For me, April is one of the best month to visit Thailand, where Songkran Festival running from 13 to 15 April.

The Thailand’s New Year celebration is a beloved nationwide celebration and very popular for domestic and international tourists.

Centuries before the tourism industry made Songkran synonymous with water guns, it was -and still is- a time for the Thai people to prepare for a fresh start and spiritual cleansing in the New Year, taking the time to visit with family and making merit at their local temples.

According to Buddhist legend, “Songkran” comes from Sanskrit and means transformation, and over the three-day festival, there will be colourful processions to the temples to make merit.

The best places to join the religious experiences in Bangkok is at Wat Arun and Wat Pho on the Chao Phraya River, or Wat Phra Kaeo in Chinatown. Foreigners are welcome to help bathe sacred Buddha images at the temples, a merit-making act that is believed to bring good luck for the New Year.

The 2017 Songkran celebrations are going to be a “muted affair” as Thailand is still mourning the October 2016 passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

While the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has said all TAT events and parties will end by midnight, the Thai authorities have asked businesses near backpacker mecca Khao San in Bangkok to refrain from “entertainment activities” like selling coloured powder and water guns; instead, to focus on the cultural side of Songkran.

Remember that mobile phones, cameras and anything that can’t get wet should be left at the hotel or put in a waterproof pack. Water fights aren’t allowed on the BTS and MRT, but almost every other location is fair game, so come prepared with a good attitude and a squirt gun!

Happy Songkran, everyone!

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