Songkran, the Thai New Year celebration, takes place every year from April 13-15. Celebrated nationwide, during the hottest time of year, when temperatures are over one hundred degrees. Its origins are Buddhist, and the holiday celebrates the passing of season, with water traditionally poured on Buddhist statues as well as into the hands of elders to show respect. In modern times though, the festival has evolved into the world’s largest water fight! Especially in Chiang Mai, as well as Bangkok, Phuket, and other cities, people line the streets wielding large water guns, hoses, buckets, and anything else that can spray, and everyone passing by gets drenched.
Given that it is so hot out, the soaking is a welcome relief, but make sure to be prepared. Phones, wallets, and cameras should be sealed in waterproof bags, and as the merrymaking can also involve colored dye, paste, etc being rubbed on folks, it’s best to wear old clothing that can get ruined. Outside of Bangkok, resorts and hotels are at a premium, as thousands of Thais travel at this time.