While I was living in Thailand, I experienced my first Songkran – the Thai New Year.
Songkran is the ultimate celebration that takes place every year from April 13th – 15th. (In some parts of Thailand it’s celebrated all week!) Basically, it’s one giant party for three+ days straight. During the day, everyone pours into the streets to have the world’s biggest waterfight. People of all ages stand on the side of the road with buckets and hoses, drenching cars, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, and pedestrians as they pass by. It’s a fantastic way to stay cool in the Thai heat. You can also expect to have a clay-like mixture rubbed on your face throughout the day.
Behind all the partying and madness, there is a serious and spiritual side to Songkran. It is a holiday to respect your elders and pay homage to buddha and the monks. The water symbolizes cleansing yourself of all the bad energy from the past year and the clay mixture is to bring good luck into the next. Thais also take time to visit their family and wats (temples) during this time.

The first day of Songrkran, we didn’t know what to expect. We had already bought water guns, so we attached the go-pro to one of them and headed for the streets. There were people everywhere bombarding us with hoses and buckets full of water. Around every corner we would stop to engage in epic water gun battles with strangers. People stood on the side of the road with barrels of ice cold water, for anyone who needed to fill their guns up.
We eventually made our way over to Central World to check out their water festival, where we spent hours having water fights, dancing to music in the foam pit, and enjoying delicious street food.
At night we made our way over to Silom, which had the entire street completely blocked off, so everyone could drink, dance, and continue celebrating until all hours of the night. Those three days are, and will remain, some of my most treasured memories of all time.

Here’s a quick video I threw together a while back of our experience at Central World mall during the festival.

Songkran is one of those events that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you’re ever planning on traveling to Thailand.
Here’s the website for photos and more details on the upcoming 2014 holiday.