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Songkran (Thai New Year)

Songkran is a water festival based on the solar calendar and takes place on April 13th every year. While Koh Tao celebrates Songkran for just one day, in other parts of Thailand, especially in larger cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, the festivities typically extend for a longer duration – spanning three days, five days, or even an entire week!

Songkran Celebration

Songkran is the celebration of Thai New Year. It marks the passing of one year into the beginning of the next. The word Songkran derives from Sanskrit, and means ‘to pass’ or ‘to move into’. The original meaning behind the water element was to rinse away the sins from the previous year. To enter into the new year fresh and renewed. Over the years, the intensity of Songkran festivities has grown significantly, and describing Songkran on Koh Tao, or anywhere else in Thailand, can be best summarized as “It is the biggest and best water fight you’ll ever experience in your life!”

Songkran on Koh Tao is described by most tourists who experience it as ‘the best day ever’. It is the favourite day of the year for most Koh Tao residents, including myself. It truly is an unforgettable experience! Celebrations start early, and from the moment you leave your door in the morning, you should expect to get wet. This means being careful with your belongings. Dry bags and dry docks for phones and any other electrical items are recommended. The best advice is just to leave them at home. 

Songkran Party

Enjoyed by all ages and nationalities, spending Songkran on Koh Tao is a great opportunity to get involved. You can celebrate with all of the island’s residents. People flood the streets (literally) with vats of water, giant hoses, water balloons, and super-soaker streams. Down on the beach, there are more water fights, and every bar has its special attraction. Whether it’s a pool party, foam machine, or giant waterslide. 

Songkran on Koh Tao is the most popular of all the public holidays and is a drawcard for many visitors. Meaning the island is normally very busy. So if you plan to visit and join in the fun, be sure to book your travel and reserve your accommodation in advance, as the island is often at full capacity. Our other top tips for enjoying Songkran on Koh Tao include:

  • Top up your sunscreen often – all those water fights mean it washes off easily. 
  • Drink plenty of water. No doubt you’ll down a few beers throughout the day too. Be aware that you will dehydrate easily running around in the sun.
  • Leave as many valuables at home as possible, and don’t bring out anything you wouldn’t be ok with getting soaked.
  • Try to avoid driving your rental scooter on Songkran if you can. The party atmosphere and all of that water make conditions more dangerous.

Please note if you are looking for information on where to enjoy the New Year on Koh Tao (December 31st) then check out our blog with all the venues hosting events so you can see in the New Year having a lot of fun.