Visit national parks and mountains in northern Thailand
Festivals

The World's Biggest Water Fight!

Everyone has heard of the Chinese new year but who'd have thought that the Thai people mark the beginning of their new year with a huge waterfight?!

In April (13-15 April), Thailand virtually comes to a standstill for this three-day event. Songkran literally means to 'move into' in Sanskrit, referring to the start of the Thai new year. Being there to witness this scene is an unforgettable experience and there's nothing to stop you taking part if you don't mind getting wet! So head out to Thailand with Tell Tale Travel to enjoy the 'sanuk', or 'fun-filled' festival of Songkran.

Water, water everywhere
Water is definitely at the heart of the Songkran festival. The enthusiastic water-throwing that fills the streets is known as 'Len-Nam' ('len' means play and 'nam' is water). It is normal to see people soaked with water,which is welcome relief from the April heat in Thailand. Water is symbolic of washing away sins and bad luck at this time. One of the important customs that is still around today is the 'Rod Nam Dam Hua' ceremony when young people pay respect to adults, espcially to elderly relatives by pouring water over their hands to apologise for their bad behaviour.

"Everyone was in it together," says Yvonne, who was lucky enough to be there last year. "As soon as you hit the streets, people are ready to squirt you with iced water from these huge water pistols or even worse buckets!" "The Thais and westerners all joined in together, everyone was united and happy."

"We didn't stop smiling or laughing the whole time."

Family Ties
Like Christmas in the UK, Songkran is also about family and is a time for thanksgiving and reflection. In the true spiritual sense, it's a time for renewal, reflection and the cleansing of the soul. In a practical sense, houses are spring cleaned and people reflect on the good they have experienced this year.
At Songkran, most people take time off work to return home to celebrate. Work ceases and transport across Thailand gets heavily booked up.

Tell Tale Tips: Songkran is an amazing time to visit Thailand but we advise you to stay in one place for the duration of the festivities as it is very difficult to get around. We will ensure you get to your destination in plenty of time and organise all your internal flights and any train bookings as early as possible to make sure you're in the right place when the celebrations begin.

Songkran around Thailand
In Chiang Mai, the capital of the North of Thailand, visitors can expect a huge event with parades and processions as well as water throwing. By staying in smaller communities with Tell Tale Travel, you will have the advantage of being able to get to know everyone in the village and get more involved in the festivities.

Tell Tale Tips: Arrive at clay sculptress Mae's home beforehand and help her decorate the front of her house with flowers and flags. You'll also get to watch her join a special ceremony for artisans at Chiang Mai University.

For the spiritual side of Songkran, you should visit Ayutthaya, Thailand's ancient capital in the heart of the Central Plains. There are many small temples here along the canals, each still carrying out the old traditions of Songkran. We give you access to these cultural backwaters, rarely visited by foreign tourists so you can see the Ram Wong (traditional circle dance) and take part in merit-making, and giving alms to the monks so you also get a sense of rejuvenation.
Tell Tale Tips: When visiting our canal-side village at Songkran, you'll be invited to special ceremonies, whether they be personal family gatherings to pay respects to the elders or attending the exclusive gatherings organised by the village headman.

As the capital, Bangkok likes to throw the biggest party. Don't miss the celebrations at Sanam Luang, the large grassy area in front of the Grand Palace to see the cultural aspects of Songkran.

Tell Tale Tips: If the water throwing is more your thing, we ensure you get to the best places by having local people take you there. Our friends, Goi and Wan are the ones to go with as they will also give you tips on how best to enjoy Songkran.

"The best thing about Songkran was that we didn't stop smiling or laughing the whole time," adds Yvonne with a grin. "Everyone was united - dancers, performers, the old and the young, locals and foreigners. It was stunning."

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