Thai New Year in Bangkok

Happy Thai New Year! Today is the first day of Songkran, Thailand’s five-day New Year celebration, and yesterday was my last day of teaching cute unruly, primary school children. Read: Let’s party!

Thai New Year

Student water fight at school.

I said goodbye to my students by dumping buckets of water down their backs, in true Songkran fashion (and got totally soaked in return) and packed my things in my trusty backpack to move out of the grungy room in the back of the library that I’ve occupied for the past month. I boarded a bus for Bangkok to celebrate the Thai New Year in style – in shorts and a t-shirt, sopping wet and wandering up and down the streets of Silom, water gun in hand.

The most exciting part? I’m meeting up with my friend from college – my freshmen year apartment mate, and also the author of this guest post – whom I haven’t seen in at least four years. When we tire of the nationwide water fight, we’ll probably find ourselves poolside, so as not to veer too far from the water on these 100+, humid days in Thailand’s hottest month.

Thai New Year

Waiting impatiently to begin!

When things cool off, we’ll surely need to hit another watering hole – the swanky State Tower Sky Bar for a mouthwatering Kiss Bliss drink. Perhaps we’ll hit RCA, the popular local club street, for some live music, dancing and, of course, a different kind of thirst quencher: Thai whiskey.

It will be nice to stay in one place this year, which should prevent a repeat of last year’s experience: waiting by a tree stump for an unreliable bus on the country’s biggest holiday; then hitchhiking in the back of a pickup bed (read the full story) before, finally, succumbing to a 24-hour train ride, complete with a water fight in the bar car. Yeah, I think this year will be a little more low key.

But what do I know? Thailand is full of surprises.

Thai New Year in Bangkok
Written by:Jessica J. Hill


  1. Nitin says:

    Strangely interesting….even it’s New Year as per Indian Tradition as well on the 11th April. In North India we call it Nav Samvat according to Hindu Calendar and in South India its “Gudi Padwa” the festival which represents start of the new year….

  2. Anna says:

    Have a great Songkran!

  3. Looks like a fun event. And yes, water is a great way to beat the tropical heat.

  4. Karisa says:

    Aw! I love the pictures of your students playing Songkran! They look like they’re having a blasat. This year was my first Songkran and I absolutely loved it!!!!

    • jessicajhill says:

      I’m so glad you were able to celebrate such an awesome holiday! The students loved it. They were so excited all week, bringing their guns to class and taking frequent “bathroom” breaks to go and check them, just in case they weren’t going to perform on water fight day. It was cute!

      Where did you celebrate?

      • Karisa says:

        That’s absolutely adorable! My students were not into it (they’re university age). But I had a happy time on Koh Mak. The island was peaceful and beautiful and Songkan was pure happiness 🙂 Next year I might brave Bangkok’s insanity…We’ll see! 🙂

        • jessicajhill says:

          Bangkok during Songkran is actually the quietest time of the year, unless you go to Silom or Khao San where the water fight is happening. Most people escape the city at that time, so there’s very little traffic and no wait for public transportation!

          Since you mentioned Koh Mak, I’m curious. I’m planning to head down to an island on Monday, and was debating between Koh Mak or somewhere else. I haven’t been there yet….do you recommend it? Is it expensive? Is internet plentiful (I’m going to work, or it wouldn’t matter). Is it quiet? Thanks!

          • Karisa says:

            I was shocked with how quiet and peaceful Koh Mak was as the last island I went to was Phuket. I stayed at Monkey Island resort and they had wifi in the restaurant/lounge/beach side area. I found it to be affordable: Around 80 baht per meal. I admit, I consumed an ungodly number of cheap smoothies while on the island. lol If you want quiet and a small island feel, I’d chose Koh Mak over Koh Chang, although I’m sure you can find quiet places on Koh Chang.

            I had a really lovely time on Koh Mak. In fact, I just wrote a little blog post about the island which includes some pictures. Feel free to check it out!

          • jessicajhill says:

            Ooh, thanks for the info! I’m headed over to your space now…

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