Quick access to top menu Direct access to main contents Quick access to page bottom
Subscribe and receive updates

Water Guns and Woes: The Dual Faces of Thailand’s Songkran Festival

The 2024 Songkran Festival in Thailand has concluded. April 13th to 15th marks the Thai New Year, also known as Songkran. While it celebrates the Thai New Year, Songkran is more commonly known as the Water Festival. Every year, travelers worldwide plan trips to Thailand to participate in Songkran.

Although Songkran is a major festival that was registered as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in December last year, it is also often followed by tragedy. Let’s take a look at the situation of this year’s Songkran.

Source: Thai PBS

During Songkran, spraying water guns and enjoying the festival is associated with washing away bad luck. Thailand considers the time when the sun moves into the first zodiac sign, Aries, as the start of the New Year. Thais often make wishes while sprinkling water on their hands and Buddha statues.

Throughout Songkran, the whole of Thailand enjoys the festival by spraying water or shooting water guns. Streets have large water trucks and even elephants for a grand water gun festival. Songkran has established itself as a representative cultural event in Thailand.

Locals also flock to the capital, Bangkok, to enjoy the festival. After Songkran ended, approximately 15 million people crowded the public transportation. Following the festival, vehicle traffic increases, leading to severe congestion.

Source: Sharath

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects this year’s Songkran Festival to generate about 1.2 billion dollars from domestic tourists and over 224 million dollars from foreign tourists. Revenue from Songkran is expected to increase by about 49% compared to last year.

Over 10 million tourists visited Thailand this year, with around 620,000 South Korean tourists. Numerous tourists enjoyed their trips to Thailand during the Songkran period.

Source: today. line.me

During Songkran, the large crowds and alcohol consumption lead to continuous accidents and incidents. Every year during Songkran, there are fatalities. This year, 206 people lost their lives, and 1,593 were injured during the Songkran Festival in Thailand. Motorcycle accidents accounted for 83.8% of all accidents, with speeding and drunk driving being the leading causes.

As the festival heats up, many people drink alcohol and ride motorcycles. Accidents often occur when people ride motorcycles and shoot water guns to enjoy the festival. Also, due to the water play, people frequently slip and fall. Besides drunk driving, there are also incidents of sexual assault and brawls.

Last year, during Songkran, 236 people died, and over 2,000 were injured. In a single day, there were 311 traffic accidents. During the Songkran period, there were over 6,700 cases of drunk driving detected. Each year, speeding and drunk driving pose significant problems.

Source: the standard

In Thailand, during Songkran, there is a somewhat permissive atmosphere towards drinking and driving motorcycles. Incidents of people getting hit by drunk motorcycle drivers and dying are frequent.

Thousands of safety personnel are deployed in Thailand yearly to prevent accidents and incidents. In Bangkok, 1,600 safety personnel comprising firefighters, nurses, civil servants, and volunteers are stationed, and in Pattaya, 600 police officers are deployed.

They also created alcohol-free zones so people could enjoy the event safely and encouraged participation without alcohol. Fatalities occurred during this year’s Songkran despite these efforts, causing regret.

Source: prachachat

Songkran is considered the world’s largest water festival, but it’s far from safe. Every year, there are fatalities, but there’s no significant change in terms of safety. If you’re visiting Thailand to enjoy the Songkran Festival, you must pay special attention to safety.

During Songkran, many people drink and drive motorcycles on the road. Therefore, you should be careful when walking on the streets. The roads can be slippery, so caution is needed when walking or getting in and out of vehicles.

Excessive drinking can lead to altercations or accidents on the streets, so it’s best to avoid heavy drinking. Also, as it’s a densely populated area, you should be wary of pickpockets and sexual assaults.

During Songkran, Thailand experiences scorching weather, with daytime temperatures nearing 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Spending long hours outside can lead to heatstroke and other emergency situations, so be cautious.

mememedia's Profile image




Share it on