Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. An important event on the Buddhist calendar, this water festival marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’. Water is an important element of Songkran, especially in more recent times when the throwing of water has become a huge part of the annual celebrations.
If you’re visiting Thailand during this period, prepare to get splashed! Crowds of people roam around throwing buckets of water, using water pistols and just generally soaking anyone in the vicinity. Appreciation of family is another important aspect of the festival, with many Thai people making their way to their hometowns to spend time with older relatives.

In Chiang Mai you’ll find a wonderful balance of water-based fun and sacred ceremonies that show the religious importance of this festival to the Lanna people. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect. Songkran Festival (12-15 April) is an excellent time to see Thailand, but there are some things you should keep in mind to stay safe.

1. It’s very likely you’ll get wet – that’s all part of the celebration! Keep your phone, passport, wallet and other valuables dry by keeping them in a waterproof bag.

2. The roads will be slippery and wet, and there’s likely to be more drink drivers. Always wear a helmet and make sure your travel insurance covers motorbike riding.

3. It’s extremely hot at this time of year, so don’t forget to stay cool and hydrated.

4. Look after your friends, stay safe, play safe and have fun!

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You can find the schedule of events in Chiang Mai at this Thai Travel News and Events blog.