Songkran Thai New Year Water Gun Battle in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

Songkran Thai New Year Water Gun Battle in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

We had a very wet, exhilarating blast of a time during our first Songkran Thai New Year celebration!  In Chiang Mai, people converge around the Old City‘s moat with water guns, hoses, buckets, and refill barrels!  Our friends from the USA picked Songkran week to visit us in Thailand so they could join in on the madness!  We had tons of fun acting like kids, dueling with Thai families, dodging water gun fire all around us and sneak-attacking unsuspecting tourists!  Who’s coming to Thailand for Songkran next year?

Sangkran is the peak of summer in Thailand and this is when Thai people ring in the new year. It’s a weekend long festival and the most popular place to experience it is Chiang Mai. The old city of Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat. This water is pumped out into barrels that everyone uses to reload their water guns.

No one is off limits in this fight. Foreigners soak local families, children throw whole buckets into open taxis, best to ride with your windows up! My first soaking was the day before the event even began, on Thursday and on a scooter. We were headed back into the city at full speed when someone came from the side and put a whole bucket of warm water into my lap. It smacked pretty good but at least I didn’t crash!

Everyone breaks out their most colorful shirts and clothes for this event. It’s a mad house with lots of traffic and a lot of alcohol going around. It’s best to stay in a hotel either by the river or in the old city, that way you can walk anywhere you need to go. Traffic is pretty much at a stand still when it really gets going.

Chiang Mai is really hot and smokey at this time of year. It’s worth it to be in the Sangkran water gun fight, but just be awake that the air quality is pretty bad. Everyone burns their fields through the dry season, preparing the land for the next harvest. It is especially bad February-April.


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If you want to experience Chiang Mai at a better time of year, when it’s not hot and smookey at Sangkran, check out our Thailand Yoga Retreat at Mala Dhara north of the city!