Patong Beach, Phuket
Patong Beach is arguably Phuket’s most popular beach and one of the island’s hottest spots. On any other day, the beach is a fantastic destination for water sports, sunbathing in, or just taking a stroll. But during Songkran, it is a different story, locals make their way to the beach and engage in total water chaos.
The water fights usually start off mild and gentle in the morning then turns into a full-fledged water war by night time. Patong’s seaside weather coupled with the infamous Bangla Road’s happening nightlife, makes the place a must-visit if you are looking for an unforgettable experience of Songkran.
This small town in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province has one of the most laid-back atmospheres in the country. The town is full of cheap guesthouses and restaurants with spas and elephant camps. Outside of town are several waterfalls and a number of natural hot springs. It is also just about 3 hours away from Chiang Mai on a curved and winding road up on the mountains. This place is where you can relax but also still enjoy the local festival. The good thing about Pai is you can get to observe how the locals celebrate it. People can be friendly enough to invite you to join them too.
The touristy areas such as Pattaya and Jomtien beaches are thronged by the water fighters with the sea acting as the most favourite splashing arena. And then you can accumulate merits by giving donations to monks, washing Buddha images with perfumed water and making sand stupas.
Khao San Road, Bangkok
Khao San Road may sound familiar to backpackers and budget travelers out there, because that is exactly what the district is catered to. But during Songkran, Khao San turns into a huge water carnival. Shop owners along the streets will be selling water guns, offering barrels of water for refills, and even dunking buckets of water on unsuspecting tourists.
The entire scene is a lively, wet mess, and that is only if you are there during the daytime. If you are going at night, many bars and pubs will be open by then and you can only imagine the kind of drunken madness that takes place.
One of the most popular cities in Thailand also has the longest and most fun celebration of the Songkran Festival. It usually lasts for about 3 - 5 days and this is the time when the commonly reserved Thais bring out their incredible energy waiting for people on the streets and waiting for people to pass by. They then unload their water pistols or dump buckets of water on unsuspecting passerbys. There’s no escape since only monks, babies and elderly are granted free pass.
Songkran in Samui is not as intense as, say Pattaya or Phuket, but it is still one of Thailand’s most fun celebrations with events taking place in all major beach towns. You will find makeshift parties throughout Samui and anyone is welcome to turn up and join in the fun! Local children are driven around the island in the back of a pick-up truck and will stop to have skirmishes with you which is always fun (just be aware they use melted ice water which is a shock to the senses.