Experience Songkran 2024: Thailand’s Best Festival

Songkran 2024 will be big! The Thailand government has just announced that for 2024, Songkran (Thailand’s New Year Festival), which runs for four days in April, will be expanded to the entire month, making the event the must-attend festival of the year. Bangkok based Stephen Christopher shares his tips and some background on this popular Thai festival.

Songkran officially falls between 13 to 16 April each year, although the 2024 celebrations will continue all month. It is always a fun time of year to be in Thailand, and no matter what province you’re in, the Thai New Year is welcomed with water — usually in the form of a bucket or a water gun. 

For those of you who’ve never experienced Songkran, 2024 will be the year to do it. The planning stages have just begun, but here’s our guide to everything Songkran.

Please note: we will add details and links to specific events when they become available, so bookmark this page and come back for more.

So what is Songkran?

Thai New Year, the Songkran festival, has been observed in Thailand for centuries. Initially, it was held in either April or May as the date changed with the lunar calendar; these days, the dates are fixed to April 13–16.

Songkran comes from the Sanskrit terms ‘step into’, ‘enter’ or ‘pass into’. It designates leaving the past (year) and heading into the future. 

Traditionally, the three days were designated as a time for families to come together and participate in specific rituals:

  • April 13 – people clean their homes and public places like temples and schools; this removes any bad luck left over from the previous year.
  • April 14 – people prepare food and offerings to be given to monks and temples; it’s also the day to pay respect to your elders.
  • April 15 – people go to the temple to have monks pray for them, and many families perform other rituals believed to bring good luck.

Nowadays, while many families still partake in these traditional rituals, most people celebrate Songkran in a very different way.

What happens during Songkran?

Songkran has become synonymous with the ‘splashing of water’, which is believed to wash away any negativity from the past and cleanse the body, mind, and soul for the upcoming year.

What was once the light flicking of water onto the top of the person’s head is now a full-scale water fight of epic proportions.

“Weapons” of choice range from hand-held water pistols to a complete super-soaker system with a backpack of spare water. Others choose to stand by the side of the road and throw an entire bucket of water over passers-by. Either way, if you’re in Thailand during Songkran, you’ll get wet; very, very wet.

Siam Square, Bangkok, Thailand - APR 14, 2023 Songkran Festival, The short action of people joins celebrations of the Thai New Year or Songkran in Siam Square Bangkok, Thailand.
Thai New Year or Songkran in Siam Square Bangkok,

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Songkran was cancelled entirely in Thailand in 2020 and 2021. It returned in 2022 with extreme restrictions — including banning water throwing. Thankfully, in 2023, it returned in full glory. Perhaps the Thai government has approved a month-long festival in 2024 to make up for the 2.5 cancelled ones. 

the Best Places to Celebrate Songkran in Thailand

Thailand has 77 provinces, and Songkran is celebrated in each and every one of them. For tourists there, four main cities put on the biggest shows. Here are the best destinations to party in during Songkran.

Where to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok

Bangkok has the largest Songkran party in Bangkok. It’s so big the water party expands into three different areas. The concept is the same, and each location is easy to get to.


The number 1  place to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok is in Silom. One entire block of Silom Road is closed to vehicles. People head there in droves dressed in bright colours, armed with their water weapon of choice, ready to engage in epic water fights. It’s great fun, and the excitement in the air is catching.

However, to grab a drink and a respite from the water activities, you can slip into Silom Soi 4. This tiny alleyway, about halfway down the main street, is ‘water-free’ to allow people to eat and drink in comfort.

Silom is easy to get to by BTS to Saladaeng station or MRT to Silom station.

Songkran 2024 fun awaits
Water fight on the streets of Silom district as part of the Songkran festival

Khao San Road

The former backpacker playground of Khao San Road is now visited by people of all demographics. The party here differs from Silom as you can buy alcohol everywhere in the street. My tip is to grab an outdoor table at one of the many bars and buy a tower of beer or a bucket of your favourite cocktail to keep yourself hydrated, of course. Then, load your water guns and indiscriminately shoot passers-by. Don’t worry; they’re armed and ready for the assault. 

To get to Khao San Road, jump on the Chao Phraya Express Boat and get off at Phra Athit jetty. Just follow the crowd 500m to the party zone.


A bit of a late-comer to the Songkran celebrations, the forecourt of the shopping mall is cordoned off and turned into a giant foam party. centralWorld is also the site of the Songkran Music Festival, where live bands entertain the crowds as they party at night.

CentralWorld is within equal walking distance from either Siam or Chitlom BTS stations.

Songkran in Pattaya

Pattaya City loves Songkran so much that it’s a six-day instead of a three-day festival. Head into Pattaya city itself and descend on the famous walking street, where the biggest party is held. Alternatively, the Central Festival shopping mall right in the centre of Beach Road has an equally impressive atmosphere.

For members of the LGBTQI community, head around the corner to Jomtien Beach and head to Supertown, a small block of streets scattered with gay bars, massage shops, and restaurants. The entire area becomes one giant party.

Where to celebrate Songkran in Phuket

The island of Phuket comes alive during Songkran. There are two central locations on the island where festivities are held; however, it’s highly likely that whatever resort you’re staying in, they’ll have their own private party.

Phuket Town

The CBD of Phuket and the ferry terminal to the islands is Thailand of the past; historic buildings line the road, and it’s on these streets and alleyways that you can join in the fun of water fights.

Patong Beach

The main beach of Phuket becomes an entire party zone throughout Songkran. Famous Bangla Road, which joins the beach road to the second road, is the place for adults to party; drinks flow, as does the entertainment. 

Chiang Mai Songkran Festivities

The walled old city of Chiang Mai is the place to find all the action. The Thapae Gate on the eastern side of the town has the biggest party, but my tip is to pack your water gun and walk up and down all the streets inside the city. You’ll get in some great exercise and feel you’ve entered Thailand of 200 years ago.

Songkran 2024 will be celebrated for an entire month
Songkran in Chiang Mai Credit: Nuwat Chanthachanthuek

Preparing For the Big Day Out

Joining in one of the street parties is, for some, a once-in-a-lifetime event, so don’t let anything spoil it. If you follow these suggestions, you’ll be prepared for anything.

What to wear to Songkran

As you’re going to be out in the sun and will be getting wet, choosing the type of fabric to wear is vital. Heavy cotton can absorb water and have trouble drying out; it’ll keep your body cold and wet, which is uncomfortable. Similarly, avoid wearing jeans and jackets. 

Foreigners and Thai people enjoy splashing water together in songkran festival
Foreigners and Thai people enjoy splashing water together during the Songkran festival.

Light fabrics, especially beach wear, are the perfect choice. Flip-flops are the best shoe options as you will be walking through puddles. 

Don’t forget the sunscreen, waterproof if you can find it. The sun’s rays can be super strong this time of year.

What to bring to Songkran – Water Guns and Pistols

You will want to be armed and prepared for the ensuing water fight. While I have the fortune of living in Bangkok and having an arsenal of water guns in my closet, tourists can buy them everywhere, and I mean everywhere. 

Stephen ready to take to the streets!

Your best option is to go to a shopping mall and look for our famous 20 baht shop (similar to the $2 shop in other countries), where they’ll be at their cheapest. If you don’t really care what you pay for one and just want to get into the fun on the day, there’ll be pop-up street vendors near all the major party zones willing to sell you one at very inflated prices.

What do you do when you run out of water? You buy more, of course. All the party streets have barrels of water strategically placed everywhere. Be prepared to pay 5 or 10 baht per refill. 

Stay Safe and Hydrated: Tips for Surviving Songkran

While Songkran is a festival full of fun and entertainment, there are a few downsides. Hospitals get busiest at this time of year due to a number of factors. It’s also the busiest time of the year with tourists flocking from across the globe to attend, so here are some things to be aware of.

Protect Your Belongings

Things like your watch, phone, and wallet can quickly get soaked. Buy a resealable plastic protector — they’re sold on every street corner in Thailand during Songkran. The best ones have a neck strap, so you can keep it safe on your body and protected from the cascade of water.

Stay Safe – More Cars on the Road

Sadly, during Songkran, Thailand has more road deaths than any other time of the year. This is primarily because of the mass migration of people from Bangkok, returning to their hometowns to be with their families.

More cars are on the road than usual, and traffic jams that last for hours can test everyone’s patience. Road rage turns into lousy behaviour, which results in dangerous driving. Instances of drink-driving increase during Songkran due to the excitement of the celebrations.

If you plan to travel between provinces by road during that time, rethink your plans and travel before or after.

Stay Well – Dehydration and Heatstroke

Dehydration and heatstroke can happen to tourists unfamiliar with the climate in Thailand. April is Thailand’s hottest month, with temperatures ranging from 30°C to 36°C, but the humidity can make it feel ten degrees hotter. Being outside for hours on end in this heat can result in heat stroke. Try to take time out of the festivities to find a cool place to protect yourself from the sun. Always wear plenty of sunscreen. 

 Make sure you keep hydrated, and no alcohol doesn’t count; in fact, it can make you even more at risk of dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of water all day.

A side-effect of being splashed with water for hours on end is that the body doesn’t get time to dry, and cold can set in. Some water fighters load their guns or buckets with ice water, which can be pretty painful when it hits your body. Try to play these water games out in the sun so that your clothes and body can dry off. If you stay in cold, wet clothes for an extended time, you risk hyperthermia.

Safety for Children

Wondering if Songkran is suitable for kids? Songkran is a time for celebration, and yes, it’s family-friendly. While joining in the celebrations at any big event is fun, they get very crowded, and children can get overwhelmed or lost. Try to find a venue or area with fewer people but still get into the festival’s spirit.

Flights and Accommodation

Attending Songkran in Thailand requires a lot of planning; the earlier, the better. While it’s not high season as far as the airlines are concerned, in 2024, it occurs two weeks after Easter, and some people may extend their holidays. 

Songkran in Thailand

Hotels in and around the party destinations get fully booked and, sometimes, double their rates in preparation, so book early or consider staying a little further away and relying on public transport to get around.

Songkran 2024 – The Best Ever

The Thai government wants Songkran 2024 to be the best ever, and by allowing a whole month to celebrate, that’s highly likely. It’s already a well-known event worldwide, but next year will ensure it’s on the ‘must-attend’ calendar.

If you’re visiting Bangkok, try to get to Silom on one day and Khao San on another to get the best of both experiences. The same goes for Phuket, as Phuket Town and Patong Beach also have different styles of celebrating.

For those of you who choose Chiang Mai as your destination, be sure to head to the old city to enjoy Songkran northern style.

Pattaya-bound travellers, why not extend your trip and party for the entire six days?

Are you coming to Thailand for Songkran in 2024? If you see me out partying, and I promise you I will be, come and say hi!

About the author: Stephen left Australia in 2016 with a one-way ticket to Thailand
and hasn’t been back since. Seven years later, he’s “living the ex-pat dream”, married and settled down; he and his partner travel across Thailand competing in half-marathon running events and sampling coffee at cafes.