There are two ways to welcome Songkran (the Thai New Year) the Thai way: either spend time with the family (perhaps going to temples and having dinner), or hit the streets for an all-out water fight.
For most younger Thais the obvious choice is to get out there and have some wet n’ wild time!
Songkran – The Day 1
For me the first thing to do is to head straight to the ice factory with some friends to make sure our water bins are filled with huge blocks of ice. Playing with water is fun, but playing with icy cold water makes the water fight even better, especially seeing the reaction of those who are sprayed with it!
There are many spots for water fights in Bangkok. Most foreigners celebrate Songkran in the backpacker area of Khao San Road, but my favorite spot to start the celebration is the less touristy Chok Chai 4 street around Lad Prao neighborhood.
The whole street turns to a huge party with DJs playing music from oversized speakers, and booze flowing like there is no tomorrow from early morning.
Nobody passing by stands a choice of safe passage. Everyone is bound to getting sprayed by icy cold water!
With the afternoon sun setting, it’s time to move on to the next destination, party street RCA, where the “S2O – Songkran’s Official Electronic Dance Music Festival” takes place. Take a taxi; finding parking space would be a nightmare.
Upon arrival, you’ll be slapped in the face by the sheer volume of people. It can take up to 40 minutes just to buy a ticket (1,800 Baht each), and make our way through the entry gates.
It’s all worth it; you’ll find good music accompanied by good company, not forgetting to mention the endless views of attractive women, it is a blast!
Once in, forget about buying individual drinks, instead plow yourself through the crowds towards the Smirnoff booth to get some drinks – a bucket filled with Smirnoff and Red Bull will set you back some 500 Baht.
The downside of the good times is the night coming to an end, and finding a taxi home. It can get pretty frustrating. It’s typical during Songkran that taxi drivers want a specific fee instead of turning on their meter. Either you’re lucky to find a decent cab and pay by the meter, or you’ll have no choice but to negotiate a price.
My word of advice: if you’re not overly intoxicated, walk a little and away from the crowed areas, and you’ll eventually find a taxi driving by the meter… that’s if you’re lucky.
Songkran – The Day 2
After recuperating from the previous day’s wet n’ wild affair I would head back to my favorite spot at Chok Chai 4 for round 2 pm, and look for a hangover cure, that is more drinking while eating some Esaan food such as spicy papaya salad (somtum) with some yummy barbeque.
As night falls, it’s time to go to the Maldives (not the real island nation, you silly!). The restaurant/bar is located at Meng Jai area. It usually has relaxing atmosphere with great food with live bands in an outdoor setting. But during Songkran it will be anything but chilled.
Music bumping and party foam filling the dance floor, you will be looking for a wild night!
I highly recommend this place, on any day of the year, as it is really a comfortable place just to take a seat to dine and drink while taking in the welcoming atmosphere.
And one more thing or two about this place: Maldives is located just outside the congested city center, and you’ll mainly find locals here instead of tourists – a place to be if you want to get away from touristy crowds.
Songkran – Day 3
There’s supposed to be a Day 3 of Songkran too, but for me, I can just party so much. Happy Songkran!
Text by Tony Poowananon