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The Songkran Festival Chiang Mai heralds in the Thai New Year with a mass of religious ceremonies over three days to mark the beginning of the solar year.

For foreigners, Songkran is best known for being the biggest water fight in the world, when locals and foreigners alike splash water at each other all over the city.

Songkran Festival Chiang Mai 2024 Dates, Water Fight Thailand

The splashing of water is supposed to signify a cleansing but has become a super fun celebration with water pistols and buckets of water being dumped on everybody in Chiang Mai; no one is safe!

The festival generally starts with locals cleaning up around the city, and on the morning of the first day of the festival, locals will gather to offer food to the monks at the temples. Many locals also travel to the temples for blessing and cleansing ceremonies by pouring water on the Buddha statues. The locals believe that by splashing water, they are washing away sins and cleansing themselves of bad luck.

However, these water cleansing ceremonies have transformed over time to become the huge water fight that takes place today. Only monks, babies, and the elderly are spared, so visitors coming to Chiang Mai during this time should invest in a waterproof bag and get out of it.

The biggest parties occur around Tha Phae Gate, the moat and near the Ping River. This is due to the endless water source, so although it is the most fun place to be, you WILL be splashed with dirty moat water!

If you do not wish to be splashed during this time, your only option is to remain indoors. You WILL be a target. It is best to leave the scooter at home during Songkran, as the roads are wet and slippery, and it is common for a local to run up to you and dump a bucket of water over you while riding. Even if you take a Songthaew or tuk-tuk, you WILL get wet.

Dress appropriately in comfortable clothing you can walk around in all day whilst wet. Men should ensure they wear a t-shirt or singlet, as walking around shirtless is not appropriate on this religious holiday.

Most stores and services will be closed during this festival, with only 7/11 and some restaurants and bars remaining open.

So buy a super-soaker from any 7/11 (around 300-400 THB) and get out amongst it!

If you are coming to Chiang Mai just for the festival, countless accommodation choices are available. There are too many hotels, hostels, apartments and guest houses to mention, but you can find a bargain anywhere in the city.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Chiang Mai Travel Hub website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having lived in Chiang Mai for several years and has since visited several times), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.


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Some great locations to experience Songkran are: - Kad Suan Kaew - Think Park & Maya Mall - Around the Old City and all around the Moat - Tha Phae Gate - Loi Kroh Road - Central Festival - Kad Farang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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