One way to celebrate Songkran in its most traditional form is a good dousing of water and even more non-stop fun where it all begain – Chiang Mai. The Water Festival actually marks the Thai New Year and it is the longest and most anticipated public holiday in Thailand. This year, official celebrations in Chiang Mai starts from April 12 to April 15. Following ancient traditions, there will be religious ceremonies held to auspiciously mark the beginning of the New Year. The first day will feature a long parade with Phra Singh, one of Thailand’s most sacred Buddha statues and a chance for everyone to join in the bathing ritual of the sacred statues.

People in traditional costumes will perform cultural dances during the procession. The province will also hold a beauty contest for Miss Songkran and the other for Mister Songkran. On the streets, foreign visitors must be prepared for a “warm welcome” from the hosts, who will greet them with water pistols or buckets full of water. Traffic will come to a standstill as part of the festival charm, with many roads crammed with people celebrating and visitors are encouraged to explore as many fun spots as possible.

Chiang Mai Municipal, +66 (0) 53 359 365