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Holi has always been fascinating for every Indian. Every part of the country celebrates the festival of colours in different ways. Similarly, Songkran, Thailand’s New Year, is celebrated in a manner similar to Holi in every corner of the country. The water festival of Thailand is considered the celebration of beginning a new year on a happy note. The spraying of water is said to wash away ones’ sins and bad luck from the previous year and beginning the coming year afresh. Every city of Thailand adds its own touch to this traditional festival. Besides, the temperature being on a higher scale in Thailand, water sports are a great way of cooling down. As a tourist, you will be surprised by the enthusiasm with which the celebrations take place all over the land.
The term Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘samkranti’ referring to the change in the year. Officially, it’s a holiday for a stretch of 3 days in the month of April. The 2019 holidays last from 13th April to 16th April. As a tradition, people working away from their homes visit their families and begin the year with their close ones. Besides the water games, the traditional way of celebrating the festival includes paying respect to the elders and visiting the temple.
Apart from the water festivities, the major cities of Thailand have their own ways of adding to the liveliness of the celebrations. Bangkok brings its revelry to the streets where locals and tourists all come together for the merrymaking. Be prepared to be drenched from the moment you step into the streets and be found in some other spot altogether from where you began. The biggest of the many parties in Bangkok is held in Silom, hosting the biggest and craziest water festival. The entire 5 km long stretch of the street is overly- populated with people geared up with anything that sprays water. When in Krabi, armour yourself with water balloons, water guns and buckets for the huge water fights. In Krabi, do not miss out on the extravagant beach parties on these days where each person attending has just one agenda- to have fun. Pattaya adds to the festivity with their Miss Songkran contests where the contestants compete in the traditional Thai dresses. Phuket adds its own charm to the carousing with cultural events and crafts and clothing exhibitions. The people of Chiang Mai begin the first day of the festival by cleaning around the city besides their houses. These activities are followed by religious ceremonies.
The Thais begin their celebrations with the blessing and cleansing ceremonies by pouring herbed water on Buddha statues at the temples. As a tourist, you must visit the major monasteries and temples when Thailand, especially during Songkran. The visit to the temple is followed by paying respect to their elders in the format of their family traditions. In some places, people add herbs to the water that they play with, as a sign of purity. If you have an opportunity, do not miss out on visiting the small villages and towns. These places have their own traditions and ways of celebrating and these cultures are worth witnessing.
Songkran is one of Thailand’s major festivals and the best time to visit as a tourist. From the water sports to the events and contests to the religious ceremonies, every city has its own share of fun-filled experience and food and drinks to offer to you. On your visit in this time of the year, be ready to be soaked and hogging on food all through the three days of Songkran. Do not be surprised seeing the activities beginning a day or two before Songkran. Do not miss out on the experience of a Thai-style Holi and Thai street food this April.
The quieter neighbour of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a land of outstanding natural beauty, where visitors looking to avoid the horders can visit remote hill tribes, spot exotic wildlife, and check out the golden triangle the former centre of the world opium trade.
Popularly known as ‘The Rose of the North’ and with an enchanting location on the banks of the Ping river, the city and its surroundings are blessed with stunning natural beauty and a uniquely indigenous cultural identity. Chiang Mai