Songkran in Pattaya is a very interesting time to visit the sin city of the east…or is it? If you don’t know what Songkran is, it is the Thai New Year festival. It normally runs for three days all around the country from April 13-15. However in Pattaya it lasts much longer with their biggest day on April 19.
Pattaya has its own version Songkran which is referred to as the “Festival on the Beach”. For traditional Thais, they will meet at 7 A.M. on April 18 in the Naklua area of the city. They will do things like donate dry goods and rice, or simply pay their respects in the community to older members. They also will honor Buddha. Basically they will celebrate in a more traditional and ceremonial way. After all, if you have been in Thailand for any length of time, you will understand that Thais love their ceremonies.
On the final and biggest day for Songkran in Pattaya, April 19, it is basically organized chaos. Each year the city closes down Beach Road where there will be a parade filled with decorated floats. Of course there will be the usual indulgence of water throwing from tourists, bar girls, ladyboys, midgets, lepers and the local folks.
The parade will begin in the North end of the city with yet another traditional Thai ceremony before the vehicles and their costumed passengers embark on their venture through Pattaya. There will also be musical performances and a huge foam party which I’m sure you can get Pattaya girls to do some freaky shit. Actually they will probably do it on their own.
When you visit Pattaya during Songkran, expect to be wet for the majority of the day. It usually starts around the 12th of April and will go until the 19th and maybe even the 20th for a bit. If you visit during these dates you had better be prepared. If you have anything electronic you had better wrap in a sealable plastic bag. If you are staying in a hotel surrounded by beer bars like Soi 7 or 8, don’t expect to go out during the daytime and stay dry. You will have a better chance of walking on the sun than accomplishing that goal. There are many tourists that come to Pattaya and are here for the duration of the Songkran celebration. Many enjoy it for a few days, but then become angry after awhile because they don’t want to be wet every day, all day.
When you venture out, make sure you wear old clothes like a pair of shorts or shirt that you don’t mind possibly ruining. Better yet, wear your swim trunks. That will always work. The best thing to do is understand what you are in for when you come to Pattaya during Songkran, it will make your experience an enjoyable one. If you don’t like being wet all day long, and many people don’t, then make sure you split your time up when you come to Pattaya. Maybe plan to be here before Songkran starts and leave about the 15th, or you can show up about the 16th and catch the last few days of Songkran which is probably the best thing to do.