What’s It Like Celebrating Songkran in Chiang Mai Thailand?

About a month ago, while I was in Koh Lanta, Thailand and hanging out with some new friends Ian and Veronica from Freedom Podcasting, they told my girlfriend Samantha and I that we should come back up to Chiang Mai for this “water festival”.

I didn’t know anything about it, so when I got home I looked it up to see what it was all about.

Here’s what I came across… what is Songkran?

“Behind the façade of a nationwide water battle comes however a more deeper meaning: Thais traditionally sprinkle the water on one another to give positive blessings and wishes. Furthermore, they get rid of all possessions which brought bad luck the past year and to create New Year resolutions. The word Songkran comes from Sanskrit and means ‘to move forward’.

The Songkran festival is the traditional Thai New Year’s Day and is celebrated from 13 April to 15 April.

….and then I came across some pictures of it..

Chiang Mai Thailand

Sam and I didn’t really have anything to discuss after seeing some of these pictures, it looked like one of those “once in a lifetime events” and I am so so glad that we decided to head back up to Chiang Mai for the Songkran Festival this year.

So it’s been about 2 weeks now since the Festival ended and I still grin to myself thinking about the event.

It was 3 days of feeling like you were living in a real life video game.

90% of the people you would come across on the street had super soakers.

Every turn you took, you had the chance of getting water dumped on you or being ambushed by a car driving by that was loaded with people who had buckets of water and were ready to soak you.

Chiang Mai Thailand

haha this dog and his owner were just chillin in the back of a truck with BUCKETS of water…

Chiang Mai Thailand

Getting around was really fun though, here’s a picture from one of the rides into the “fight zone” area around the moat in the center of Chiang Mai. As you can see, no one was safe. We were shooting people walking down the street, and they would shoot us whenever we stopped in traffic.

A lot of the times people would dump a bucket through the window of the Songthaews (red trucks for transportation) and EVERYONE inside would get soaked.

Other times, we would be walking down the street just chatting and you’d see some older people just casually chatting and hanging around…. one second they look like they didn’t see you and then the next second…. BAM you’re covered in a bucket of water.

…oh man it was an unreal experience.

Songkran Festival Chiang Mai 2016 Chiang Mai Thailand

There were many times throughout the 3 day festival where I would stop and have a water battle with a 5 or 6 year old kid.

One second we would be shooting each other and then the next we would high five each other and then I would let them shoot the water guns we had. (Ours were spray painted GOLD so everyone would comment on them)

Chiang Mai Thailand

Yes…. GOLD guns.

What is it like celebrating songkran in thailand Chiang Mai Thailand


I think it honestly was one of the best ways to get immersed in the culture out of anything I’ve done.

If you think about it, shooting someone with some water is such a weird way to start a conversation, but it was amazing how many people we got to meet because someone would spray someone with water and then it was on.

Even with the language barriers between the locals and us, being English speakers, we still were able to communicate and share some laughs (along with some broken Thai and English)

I could honestly write 3 separate blog posts about everything that we did each of the days, but you would be so confused about everything and probably would be overwhelmed…there was honestly just so much.

Things like meeting up with the Digital Nomad group of Entrepreneurs/Freelancers and seeing how they celebrate, to heading to the square in town and being surrounded by 90% locals, to the last day heading to a Foam Party and dancing like fools to dance music.

The Songkran Festival is something that I will never forget.

If you’re a traveler and/or an Entrepreneur/ Digital Nomad then you should make it a point to visit Thailand during the Songkran Festival.

You’ll meet new people, have water fights that will take you back to your childhood and you’ll be laughing for 3 days straight about how much fun you’re having.

You’ll be in an amazing state of pure bliss and happiness.

I’m still working on putting together a short little YouTube video to include with the post, but because there is around 10 hours of footage, i’ve been struggling with it. I’ll come back here and upload the video when it is ready.

If you want to see more pictures, visit my Chiang Mai Facebook photo album on Facebook.

For more detailed info visit, http://songkranday.com/songkran-chiang-mai-2016-water-festival-in-chiang-mai-2016/


Here’s the video my friend Ian from Freedom Podcasting put together!

Chris Hughes

Chris loves learning, going on adventures, surfing and having fun. Chris on Google+