Songkran (Thai name：เทศกาลสงกรานต์), the Thai New Year, is the most important festival in Thailand. With celebrations lasting up to a week, Thai New Year marks the end of the dry season with religious ceremonies and water fights, which are a trademark of the festival.
What is Songkran Festival?
The word Songkran means 'to move' or 'movement' in Thai. Songkran Festival is determined according to the movement of the sun from one zodiac position (Pisces) to a new one (Aries). Songkran is also known as the Water Splashing Festival, which is celebrated to mark the New Year in Thailand.
As a symbol of renewal in Buddhism, water is splashed on statues of Buddha for good luck, and younger generations bathe the hands of the elderly to receive their blessing in return. Finally, people gather in the streets to join in huge "water fights" — fun and celebratory mutual splashing.
Thailand -insights, no stress and amazing team
My husband and my Thailand trip was fantastic, stress-free and educational thanks to the amazing team coordinated by Albee at Asia Highlights. The whole team was incredibly accessible, responsive, sensitive to our needs and lovely to work with. End-to-end, the trip was truly remarkable and the knowledgeable and dynamic tour guides and drivers made it especially memorable!More
AndrewsFamily, Oct 2023
Informative & Thorough / Thanks Sharon!
Sharon the advisor that helped me was so thorough & informative and explained the details of the tour including questions about visas and what is included vs what is not included in the tour packages. I would recommend them to explain tour packages that would fit the schedule of your pending travels.More
Chris, Sep 2023
Easy, fast responses
I worked directly with Monica in Asia Highlights. She was incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions quickly. Working with her made the whole process easy and we are so excited for our trip!More
Diana B, Sep 2023
Stress free Thailand
Alisa has organised our 14 day Thailand holiday for 2024 for my family & I. She has been very accommodating & super quick with all of our requests & we cannot wait for a stress free holiday! Thank you Alisa!More
Alana Mitchell, Sep 2023
Family Trip to Thailand-Cambodia
All of our guides were very nice and knowledgeable, but we have a special mention to our guide in Cambodia, Chan, he was very kind with us and it was very amusing. He went the extra mile for us. We really enjoyed our holidays!More
José Antonio Carrillo de la Pl, Sep 2023
Asia Highlights and Sharon
Asia Highlights, specifically Sharon, has been wonderfully helpful as we get ready for a 2024 excursion to Thailand. We are beyond excited, and much of that has to do with the personalized attention that we have experienced with Sharon. She has been extremely responsive, obliging, and focused as she helped us design a tailor made itinerary. All of our questions have been addressed, our needs have been met, and the path has now been set for a very exciting trip.... thanks to Sharon.More
Marcy Hoenig, Sep 2023
I was planning a trip to Thailand to…
I was planning a trip to Thailand to especially see the Lantern Festival this year for our birthdays!! It’s been on our bucket list, but we were completely lost on how to go about planning for our trip. We’ve never really booked tours before but Alisa was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, flexible and efficient in providing all the information we needed to make our decision on the best tours and tickets to purchase. Thank you so much!!More
https://www.trustpilot.com/reviews/64d9a5a4657e4b39f768a21e, Aug 2023
I would definitely recommend Asia…
All of our guides were wonderful (Mr. Bank - Bangkok and Ms. Kai in Phuket & Khao Sok plus antoher guide who assisted in Koh Samui). Sharon took care of tours, private drivers, flights and hotels within Thailand and our trip went off without a hitch. The hotels were great and the transportation always arrived on time and with a clean,More
Guinevere Provance, Aug 2023
WOW! I’ve traveled Asia some & I must say Sharon & Asia Highlights made this trip so much more enjoyable and easyMore
Stephen Hollis, Aug 2023
Alisa has has been great to work with
Alisa with Asia Highlights has has been great to work with. Very friendly and responsive.More
Ana Rausch, Aug 2023
Using Sharon right now to book our…
Using Sharon right now to book our upcoming trip to Thailand. She has booked everything that we asked for. Has answered all of my inquiries, which has been many! Looking forward to having a great girls trip in ThailandMore
Tracy, Aug 2023
Thailand, Singapore, Bali
In Thailand, Tanny and Nori(Suparp), were both incredible! They were both fun, funny, and full of knowledge and made sure we got the full experience. They went the extra mile and always made sure we had cold bottled water and towels to cleanse our hands. In Singapore, Nicole was an absolute gem. She was so kind and knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction to make our day as enjoyable as possible. She helped us choose a top notch local lunch and coffee spot in China Town and taught us so much about the country! In Bali, Emon was an absolute joy. He was very knowledgeable and kind and absolutely made sure we were feeling comfortable and was willing to be flexible with us. He was fun to converse with and made our time traveling between destinations so enjoyable! I cannot recommend Asia Highlights enough! Accommodations, travel arrangements and guided tours were all a breeze.More
Cassi Thunker, Jul 2023
Very supportive ! I have received eticket for Sky Lattern Festival very fastMore
Chi?n Nguy?n Ng?c, Jul 2023
My experience in Chang Mai with Asia Highlights
I greatly enjoyed my experience with Asia Highlights for a trip I booked to Thailand.All of my interests were catered too. My guide in Chang Mai Gemma was excellent.I truly felt the soul of Thailand culture and Buddhism.More
Richard, Jul 2023
A pleasure to plan with
Well, this has been a painless and pleasurable process to find such a wonderful company. I had specific dates and places to be and Sharon worked with me diligently to refine the schedule and costs to suit my travel needs and budget. She informed me of a special tour on the dates I am to be in Thailand and I added that to my previous plans.More
Chris Williams, Jul 2023
Large multi-generational holiday in Thailand
The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
CL, Jul 2023
I never used a travel agent in my life
I never used a travel agent in my life, but Sharon for Asia Highlights did a phenomenal job helping planning and coordination a family vacation. The best part of working with Sharon was that she maintained an open line of communication and provided answers to my question well within 12-24 hours. Additionally, Sharon was flexible and customized our vacation to my families needs. Overall great experience.More
Antione Barry, Jul 2023
Great company to plan a trip to Southeast Asia!
Sharon Haung has been wonderful to work with! Very patient and accommodating. Responds immediately given time change and is prepared, prompt, and professional.More
Debi Hinerfeld, Jul 2023
We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
SIMO el ghobar, Jun 2023
Wonderful Guides and Experience
Our large group arrived in Bangkok with Tanni as our guide. She was wonderful! An absolute joy to spend time with. She is knowledgeable, kind, and extremely funny. I don’t know what we would have done without her! After Bangkok, we traveled to Chang Mai, where Indy was our tour guide. She was a delight! She is kind, knowledgeable, and so patient. Our trip to Thailand was an adventure of a lifetime and these two women helped make it memorable. I would definitely use Asia Highlights for any future travel in Asia.More
Jessica Bennett, Jun 2023
When is Songkran Festival 2024?
Songkran Festival is celebrated from April 13th to April 15th every year. There is an official opening ceremony on 13th April to mark the start of the Songkran Festival in big cities of Thailand. In many places of Thailand, the holiday extends to 5–10 days or more.
You might be curious about why the Thai New Year is in April. The Thais migrated from southern China into Thailand around 200 BC. Their calendar was lunar, but after migrating southwards they had to adapt to the different temperatures of Central Thailand, and they decided to switch New Year to April, to coincide with the end of the dry season.
The Three Days of Songkran
April 13th: The first day of the new year is known as Song Nam Phra ('Pouring Water on Monks') Day. There are processions of Buddha images all across the country. This is the day when the biggest water fights happen.
April 14th: This day is also known as Wan Nao and it celebrates the old Thai New Year's Eve. This is also National Family Day when everyone is encouraged to spend quality time with their families.
April 15th: On this day, the New Year begins. This day is also known as Wan Payawan ('Bathing Buddha') Day. There are parties and celebrations everywhere, with ongoing water fights, concerts, street food, and much more!
How to Celebrate Songkran Festival
There are many traditional activities held during Songkran Festival, including the famous water splashing, cleaning houses and Buddha statues, merit-making in temples, as well as exciting street and beach Songkran parties.
1. Water Splashing
Water fights are an important part of the New Year celebrations. April is the hottest time of year in Thailand and splashing each other with water is an excellent way to cool down. Streets are closed to traffic and used as arenas: huge crowds of people gather to "fight" with water using pipes, buckets, and water guns. It's an activity that the younger generations love: foreigners are more than welcome to join in!
Like at Chinese New Year, Thai people clean their houses, schools, temples, offices, and other public places to welcome in the New Year with a fresh and clean environment. Merit-making: Most Thai people like to give gifts of food to monks in the temples and worship their ancestors during the Songkran Festival. The monks give them words of wisdom after receiving the food gifts.
3. Merit Making
Merit making is an important part of Songkran Festival. Thai people go to temples and offer food and clothing to the monks and listen to their Buddhist preaching. Offerings to the monks include preserved food, fruits, cooked dishes, and new robes for the monks.
4. Releashing Birds and Fish
Releasing birds and fish back to their natural habitats: Thai people see this practice of giving freedom to living creatures as part of their Buddhist belief that releasing animals to freedom returns back good fortune.
5. Folk Performances and Games
Folk performances and games are organized for enjoyment during Songkran. There are Thai beauty pageant competitions displaying traditional Thai dress and street parades. Other interesting activities during Songkran Festival include street food vendors, flag ceremonies, Thai dances, and boat races.
6. Building Sand Pagodas
Building sand pagodas on temple grounds involves Thai people bringing some sand to temples during the Songkran Festival. The sand can be used to build sand pagodas or repair temples. Helping with temple maintenance and helping monks in general is regarded as good practice during Songkran Festival.
Where to Celebrate Songkran Festival in 2024
Songkran Festival is celebrated all over Thailand. Big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai hold bigger celebrations than other small towns or villages. Northern areas of Thailand have much longer celebrations than southern parts do.
Here are some popular destinations that most tourists like to visit to experience the Songkran Festival.
Songkran in Bangkok
The capital of Thailand is a unique place if you wish to enjoy Thai New Year. On Silom, a 5-kilometer-long (3-mile long) street in the center of the city, thousands of people gather to splash water on everyone with anything they can find, from buckets to water guns.
Opposite the Grand Palace, on Sanam Luang, you can admire a statue of the Buddha on the 13th of April. The statue will be carried around so people can sprinkle water on it for good luck. People also build sand pagodas and visit the temples for 'merit-making'.
Heading to the temples will enable you to participate in traditional Songkran customs: People go there to offer food to the monks, and to gain merit by paying their respects to the Buddha and their ancestors, and by pouring scented water on the statues of Buddha.
Songkran in Chiang Mai
This beautiful town in the north of Thailand hosts the biggest Songkran celebrations in the world. There are water fights all over the city: if you find yourself near the Ping River, or near canals or lakes, be prepared to be soaked from head to toe! On 12th April, you can participate in a parade with Buddha images from all over the city, accompanied by minstrels and local people.
Buddhists spend the 13th and 14th going to a wat (a Buddhist monastery) to pray and offer food to monks. They wash the statues of Buddha in their houses with perfumed water.
People carry sand to their monastery as compensation for all the sand they brought away under their feet during the year. The sand is used to build a stupa decorated with colorful flags. On the 15th, people pay homage to their ancestors and elders.
Songkran in Pattaya
Known as the party city of Thailand, Pattaya has the longest festival celebrations in Thailand. Water splashing "fights" begin from the morning of 13 April on every beach road in Pattaya. Live music stages and foam machines are set up to attract crowds to join in the great party. Moving pick-up trucks are used as mobile stages on the road with loud music playing all day. All tourists and locals enjoy Songkran's happiness.
Songkran in Phuket
Patong Beach area is the most popular place to celebrate Songkran Festival in Phuket. Tourists and local people splash water at everyone and enjoying a big party. There are live music shows and traditional Thai dancing performances around Saphan Hin Park in Phuket Town. In the streets along Bangla Road, there are many pickups employed to provide water to throw at everyone during Songkran Festival.
Happy Songkran Greetings
How to Wish People a Happy Songkran Festival? Like Chinese New Year, Songkran Festival, i.e. Thai New Year, is the time for Thai people to celebrate their New Year and gather together at their families' generational homes. If you are in Thailand during Songkran Festival, then you'd be able to get into the New Year spirit more by learning some Thai words to wish the local people a happy Songkran Festival. Here are some popular greetings:
1. 'Happy Songkran!'
Sà-wàt-dee bpee mài!
2. 'Happy Songkran!'
Sùk-săn wan sŏng-graan!
3. 'I wish you a happy Songkran. May you get what you wish for.'
Kŏr hâi mee kwaam sùk wan sŏng-graan. Kŏr à-rai dâai yàang nán.
Songkran History and Origin
Songkran originated from the ancient Indian Festival of Makar Sankriti, which recognizes the sun's celestial path. Thai people have taken it as the change of the old year into a new one. For Buddhists, this auspicious movement of the heavenly bodies marks an important day.
In the past, Thai New Year was celebrated on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Today, it is observed in the fifth month. The reasons for this change relate to a leaving behind of the former customs of the Thai people in the south of China, whose culture was one of rice farming and Buddhism, which incorporates a lot of astrological beliefs.
Travel Tips for Celebrating Songkran in Thailand
Water fights are an extremely fun way to celebrate the Songkran Festival. If you want to join them, follow these tips to avoid any problems.
- 1. Follow the rules: it's a "war", but there are rules. Use clean fresh water and water guns (high-pressure guns are prohibited), and don't shoot people in the eyes.
- 2. Be careful: April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand, with temperatures that can reach up to 40 degrees Celcius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
- 3. Wet powder: a lot of people will spread wet powder on your face to bless you (except on Khao San Road in Bangkok, where it is prohibited). Carry a bottle of water to wash your face afterwards.
- 4. Dress code: it's better to use swim goggles and swimsuits. Always wear a t-shirt (fighting topless is illegal).
- 5. Protect your electronic devices using a waterproof bag.
- 6. Avoid driving: traffic in Thailand is extremely dense. During Songkran, thousands of people will be driving on the streets, making the roads particularly dangerous.
- 7. Don't splash water on monks, the elderly, babies, pregnant women, and people who are working. Try to respect people who wouldn't expect to participate in the water fight.
- 8. Don't take off your dress or shirt even you have got wet. You can get arrested, as it violates the values and culture of Thailand.
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
- 9-Day Thailand Family Tour
- 10-Day Best of Thailand Tour
- 11-Day Best of Thailand and Cambodia Tour
- 12-Day Thailand Family Holiday
- 12-Day Essential Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour
- 12-Day Thailand Wonders Tour
- 13-Day Essence of Thailand Tour
- 14-Day Classic Vietnam and Thailand Tour
- 15-Day Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour
- 19-Day Highlights of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam
- 19-Day Singapore, Thailand, India and Nepal Tour
- 20-Day Siem Reap, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali, Phillippine and Taiwan Tour
- How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand — 7 Easy Steps
- How to Plan a 3-Week Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Couple’s/Family Tour
- How to Plan a Trip to Thailand and Cambodia (2024/2025)
- How to Plan a Thailand and Vietnam Trip (2024/2025)
- How to Plan a Trip to Singapore and Thailand 2024/2025
- How to Plan a Trip to Japan and Thailand
- Best & Worst Time to Visit Thailand 2024, Rainy Season? (Not when you think!)
- How Long to Spend in Thailand: Itinerary Ideas from 1-3 Weeks
- 2 Weeks in Thailand: 3 Top Itineraries for First-Timers, Couples, and Families
- 2-Week Itineraries in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam (2024/2025)
- How to Plan a 2-Week Thailand-and-Cambodia Itinerary (2024/2025)
- How to Plan a 3-Week Thailand and Cambodia Itinerary (2024/2025)
- Thailand Weather in January: Which Island/Best Places to Visit
- Thailand Weather in February: Which Island/Best Places to Visit
- Thailand Weather in March: Temperature, Places to Visit, Travel Tips
- Thailand Weather in April: Temperatures, Places to Visit, Songkran Festival
- Thailand Weather in May: Too Hot & Rainy? Best Places to Go and Travel Tips
- What's the Weather Like in Thailand in June?
- Thailand Weather in July: Temperatures, Best Places to Visit
- Thailand Weather in August: Temperature and Best Places to Go
- Thailand Weather in September: Temperature, Best Places to Visit
- Thailand Weather in October: Still Rain? Where to Visit?
- Thailand Weather in November 2023, Travel Tips for First-Timers
- Thailand Weather in December 2023: Travel Tips & Places to Go
Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.