When you’re visiting a country filled with unforgettable sights, sounds, and experiences in every corner, choosing your destinations can be quite a challenge. This is especially true for Thailand, where you’ll there’s always a destination for whatever kind of fix you need: shopping, art, cuisine, nature, and a whole lot more. For frequent travelers to Thailand, there is always something left to discover and explore. For first-time visitors, however, getting started on an itinerary can be mind-boggling.
For sure, you would always want to explore Thailand beyond what’s familiar, but getting started on the more popular sites can actually be an enriching experience. By getting started with the basics and exploring the unfamiliar afterwards, you can actually paint a clearer picture of what Thailand has to offer.
For a start, Bangkok will always be a good idea as it is one of Thailand’s liveliest and most dynamic hubs of activity. If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Thailand’s capital, Songkran, or the traditional Thai New Year is definitely the best choice. At around this time, Bangkok becomes host to the world’s biggest water fight.
Get Wet And Wild In Bangkok
During Songkran, the largest and wildest crowds in Bangkok are usually found at the five-kilometer stretch of Silom. Here, thousands of young people would aim at you with anything that can get you wet from water guns to buckets. At the road’s intersections, firetrucks with powerful water hoses will get you soaked from head to toe. This can be quite refreshing since the heat can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius.
So if you’re getting soaked—which is the best way to fully enjoy Songkran—you might as well get a water gun and take aim at the crowds you’ll be partying with. If you’d rather stay dry, going up the BTS Skywalk lets you watch the festivities in full swing. Other hotspots for Songkran celebrations is Khao San Road, the open air-mall Asiatique The Riverfront, and the shopping complex CentralWorld.
A Blast From The Past
After getting soaked in Songkran’s street water parties, visiting temples will immerse you in Thailand’s rich culture and long history. Songkran, after all, is a celebration of spiritual renewal and cleansing. When visiting these temples, you can take part in one of the most common rituals during Songkran: the bathing of Buddha images.
During Songkran, one of the must-visit temples in Bangkok is Wat Pho, the home of the Reclining Buddha. Here you can catch cultural shows, have a taste of Thai cuisine, and look for great finds in community stalls. Another temple worth visiting in Bangkok is one of its oldest: Wat Tri-Mit in Bangkok’s Chinatown, where you can set your eyes on the world’s largest gold-seated Buddha.
Another destination worth including in your itinerary that lies just outside Bangkok is the Ancient City, known as the world’s largest outdoor museum because it mimics Thailand’s precise shape. Strolling through the Ancient City lets you encounter 116 replicas of Thailand’s architectural wonders and monuments, giving you a bird’s eye view of Thailand’s long history, rich culture, and colorful traditions.
The Celebrations Continue Outside The Capital
While Bangkok already offers one of the liveliest experiences of Songkran, venturing outside the capital city is also worth your time. One of the best and closest destinations to Bangkok is Hua Hin, a beach resort town 90 miles south of the city. Here you can walk on the white sand by the beach or take a refreship dip.
If you’re visiting Hua Hin, you might as well visit the Cicada Market and get some art fix. At this open-air market, which is open on weekends—but extends to Mondays during Songkran—you can buy local crafts, get a taste of Thai gastronomy, and catch live music shows.
In Hua Hin, the must-visit temple is Wat Huay Mongkol. This destination is home to the world’s largest statue of Luang Phor Thuad, a legendary Southern Thai monk who is said to have performed miracles. A serene setting for a day of relaxation, Wat Huay Mongkol lets you relish solitude while enjoying the view of a lake, a waterfall, streams, and bridges.
For an even more memorable Songkran celebration in Hua Hin, you should be out walking by the beaches at dawn. At around this time, you will encounter Buddhist monks who could give you their blessing. This could be truly unforgettable since the encounter takes place just as the sun is rising.
While these are some possible destinations for a possible Songkran itinerary, it matters to know what kind of experiences and places would you like to have, especially during Thailand’s biggest celebration for the year. It also matters to take note of safety precautions since you’ll be out joining the world’s biggest water fights.
To know more catch the Avelovinit’s Festival and Cultural adventure in Thailand, visit her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/avelovinit, or follow the Tourism Authority of Thailand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TATPhilippines.