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Does the city stop during Songkran

Level Contributor
69 posts
3 reviews
Does the city stop during Songkran


I will be in Thailand in April and have tried to book a couple of things at the beginning of the trip only to find that they are not running due to the Songkran festival. WIll many shops and restaurants be closed during this time? What is the signficance of the festival? What normally occurs?

Thanks for the feedback (and I apologise for my ignorance).



London, United...
Level Contributor
290 posts
1. Re: Does the city stop during Songkran


Which city do you mean?

San Francisco
Level Contributor
16 posts
27 reviews
2. Re: Does the city stop during Songkran


Songkran is celebrated as the Thai New Year from April 13 to April 15, and these dates don't change, I believe. Yes, you will definitely find closures due to this hoilday, as people are attempting go go to their home towns and villages, especially from Bangkok, and the roadways can trun into something else. The big cities remain pretty open as far as Restaurants and shops concerned. What is particularly unique durign this festival in the Khao Lak area or Phang Nga Town, I'm not sure, and you may look out for other members to post details, which pertain to this southern part of Thailand.

What normally occurs..................

The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water. People roam the streets with containers of water or water guns, or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby. This, however, was not always the main activity of this festival. Songkran was traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends and neighbors. Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran may also go to a wat (Buddhist monastery) to pray and give food to monks. They may also cleanse Buddha images from household shrines as well as Buddha images at monasteries by gently pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance over them. It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. In many cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha images from all of the city's important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually 'bathing' the images, as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. In northern Thailand, people may carry handfuls of sand to their neighborhood monastery in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year.

The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by gently pouring a small amount of lustral water on other people’s hands or over a shoulder as a sign of respect. Among young people the holiday evolved to include dousing strangers with water to relieve the heat, since April is the hottest month in Thailand (temperatures can rise to over 100°F or 40°C on some days). This has further evolved into water fights and splashing water over people riding in vehicles. The water is meant as a symbol of washing all of the bad away and is sometimes filled with fragrant herbs.

Maybe this is more than you wanted to know :-)

Cheers, and enjoy

Level Contributor
57 posts
3. Re: Does the city stop during Songkran

We had a great time in Bangkok during Songkran. Bangkook was a lot quieter but it was lovely to see the Thais celebrating the new year. Tacky as it seems but we did visit patpong and it was brilliant watching the water fights from a bar woth a bottle of JD!. Go out in clothes you don't mind geting wet and cover your camera with a plastic bag. we didn't have a problem finding restaurants to eat in and had a great time and would love to do it again. We did visit Ko Sahn which was full of westerners being totally over the top with the amount of water and flour they threw at you.

Level Contributor
69 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Does the city stop during Songkran

Great - Thanks for the feedback - Sounds like fantastic fun!

We were thinking of heading to Ayutthaya for a night during the festival - We will be flying into BK on 10th April and thought if would be good to head to Ayutthaya on 11th and then back to BK on 12th as we then head to Krabi and spend the rest of our time in the beaches down south. Initially I wanted to visit Ayutthaya to spend a day at the Elephant santuary - but due to the festival their program is closed. I thought it would still be good fun to visit Ayutthaya.

Do you think I will have problems getting there/finding accom during this time ( I was planning to stay in a guesthouse - Tony's place - but cannot find a site to book with them).

Thanks again for all the info

Kind regards


Level Contributor
6,873 posts
24 reviews
5. Re: Does the city stop during Songkran

hi tania

have a look at this link for tonys place





i will be in chiang mai celebrating the Songkran festival ......i knew about the water ...but what has flour got to do with it ???? lol

6. Re: Does the city stop during Songkran

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