Thailand is gearing up for the biggest Songkran festival in years after water and fun were banned for three years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Songkran 2023 is a daring comeback in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya with international music festivals, street food and parties.
Bangkok is celebrating the festival in full force, complete with Holi from India, South Korea’s Mud Festival, Setsubun from Japan and China’s Po Shui Jie.
From April 13-15, locals and tourists will be gathering with buckets full of water at city landmarks such as Khao San Road and Silom in Bangkok or Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai to dance, sing and play their way into a new year.
Officials organizing the Songkran 2023 Khao San event on Banglampoo Street expect 30,000 visitors to the area between April 13-15.
Songkran 2023 Roads to Remain Open
The Songkran 2023 celebrations in both Bangkok and Pattaya will see new wrinkles: The major party streets will not be closed entirely to traffic. At least in theory.
Silom Road in Bang Rak District will not be closed but people will still be free to splash water and indulge in other fun-filled activities as usual, Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt said Monday.
Instead of officially closing down the business district, city hall instead is focusing on Songkran events at Lan Khon Muang, the open ground in front of city hall, and along Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem. In all, 198 spots all over Bangkok will be arranged for people to throw water at one another.
Of course, based on the size of crowds even last year, when Songkran wasn’t officially organized, Silom Road may be impassable anyway.
The same may prove true for Pattaya Beach Road which, unlike the past, will remain open to traffic from the Dusit Curve to Central Road with the southern half of the road not closing until 2 p.m.
Based on history, though, all roads leading into and out of Pattaya will be gridlocked, so cars likely won’t be driving anywhere fast during Songkran 2023 on Beach Road.
Songkran 2023 Drunk Drivers
Beware, though, as Thais behind the wheel during Songkran may be drunk. Studies have shown Thais get drunk all day and that’s why, this year, police in Bangkok are setting up 100 checkpoints starting at noon to check for drunk drivers.
During Songkran 2021, 13,103 people were found guilty of traffic law violations – 12,213 of whom, or more than 93%, were charged with drunk driving. During Songkran 2022, 15,609 were busted for drunk driving. Songkran 2023 will be worse.
The International Amazing Splash 2023, the first of its kind in Thailand, will add an international vibe to the traditional Thai new year with parades from China, India, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. The festival will take place at Sam Yan (Chula Soi 5), the city’s up-and-coming neighborhood.
The Thai parade will highlight the procession of the Emerald Buddha statue and floats of the Goddess of Songkran, while the Chinese – or the Dai ethnic people of Xishuangbanna – will bring the joy of water splashing or Po Shui Jie to the city of Bangkok. The Japanese will show off their Setsubun festival, which involves the eating and throwing of beans to ward off evil spirits.
India’s Holi parade and the Mud festival from South Korea are guaranteed to be a whole lot of mucky fun, as they compete for the title of the dirtiest parade. Holi, also known as the festival of colors, celebrates the triumph of good over evil. On this festive day, people play with colors, meet and greet one another and create new beginnings.
The South Koreans will walk into the venue with their famous Boryeong Mud festival, a summer event that celebrates the highly prized mud of Boryeong town.
Rolling Loud in Pattaya
Songkran 2023 also brings to Pattaya “Rolling Loud”, the popular rap and hip-hop festival, which is making its debut in Asia with Rolling Loud Thailand. The event will take place at Legend Siam in Pattaya from Thursday to Saturday starting at 4 p.m.
The three-day festival promises to bring a star-studded lineup of current performers, respected veterans, and red-hot rap stars from Thailand and other Asian countries. Headlined by Cardi B, Chris Brown and Travis Scott, more than 60 artists will perform on two stages.
Aside from the headliners, the festival boasts performances from Korea’s Jay Park and Jessi, Japanese rap group Teriyaki Boyz, as well as superstars such as Rae Sremmurd, A$AP Ferg, Offset, and Ski Mask The Slump God. Veterans like Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame, Soulja Boy, and Fat Joe will also take the stage, alongside meteoric risers like Central Cee, Ken Car$on, Destroy Lonely, and Bktherula.
A three-day pass for Rolling Loud Thailand costs 13,000 baht (25,000 baht for VIP).
EDM Festival in Phuket
In Phuket, party enthusiasts are being invited to experience an unforgettable water-themed electronic dance music festival, “Andamanda Songkran 2023 Festival: The Ultimate Pool Party in Phuket,” which will take place on Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Andamanda Phuket Waterpark.
World-renowned DJs such as Tiesto, who has won a Grammy and is known as the godfather of EDM, will provide an exciting blend of rhythms to the party-goers.