The Magic of Songkran Festival 2015 (by Megan Collier)


I had been to Thailand only once before this year and got the chance to experience some of the amazing opportunities and unique experiences the country has to offer. This time, I had originally only planned to stay for a two-week vacation and leave the beginning of April, but about a week into my time there I heard word of a festival that was supposed to be happening mid-April. Realizing I could change my plans if I wanted to, I decided to stay and see what all the fuss and excitement was about. All I knew so far was that it involved getting wet…very wet. Here is what I got to experience by taking part in the incredible festivities of Songkran Festival 2015…

A Nationwide Celebration

Songkran Festival in Chai Phra Kiat Temple, Chiang MaiAs the three-day festival was getting closer and closer, the more I got to learn about what makes these days so special. Talking to some of my friendly hotel staff in Phuket as well as some locals I met at the beach, I got to hear from them why Songkran is the most celebrated time of the year. From their broken English, what I gathered up was that it is their official New Year celebration where people line the streets and sidewalks with buckets full of water, squirt guns and hoses and proceed to soak anyone within reaching distance. The water is supposed to represent washing away things of the past and beginning with a fresh and clean start of the coming year. Because it is a nationwide celebration taking place in nearly every city, town, village and neighborhood, Songkran Festival has now become known as the biggest water fight in the world. The combination of knowing that I was going to be a part of that alongside the way each of these people’s faces lit up when describing it to me, I just knew it was going to be an experience of a lifetime.

 Preparing for the Day

 The days leading up to the festival, I began to notice that practically every store in town was advertising and selling water guns. Of course, it being my first time celebrating Songkran I knew my only option was to go completely all out; I bought the biggest water gun I could find along with a mini water gun backpack just in case I ran out of ammo from the big one. The day before the celebrations began, it seemed as if this mist of excitement filled every inch of the air.

Songkran Was Finally Here

I woke up April 13th in hopes that the anxiousness and excitement of the past couple weeks wasn’t going to end up being a let down of my expectations. I made my way to Chalong where it’s said toSongkran-3-TAT have one of the biggest celebrations in all of Phuket. Because the police had blocked off both entrances of the street, I ended up finding a parking spot and began walking, following the trail of loud music as I went. Not even two steps in, a herd of kids ran out and proceeded to throw buckets of ice-cold water on me, laughing and glowing knowing they had completely caught me off guard. This was the beginning of one of the most magical three days of my life.

Just as I had heard, there were hundreds of people lining the street with the widest smiles and loudest laughs that took over the entire area of town. Children from one side were coming up with colored water and slapping it on my face while another group of kids were grabbing buckets and water guns making sure every inch of me was completely drenched.

Every step I took, not only did I become more soaked, I became happier. Not once did I see someone not smiling or laughing the whole day I was there celebrating. It was as if every single person I came in contact with was now a friend that was sharing this incredible moment with me. Although I started the day out alone, it only took minutes to realize that this day wasn’t just about celebrating the coming of a new year or the washing away of the past, it was about community and friendship and the glorious fact that all of us were able to experience it together.

Loud music, dancing, the most amazing street food I have ever eaten and some of the friendliest people I have yet to meet was what filled the day of April 13, 2015. The two days following the first were just as exciting and memorable that I found myself constantly wishing the festivities would never end.

Seeing Another Side of Thailand

Songkran-1-TATNow, looking back on those days of Songkran Festival, only good and cherished memories are what flood my mind. My first trip to Thailand was absolutely incredible where I got to see beautiful temples, breathtaking beach sunsets and some of the most spectacular hotels I have ever seen. Although I loved each of those things individually, my second trip where I got to celebrate Songkran allowed me to see a completely different side of Thailand.

Because of those three days as well as the days preceding it, I was able to find out just why Thailand is famously known as “The Land of Smiles”. I had never seen so many joyful people in my entire life all in one place! Not only is Thailand filled with all the beauty found in its nature and buildings but it is also filled with the beauty of its residents.

Practically everyone I meet that is thinking of heading to Thailand, I am now able to recommend one of the most incredible times of the year to visit. Assuring them that Thailand is both luxurious if you want it to be and exceptionally magical in almost every way.

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