Thailandís Annual Water Festival Set for April 2013
Tuesday, 02 April 2013

Tourism Authority of Thailand Promotes Local Songkran Events Nationwide

Bangkok, Thailand - 28 March, 2013

Songkran, the amazing water festival that takes place over the Thai New Year in April, is Thailandís most popular holiday by far. Images of colourful parades, with huge crowds playing with water amid many contests and rituals makes world headlines every year. Itís no wonder then that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is promoting scores of events throughout the country.

All of these Songkran-related events are now part of TATís ďSongkran SplendoursĒ campaign. TAT encourages any and all types of visitors and tourists to Thailand to share in our national celebration this year. There is something for everyone, as you will see in the Events Listing below.

Songkran itself certainly needs no promotion, but many tourists are not aware of how much is going on outside the popular destinations of Chiang Mai and Pattaya. This campaign draws on the strength of Thai culture in many provinces throughout the Kingdom, encouraging visitors to experience Thailand and her amazing traditions more locally, in towns and cities rather less-travelled.

ďSongkran SplendoursĒ throughout the country include the following:

In Bangkok, from 12-16 April, you can enjoy reproductions of Songkran celebrations from Thailandís four regions by visiting various temples around town: Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan (Wat Pho), Wat Saket Ratchaworamahawihan, Wat Ratcha Orasaram, and Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawihan.

Also, donít miss the cultural fair near Siam Paragon ďFalling in Love with Thailand & the Thai SongkranĒ on 13 and 14 April, with a Poeng Mang Khok drum competition, creating multi-coloured clothing, numerous concerts from leading Thai artists, and of course plenty of splashing.

And on 12 and 13 April, go to Wisutkasat Pier (near the Bank of Thailand) along the Chao Phraya River for making merit and offering food to Buddhist monks, as well as enjoy the Wisutkasat Songkran beauty pageant, and the Chak Phra ceremony (pulling Buddha images).

Old City Songkran Festival, Ayutthaya - (13-16 April)

In Thailand's former capital, celebrations occur at various sites near the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya City Island, or ancient city. Visitors can make merit and offer food to monks at Wat Mongkon Bopit, bathe Buddha images and the King Naresuan the Great statue by pouring traditional Thai scented water, called ďnam opĒ, and watch the Old City Songkran parade and grandma beauty pageant. For great photo opportunities, visitors shouldnít miss the Mon-style bathing of Buddha images or the elephants and their mahouts having some Songkran water-splashing fun.

Suphan Buri Songkran Festival - (11-14 April)

On the south side of Naen Kaeo Road in Suphan Buri, you can experience the procession of the Golden Buddha image of Luang Pho To, the Songkran floral-car parade, and a beauty pageant. Plus, see folk plays, concerts from well-known artists, and the Don Chedi Monument built to mark the victory of King Naresuan the Great over the Burmese.

Chon Buri Songkran Festival - (13-21 April, depending on location)

Several locations in Chon Buri will celebrate this yearís festivities, starting with Si Chang Island (13-18 April) where you can make merit and offer food to Buddhist monks, build sand pagodas, bathe various Buddha images, and pour water on local elders and ask for a blessing. Kayak racing and the local custom of carrying ladies to the sea will occur as well. And in Wan Lai Bang Saen (16-17 April), there will be more merit-making opportunities and a sand stupa construction contest, plus sea boxing matches, oyster shelling contests, local theatre, concerts, and Wan Lai water splashing.

At Bang Phra Beach in Sriracha (17-18 April), see the Phaya Yom procession and homage paying, and you can splash, bathe and enjoy local sports activities, as well as see vibrant light and sound shows. And at the Municipal Health Park (19-21 April), local arts and culture are on display, as well as a beauty contest, best dress competition, and a Suntharapon musical performance.

In Pattaya (18-20 April), Songkran celebrations like the Wan Lai Procession and the Kong Khao (Rice Heaping) Festival are held. Venues include Lan Pho (Na Klua) Park, Wat Chaimongkon, and Pattaya Beach where traditional merit making can be done, as well as offering food to monks, bathing Buddha images, and Buddha image processions. Donít miss the flower parade from local florists, liberal amounts of water splashing, and the local Kong Khao Ceremony.

Phra Padaeng Songkran Festival, Samut Prakan Province - (19-21 April)

A diverse array of activities are planned for Samut Prakan, including the procession of the Hongsa and Takhap Flags, a Nang Songkran (Miss Songkran) parade and pageant, Saba show (Ramanís art and cultural plays), local dance performances, Mr. Songkran contest, Kalamae (a local dessert) cooking show, Raman-style water splashing, and a light and sound show at the ancient Phleng Fai Fa Fort.

Chiang Mai Songkran Festival - (7 -16 April, depending on location)

At the Nong Buak Hat Park (11-15 April) in this thriving cultural mecca in the north of Thailand, you can partake in the U-Sakane Songkran Festival and procession. The U-Sakane observes the New Yearís celebration similarities between five Asian nations - Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR., the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in China, and of course Thailand. Here you will enjoy some of these diverse countriesícultural and artistic performances, plus you can shop for local handicrafts and join the Kat Mua Khua Laeng ceremony.

At the Sari Pi Mai Festival (7-16 April), also in Chiang Mai, join the Phra Buddha Sihing bathing procession, watch local Lanna women ride the Kang Chong (a unique Northern vehicle) and enjoy delicious international food along the Urban Culture Street.

Sukhothai Songkran Festival - (8-14 April, depending on location)

In Sukhothai on 12 and 13 April, build sand pagodas at Wat Thai Chumphon, have fun at the Little Miss Songkran heritage parade, and watch various Thai traditional dance routines. During 12 to 14 April at the Sukhothai Historical Park, you can see sand pagoda building, beauty pageants, and the ancient cart wheel procession, plus local sports shows and traditional plays native to this region. And donít miss the Ordination Songkran Ceremony (8-12 April) at the Phaya Lithai Memorial Monument and Si Satchanalai Historical Park.

Thai - Lao New Yearís Merit Ceremony & Nakhon Phanom Songkran Festival - (12-15 April)

Partake in the sharing of culture on the banks of the Mekong River, building sand pagodas, pouring water on elders and asking for a blessing, bathing 7 birthday Buddha images, and splashing water at Kao Pun Road. Plus, witness the cultural inheriting ceremony of the two Buddha relics temples (Phra That Sri Kotabong in Lao PDR. and Phra That Phanom in Thailand).

Top Isan Songkran, Dok Khun Festival - (5-15 April)

In Khon Kaen, visit the famous Bueng Kae Nakhon (5-12 April) and Khao Nieo Road (13-15 April) for some fun and splashing, and the sweet sounds of the Kaen (local mouth organ), plus floral parades, pouring water on elders and asking for a blessing, and traditional Thai dance - Isan style.

Isan Nong Khai Songkran Festival - (6-17 April)

Visit Wat Pho Chai, Prachak Road, and the Phaya Nak Fountain for sports, international boxing matches, merit making, and food offerings. Join the circumambulation ceremony and pay homage to Luang Pho Phra Sai.

Hat Yai Midnight Songkran - (11-14 April)

Head to southern Thailand and go to the Odeon Intersection of Sanehanuson Road and Niphat Uthit 3 Road for the Thiamda (receiving angels) Parade, and the Hat Yai midnight parade, and foam party. By day, enjoy the Phra Buddha Sihing parade, floral parade, and Miss Songkran parade, plus plenty of water splashing and a Khon Prok Mueang praying ceremony.

Songkran on Phuket Beach - (12-13 April)

Check out Soi Bangla, Patong Beach, for more Songkran fun like the procession of the Phra Buddha Sihing image around Patong Beach, other various parades and pageants, and art and cultural exhibitions set along beautiful Patong Beach.

Nakhon Sri Thammaratís Nang Dan Procession in Songkran - (11-15 April)

At Sri Thamma Sokarat Park and the Phra Isuan (great deity) Shrine, you can pay homage to the Phra Buddha Sihing image and Phra Chao Sri Thamma Sokarat, and see ceremonies in 6 holy Buddhist sites of the South, as well as make merit by offering food to 84 monks. And relax with some splashing, several concerts, a local sweets exhibition, and a light and sound show at the Phra Isuan Shrine.

The fact of the matter is that Songkran is a time of renewal, rest, recreation, release, and bonding with families who sometimes see each other only during this time of year. If there is any time of year to visit, enjoy, and learn about Thailand, Songkran is it. There is nothing anywhere quite like it, and youíre unlikely to forget your Thai New Year experiences anytime soon.

TAT truly hopes that all tourists coming during this special time of year will have the opportunity to participate in all of these colourful and joyful events taking place throughout the Kingdom. It is a wonderful time of year to experience the fun-loving yet traditional nature of Thailand and her people.

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