Although not strictly an event purely for Pattaya, Thailand’s New Year celebration or Songkran as it is locally known, is one big party celebrated all over the kingdom.
It is widely accepted that three of the best places to experience Songkran are, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. Although parties, water games and general fun and games take place everywhere from small villages to large towns, certain places turn the gas up a bit and lavish festivities ensue.
Pattaya is one of those places, the City Hall Father’s pull out all the stops and the entertainment capital of Thailand is one big water park.
Lunar New Year
Songkran takes place to celebrate the lunar New Year, and amongst the old traditions water is poured over Buddhist statues and represents purification and washing away of sins and bad luck. Also it is a sign of respect for younger people to pour water over the palms and feet of their elders.
As time has progressed this gentle blessing has now been replaced with an all out aqua war fought on every street corner. The small pail of water used in villages and country towns has been replaced in the big cities by high power jet guns that can soak an opponent at fifty paces.
The dates of celebrating Songkran in Thailand are a little fuzzy depending where you are in the country. The official dates in 2016 according to the government website was; Bangkok – 13th-15th April, Nakon Phanom 12th-15th April and Pattaya 11-20th April.
Most places have a celebration that lasts one or at the most two days, but in Pattaya the celebrations are the longest in Thailand and water is plentiful for around a week. The official day earmarked by the council is April the 19th, and that is when the whole of Pattaya comes to a standstill and the party begins.
The Best Places To Be
The main place in the city on the 19th is downtown Pattaya, other areas like Jomtien and Pratumnak have terrific Songkran parties but if you want to be right in the center of the action Beach Road is the place to be.
The whole road is cordoned off to traffic from the Dolphin roundabout to the start of Walking Street. All along the 3km length of Beach Road are numerous events and attractions to party all day and well into the night.
A good idea not to miss anything is to start your way at the Dolphin roundabout end and painstakingly make your way through the crowds and mayhem to the other end.
It is also sound advice that you prepare properly before leaving your hotel; as you, your clothing, your possessions and your money will be in for a proper drenching. Make sure you have keys, money, phone and any other valuables securely fastened in a waterproof pouch preferably hung around your neck.
The main thing about Songkran is to join in the spirit of the day, if you do not enjoy crowds, drunken party goers or getting wet then perhaps it is not for you. If however, you do, then you are in for a great party.