moat
The old city of Chiangmai is surrounded by a large square-shaped moat. Hence, the moat is used as a re-fill station. Most people stand around the moat, lowering their water buckets for endless water supplies, and splash it onto passerby.
Getting ready for Songkran!
At the end of the day, no one is spare from getting soaked from head to toe.
5. (during Songkran) Level Up with a Pick Up Truck
We rented a pick up truck (about 2000 baht for half a day) to drive around the outskirts of Chiangmai to experience the local’s way of Songkran Festival. Our truck was loaded with gallons full of water. Some trucks even carry massive blocks of ice rest inside these containers for an extra kick.
We kept screaming and shivering in cold as those icy cold water were being splashed down our backs.
The traffic comes to a near stand still as pick-ups loaded with people, tuk tuk and scooters all on the road.
What do most people do now? Make friends with “neighbours” or continue splashing water at them!
It was a fun filled experience as people from all walks of life join in the fun. The Thais were so friendly. We often stop by someone’s house to reload the water inside our truck and they would happily do so for you.
Suke Sahn Wahn Songkran! It is definitely one of my best Thailand experience! See you at Songkran Festival 2016!
This trip is courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand but all the post is written based on my personal experience.