Have you heard of Songkran festival or better known as water festival?
Songkran Festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 15 April and it's their national public holiday. The tradition of water pouring is meant as a symbol of washing away all of their sins and bad luck, and one cannot get angry when someone pour water on them.
I always wanted to experience Songkran festival and this year finally I made it, thanks to AirAsia for flying us to Hat Yai! Hat Yai is located southern of Thailand and it's near Malaysia (Bukit Kayu Hitam) boarder and it's fourth largest city in Thailand. Personally I have been there for many years and it feels like home when I got there.
So when I got back many asked me what should they expect and do for Songkran Festival and hence I decided to write this about it.
Things to prepare for Songkran Festival
Your weapon of course! We got this water gun from Hat Yai at 350baht (RM37) if I remembered correctly. There are many kinds of water gun, some has really cute Hello Kitty design. My advice is go for the one that has the maximum capacity of water, reason being you are preparing for a "water war" tedious to keep looking for place to refill your water gun.
Note : If you decide to bring back your water gun, please check in this in your luggage or it would be confiscated if you try to hand carry this on board. I guess because of the container can fill more than 100ml hence you cannot bring this on board.
If you decide to bring your handphone along to Songkran Festival, please make sure it's water resistant like my Sony Z3 or well protected with a waterproof pouch..I'm thankful that my handphone is waterproof and can take picture during the water war.
Waterproof bag or drybagThis is super important lah, keep your money & mobile phone in waterproof pouch because you will get wet (it's more like you will get drenched) from head to toe. There will be a lot of people selling at the Songkran festival but always come prepare lah because you actually will get wet the moment you walk on the street.
Protective Eye wear
I never thought protective eye wear would be that important. I tell you why because a lot of people will be spraying around and water will get into your eyes until you can't open your eyes. I bought this at 50baht (RM5.40) from a roadside stall.
We are in Hat Yai on the eve of Songkran Festival and the celebration has already started that night itself!
Okay check out my OOTD lah.. recommend girls to wear black top because you will get wet and wear light material pants so that it will dry up quickly.
Eazy, Shannon, me & Khai all prepare to go for water war :D
AirAsia organised a stage that night. There are DJ spinning music all day long with a lot of activities going on stage. So damn happening lah!
Those AirAsia staff on stage busy entertaining us with water and all the audience happily accepting it like like blessing *good lah wash away all the bad luck*
I remembered my some Thai girls put some cooling powder paste to put on my face when they walk pass me... apparently also one of the tradition during Songkran Festival..
I think they made the cooling paste with prickly heat cooling powder
No matter young or old, all of them has water gun on their hand... this little boy damn mischievous... he literally chase me and spray me :P
And I have to counter attack him..with my water gun..
There are water station on the roadside during the festival for you to refill. But there are people who rent the whole water tank for their own use.
Now you see why I tell you to get higher capacity water gun because it's troublesome to find free water station.
Damn crowded ...and happening
So nice of AirAsia to give out prizes to lucky winners.... haha I also want to win flight tickets
There are concert everywhere during Songkran Festival eve.
First time watching Muay Thai competition on street.
Some even go to the extend of renting vehicle and have their water tank in car... fuiyoh..
Some of them fill up their tank with ice and it's super chilling water when they spray on you..very notty right!
I never knew how crazy and fun is Songkran Festival until I experienced it. Everyone suddenly become like little kids running around spraying water on each other... SO SO FUN because it's Thai new year and no one can get angry when water was being sprayed on them :D
So some asked me why want to celebrate Songkran Festival in Hat Yai, well this is my reason why.
1) It's the biggest city in Southern Thailand and one of the nearest city to Malaysia boarder. So means everyone at the Southern region will gather in Hat Yai to celebrate Songkran Festival together.
It's very near to KL, with only about 1h 10mins flight from KLIA2 to Hat Yai International Airport. AirAsia flies 10x weekly to Hat Yai from Kuala Lumpur. Hat Yai is one of the main hub in Southern Thailand, hence it's easy to get transit flight to Hat Yai via Don Mueang with 9x Daily flights.
2) Very easy to communicate with Thais in Hat Yai because they can speak fluent English, Malay, Mandarin and some even can speak Hokkien. That's why I said it feel like home in Hat Yai... no need to worry about language barrier!
3) FOOD - I love Thai Food. What so unique in Hat Yai is there are plenty Chinese & Muslim Thai food too. They are cheap and good.
And of of the must try in Hat Yai is Chinese dim sum. It's has huge varieties of choices and only 18 baht (RM1.90) per basket . Must try dim sum restaurant in Hat Yai - highly recommending Chokdee Dim Sum Restaurant
4) After celebrating Songkran Festival in Hat Yai, there are a lot of nearby places of interest that one can visit. One should not miss the famous statue in Thailand which is the Golden Mermaid in Songkla.
Hat Yai also has their own floating market. Klonghae Floating Market is the only floating market at the southern of Thailand. Opens on Friday to Sunday from 3pm to 9pm. Most of them are selling local food. We took tuk tuk here about 100baht for return trip from city.
5) In Hat Yai besides Thai Baht, you can also pay in Malaysian ringgit if you don't have enough Thai Baht. How convenient right? This shows that there are a lot of Malaysian tourists visitting Hat Yai until Malaysian Ringgit is widely accepted there.
Most important just prepare to have FUN FUN FUN lah! It's an unforgettable experience for me. You got to experience Songkran Festival yourself to know how FUN is it!
And with the coming AirAsia Travel Fair in Paradigm mall happening over this weekends (29 - 31 May 2015) offering 20% off all flights tickets, you should go and book tickets to enjoy Songkran Festival in Hatyai next year lah! I'm planning mine trips too, so hope to see you all there!
To find out more about AirAsia flights to Hat Yai, please visit www.airasia.com