The country’s hot and humid dry season culminates in a national water fight, where locals and tourists grab buckets, hose pipes and water pistols and take to the streets with just one goal: to soak everything in sight. Bangkok’s Khao San Road and Silom area are really busy during this time, with DJs playing music from waterproofed bars, while resorts in Phuket and Pattaya throw some wet and wild parties. However, nowhere beats the sheer scale of the celebrations found in Chiang Mai. Buckets are refilled from the ancient city’s 6.5km moat and a stage set up at Thapae Gate plays host to live music and traditional Thai dance performances. If it all becomes too much, rise above the chaos in a hot-air balloon – it’s a breath-taking way to see the area’s natural beauty.
Visit a temple during Songkran and you will find these colourful places of worship have taken on a beach atmosphere, with Buddhist monks building hundreds of pagoda-shaped sandcastles. The seaside town of Bang Saen has taken the practice one step further and is now renowned for its huge sand sculptures that are built a couple of days after the water-throwing has finished.