Considered quite simply ‘The Best Day Ever’ by most who experience it, Songkran is an experience to be remembered. Celebrated on the 13th April every year, the original meaning behind this amazing water festival was to rinse away the previous year’s sins with water, and enter the new year cleansed and revitalised. However…over the years this tradition has morphed into what can only be described as the most insane water fight ever! It’s the most popular public holiday, and an amazing party that everyone gets involved in. Celebrated by toddlers and pensioners alike, men women and children around the country flock to the streets to spray – and be sprayed – with water.
Sounding pretty amazing?! It is! Considered the favorite day of the year by Thai’s and expat’s alike, its a super fun time to get involved with the local community and celebrate. Everywhere you go from the main street to side streets, and from the beach to every bar and swimming pool, there’ll be a party to join. Here in Koh Tao the this lasts for just one day. However elsewhere in Thailand New Year celebrations can last anything from 3 days to a week – particularly in the big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Do keep your wits about you though. It’s no fun if you are too sick or injured to enjoy it! To help with that here’s our top tips for Songkran Survival:
Reapply your sunscreen frequently. It will wash off several times over throughout the day, so you can easily get burned.
Drink lots of water. Running around in the sun all day (no doubt with a beer in hand for the most part!) will dehydrate you, and the local clinics often report a surge in dehydration sickness & heat exhaustion/sun stroke at this time of year.
This is the hottest time of year on Koh Tao, so please be respectful of our fragile island environment. There is a constant shortage of fresh water supplies, so use sea water to refill your super-soakers.
Do not take phones, cameras or other electronic equipment out with you. Whatever your intentions, you WILL get drenched and anything not fully waterproofed will get ruined. Any valuables that you cannot do without should be safely inside a dry dock pouch or dry bag.
Avoid driving motorbikes/quads anywhere. No one gets a free pass at Songkran, and with everyone wrapped up in the party atmosphere, even motorists are fair game for a face shot with a super-soaker! You’ll still get water and powder thrown in your face, which makes accidents a lot more prevalent. You have been warned!
Some of the powders used as part of the traditions have been replaced over the years by prickly heat powder and similar. So protect your eyes – it stings!
We hope you have a wonderful celebration, and happy 2561 (yes, we’re a few hundred years ahead in the Buddhist calendar!) from all of us here at Master Divers 🙂
Sabai Dee Pee Mai! (Happy New Year!)