diner, drinks, Phuket, songkran

Songkran Smiles: The Kan Eang Songkran Festival

SongKran Festival Fun

If you find yourself in northeastern Thailand in mid-April, you may be delightfully doused with water as part of the Kan Eang Songkran celebrations. This multi-day festival welcomes the traditional Thai New Year with unparalleled exuberance. Giving visitors the ultimate New Year adventure that they will ever experience in Phuket.

Songkran is celebrated across Thailand from April 13-15 each year, marking the arrival of the new solar year when the sun transitions into Aries. However, the Kan Eang Songkran Festival in Phuket offers a particularly boisterous observance steeped in traditions that make it unique. Food, Fun, and happiness for everyone including the kids.

Songkran Festival
Songkran Festival

The name “Kan Eang Songkran” translates to “the pouring set or container for Songkran,” referencing the earthen jars locals use to tote water for soaking each other. This wet revelry has its roots in an ancient purification ritual of sprinkling water mixed with perfume on elders, Buddha statues, and homes to cleanse any misfortune from the previous year. So make sure you cleanse your homes and also have fun with family and friends at the same time.

This seasonal splashing has become a full-blown water battle, especially in cities like Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom, and Bangkok. The streets transform into raucous arenas where water guns, hoses, and buckets are the weapons of choice. Giving many visitors from all walks of life, and all countries can safely enjoy the festival. Everyone is set up with fortified water stations armed with an arsenal of water balloons to pelt passersby. If you are driving please be safe on the road. Good-natured madness ensues as young and old alike show no mercy in drenching one another.

But the festival offers more than just aquatic antics. It’s also a time for spiritual cleansing, cultural immersion, and family reunions. Everyone comes together on different days for quiet time and no water, and rules are enforced in each city and each province to know which days water can be used. Locals erect pavilions called “Bung Kan Eang” to serve food and provide spaces for traditional dance performances and music concerts. Each district has its own unique Bung Kan Eang design, often decorated with banana trees, sugar palm fronds, and colorful flags.

SongKran History
Songkran History

Vibrant processions take place featuring people dressed in traditional Isaan attire with exquisite silk garments, golden jewelry, and cheerful masks and headdresses. These parades put the Isaan cultural heritage on proud display.

In the evenings after the daytime water antics, communities gather at temples to engage in Buddhist rituals and practices. People light incense and candles while making offerings to monks. Sand stupas are decorated outside the temples too. So as a visitor please show respect to the Kingdom, by following the rules and the laws that are posted in your community and neighborhood. These activities encourage gratitude, humility, and reflection to start the new year with a cleansed mind.

The Kan Eang Songkran Festival has become so popular that hotels often sell out far in advance. Because everyone wants to be in Thailand on Songkran so they can enjoy fun in the sun. Accommodation seekers opt for alternative options by camping near temples, renting tents and cabins outside the cities, or even air BnBs before they are all booked. Many foreign travelers embrace the tradition as an opportunity to experience Thai culture at its most vibrant and playful.

Songkran Splash Festival
Songkran Splash Festival

Whether you’re Thai or just an appreciative visitor, the Kan Eang festivities offer an unforgettable blend of spiritual awakening, cultural immersion, and pure childlike delight in splashing anyone and everyone in sight. Come and enjoy the food, drinks, and summer fun here at Kan Eang. Getting completely drenched from head to toe has never been so celebratory. Just be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet and leave your valuables behind!