Songkran, Thailand from 13 - 19th April 2018 is a nationwide traditional festival to celebrate the Buddhist New Year. A three-day public holiday across Thailand, it sees most businesses close so migrant workers can go back to their hometowns to spend time with their families – and pour water over relatives to clean away the accumulated negative spirits of the last year.
As well as spring cleaning the home, Songkran has evolved into an aquatic free for all for anybody on the street, rather than gently cleansing the family. However, if you don’t want too much tourist tat and organised new age music festival action for your Songkran, try Koh Samui.
The island’s smaller local towns in the north and west (Nathon, Maenam Beach, Lipa Noi, Taling Ngam) offer a calmer, more traditional way to celebrate the Buddhist New Year – and fewer package tourists. Local children armed with buckets and water pistols are driven slowly around in the back of pick-up trucks to dish out smiling goodwill and squirts to anybody in range.
You might also find impromptu parties in the area, which welcome anyone to turn up and enjoy. And don’t forget to say sawadee bee mai (Happy New Year) to everybody you meet.