People say that the Songkran Festival only lasts 3 days in Bangkok. But I can’t recall a time in the past 7-8 years when it only lasted 3 days. In the places we go to monger, the red-light districts, it lasts for at least a week.
Maybe the year the King died, the schedule was strictly adhered to. I don’t know how it works now. The tourists and girls will jump ahead and start shooting passers-by with water guns and dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. This goes on for a full day or afternoon earlier than the official start day. Don’t be surprised if there is one idiot who hasn’t gotten enough enjoyment out of the “joke” to hit you with a garden hose. He may also use a shot walking down a quiet soi the day after it is supposed to end. All it takes is one asshole to mess it all up.
What Happens at the Songkran Festival
Every day, the Songkran Festival activities start about 10 AM and generally ends at about 10 PM. So, don’t limit yourself to exploring Bangkok and mongering before and after those times. Expect to get soaked head to toe several times a day almost everywhere you go in the city.
Personally, I hate the Songkran Festival time in Thailand and would never recommend a first-timer come here for girls. Nothing regarding girls and freelancers will be normal and it won’t be “better” than normal during that time. Many of the best or at least most financially successful girls will leave Bangkok and retreat to their provinces that week. But if you have been here a few times already and just want to experience it for water fighting fun, fine.
Avoid the Red Light Areas
Stay away from Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Pat Pong during the time of the festivities. Watch out because there are a lot of drunk Farangs that are likely to be the biggest idiots.
I went to the province village last year, and most of the water games were at the temple or nearby. The karaoke party for Songkran was terrible. The villagers only sang Issan songs. Which are far from my cup of tea, and not the stuff any Farang listens to at all. No Carabao. No Thai pop either. For some reason they cooked up some beef (in addition to pork) but villagers don’t eat beef. That left me and one other to try to eat all the beef. Thai beef is a bit different.
Many motorcyclists get killed or maimed on the roads when drunk. Or when the truck driver was drunk. The highway and main roads are not safe. One teenager was rushing to see his girlfriend and was killed when he crashed into a stationary truck.
What’s the Real Deal?
Thailand becomes a madhouse during Songkran. For many years I was absent from Thailand during the Songkran festival. It’s always a good plan to avoid it altogether or stay indoors, or go with care. Sneak to your massage parlor for mongering. Keep your phone in a sealed plastic bag.
If by chance you are in Bangkok for the Songkran Festival, then I would advise you to accept the eccentricity of the festivities. Just go with the flow