Songkran Festival

Songkran is also the perfect time to party. For several days, Chiang Mai is transformed into a huge water battlefield. All over the city, people throw water at each other, using buckets and water guns. To attend the biggest water war of your life, or even to take part in it, the best spot is undoubtedly the old town and around the moat. The streets around the moat (Moonmuan road, Sri Phum road mainly) are very crowded and everybody is armed with water guns and buckets. The water used for the fights comes from the moat, so please avoid as much as possible to drink it! Traffic jams allow the people in the pick-ups to throw water at everyone from a close distance. Huay Kaew road is closed to traffic, and shows are organized in front of the shopping mall Kad Suan Kaew.

All of this is done in a friendly atmosphere, but one must be careful during Songkran. Many accidents occur during this festive time. People love to add ice into the buckets of water. The water thrown on people is so cold that if you don't expect it, you may get quite a shock! The best example of this is with motorbike riders and pillion passengers. People are throwing buckets of water at them from all directions and while it's mostly great fun, it's also very easy for the rider to make a mistake and many accidents occur during this celebration. Another problem with Songkran is of course alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, many people get very drunk and then drive, so the number of car accidents also rises. The police are making a lot of effort to prevent alcohol related accidents but it's best to take care when you are out enjoying the fun and just be aware of vehicles.

The Songkran festival is not only celebrated in Thailand, but also in Laos (Pee Mai Lao), in Cambodia (Chaul Chnam Thmey), in Myanmar (Thingyan) and also by Dai people in the Yunnan province of China.