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Songkran Festival (Thai New Year)

Koh samui islandThere are a million and one great reasons to visit Koh Samui , it is easily accessible thanks to the international airport, the climate offers warmth all year round, the beaches go on for miles, the locals are friendly, the island offers a culinary adventures that will take you from one end of the globe to the other and offers everything from penny bargains on the street markets to world class five star cuisine in top restaurants run under the watchful eye of Michelin star chefs.

In addition to that you have superb attractions such as the butterfly farm, the aquarium, a world class golf course, bars, cabarets, nightclubs, Thai boxing, sailing, yachting, diving, fishing, world class spas and endless shopping that will take you from the local markets to the recently opened Central Festival Shopping Mall in the heart of Chaweng.

SongkranKoh Samui is a fun and exciting place to live or visit at any time of the year, but there is no better time to experience Thai culture and the Thai sense of fun than during the Songkran Festival when the Thais celebrate their traditional New Year. Thai people are known for ‘sanuk’ (fun) and if you want to catch them having the most fun of all then Songkran offers a unique opportunity to do just that.

The date of the Thai New Year was originally set by astrological calculations. Songkran marked the beginning of the New Year until 1888. After 1888 up until 1940 the 1st of April officially marked the start of the New Year. From then on, as in the west, Jan 1 was used.

songkran festDespite the change in official dates Songkran is still the Thai New Year National Holiday and the celebrations, which are said to have been adapted from an Indian festival, enthusiastically take place all over Thailand.

The traditional greeting at this auspicious time of year is สวัสดีปีใหม่” (sa-wat-dee pee mai) and the festival was traditionally celebrated by visiting respected elders, family members, friends and relatives as well as giving prayer and food to monks and cleansing Buddha images and household shrines with water and Thai fragrance to bring about good luck and prosperity.

songkranAlthough traditional celebrations are still observed in many parts of the country, more typically, these days, the New Year is welcomed by wildly enthusiastic water fights where locals and visitors alike roam the streets armed with water guns and buckets of iced water, that are often mixed with mentholated talcum powder, to drench passersby.

Pick-up trucks, packed with excited adults and children, armed with water pistols drive around the island complete with huge barrels of water. During this time household hose pipes are on full blast during the lively celebrations to ensure everybody gets refreshingly soaked during this colorful festival that falls at the hottest time of the year. Even the police taking care of safety on the roads are no exempt from being drenched with water and white powder as they direct the traffic.1331595977-the-songkran-festival-on-khao-san-road_1103100

If you want to experience Samui at its best then what better time than Songkran when locals and residents alike welcome you to pick up a water pistol and join in with the fun.

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