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Songkran in Bangkok: Tips for Celebrating the Thai New Year

celebrating Sonkran in Bangkok
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Your Guide to Celebrating Songkran in Bangkok

Planning to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok? Learn when Songkran starts, when to arrive for Songkran, what to wear, and tips on Thai New Year etiquette. 

What is Songkran Like?

Songkran is super fun to celebrate! People literally run around the streets of Bangkok using squirt guns to soak strangers and throw cups of water at each other. No one can hide!

Bangkok is where you will see the most activity, but remember that Songkran is celebrated all around Thailand.

Songkran experience
Songkran experience
Bangkok Thai new year

Songkran is a beautifully chaotic time to be in Thailand. Bangkok specifically is an amazing place to celebrate the Thai New Year since so many people flock to the city for playful festivities.

Many tourists who are traveling Southeast Asia plan to be in Bangkok for Songkran because the large-scale celebrations are like being in another world! Songkran in Bangkok is definitely an experience worth planning for. Get ready to get soaked, and don’t always expect warm water!

Bangkok Thai new year

Very often, people will come out of nowhere, soak you and run away. You can’t help but giggle like children. It really brings out the youth within everyone.

Groups of friends pass each other on the street and get into little water gun fights while local children dance with water hoses in their hands. Songkran is amazing and the best time to visit Bangkok!

When Does Songkran Start?

Songkran begins on April 13th each year and the holiday ends two days later on April 15th. 

Locals and tourists alike will likely start throwing water in the streets on April 12th, the night before Songkran officially begins. After sundown on the 15th, most water-throwing activities will end.

Songkran parties in Bangkok
Songkran parties in Bangkok
hotels for Songkran in Bangkok

While walking around on the night of April 12th, I was suddenly surrounded by groups of tourists with water guns. You can only guess what happened next!

I was so surprised since I thought everything would start the next day! Everyone is eager to celebrate, so plan in advance.

hotels for Songkran in Bangkok

Where in Bangkok is Songkran Held?

The best part about the Songkran festivities in Bangkok is that they take place everywhere! Pockets of locals celebrate in the streets all throughout the city. Usually, you won’t have to go far to find some wild Songkran action.

tuk tuk location hotel Bangkok

Groups of families and friends will set up hangouts in random areas on a sidewalk where they have access to a source of water. They will bring speakers to play music and hang out all day. Others will join their water-throwing party to take part in the fun of dousing everyone passing by.

bangkok rooftop bars 1
bangkok rooftop bars 1
tuk tuk location hotel Bangkok

Khao San Road, the famous backpacker street in Bangkok, turns into a giant water fight party every night during Songkran! I recommend booking a hostel near Khao San Road for an exciting Songkran experience.

Tables on the street are removed and a large area for dancing is constructed. Don’t expect to go out for dinner or drinks in this area of town unless you are prepared to get soaked!

Gay Tours During Songkran

Out Adventures is the best and most popular organizer of gay tours in Thailand—and they offer yearly gay vacation packages during the Songkran festivities.

gay Bangkok

Check out their Thai New Year gay tour, which covers multiple popular Thai destinations including Bangkok, the Krabi region, Phuket, and Chiang Mai.

Where to Buy Water Guns for Songkran in Bangkok

You will find many roadside stands selling water guns all over the city. Each day they become cheaper as vendors become more and more eager to sell whatever they have left.

buying water guns for Songkran in Bangkok

Prior to Songkran, you will probably be charged 400 to 500 Thai Baht. Midway through the festivities, you can probably find a water gun for 250 to 300 Baht.

buying water guns for Songkran in Bangkok
gay Bangkok

Plastic cell phone necklace cases are a wise idea It’s better to keep your money and phone dry. They are cheap and convenient.

You may be wondering where you will find water while you’re out in the street. Don’t worry, it will be easy. Many shops put out blow-up pools and fill them with tap water for everyone to use.

Some beer stands will also give you some ice-cold water from their coolers if you buy a beer. The reactions you get from squirting cold water are priceless.

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Songkran Etiquette Tips

Firstly, make sure you understand what the Songkran festival is all about. While getting wet and surprising people with squirts of water is fun, there is deep meaning in these playful activities that everyone should be familiar with.

Make sure to understand the meaning of Songkran before you decide to celebrate it.

Songkran in Bangkok festival
Songkran in Bangkok festival
Water gun fights in Bangkok

Be aware that it is not appropriate to take off your shirt after getting wet. In Chiang Mai, one male tourist was arrested for this!

Everyone keeps whatever clothes they are wearing the entire time. Walking around in a bikini or without a shirt would be considered disrespectful and may land you in trouble for indecency.

Water gun fights in Bangkok

What to Wear During Songkran Water Fights

It is best to wear non-absorbent clothing during Songkran to be more comfortable. For men, bathing suit shorts, flip flops and a nylon/polyester tank top is perfect. The non-absorbent material will be much more comfortable than heavy water-soaked cotton.

Songkran water fight
When is Thai new year
Songkran water fight

The weather is warm during Songkran in Bangkok. You won’t need any jackets or outerwear. Even walking through the streets completely soaked, I did not feel the least bit cold. In fact, it’s quite refreshing.

When is Thai new year

If you cannot afford to get wet for any specific reason, make sure to travel by taxi (and keep the windows closed). Locals love to surprise unsuspecting tuk-tuk passengers with buckets of water. It happened to me!

More Tips for Songkran in Bangkok

Remember that the water used in other people’s water guns may not be potable. People get water from many different sources, and so you should never get any of that water in your mouth. Most of it should be fine, but it is best to avoid any potential contact with harmful bacteria.

Songkran etiquette tips
Songkran etiquette tips
thai flowers

Want to play a mean trick on your friends or someone in the street? Ice-cold water is your best friend. I couldn’t stop laughing at people’s reactions when I squirted them with shockingly cold water. I grabbed some from a stand on the street. 

Some people may tell you not to use cold water, but I found this to be extremely common.

thai flowers

Above all, be respectful during this special celebration. Don’t squirt water at people who are in a restaurant, eating in the street, or trying to purchase something at a street stand.

Additionally, I personally would not throw water at anyone that is dressed in business clothes. It would be unfortunate to ruin something important that they are doing. As for everyone else? Fair game!

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Next, check out wolfyy’s Bangkok gay guide.

Or, consider a trip to the Thai Islands with tips from wolfyy’s gay guides to Koh Samui, the Phi Phi Islands, and Koh Phangan.

For more inspiration, explore wolfyy’s full collection of gay travel guides.

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