SINGAPORE – Agoda.com, Asia’s leading global hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN), today announced special Songkran hotel deals to mark Thailand’s biggest celebration.
“Sawasdee bii mai!” is Thai for “Happy New Year!” and something travelers can expect to hear a lot of over the 3 days of Songkran. Stretching from April 13 to 15, Songkran is not only the kingdom’s biggest and most important holiday, it’s something that lovers of Thailand should experience at least once.
During Songkran, many Thais visit family, party with friends, and make merit at their local temple. Most Bangkok residents travel upcountry to their hometowns, leaving the city unusually quiet and traffic-free for the duration of the celebration.
Anyone familiar with Songkran knows it by its most boisterous tradition: water play. Derived from the Buddhist act of blessing with a sprinkling of water, the practice has today evolved into fully-fledged water fights.
Across the country, streets transform into water battle zones with people in Hawaiian shirts wielding high-powered water cannons and buckets of iced water. Following a thorough dousing, people are then smeared with chalk powder as a further blessing.
Travelers visiting Thailand during Songkran can expect an experience quite unlike anything else. To really get into the spirit of Songkran, here are a few indispensible items with which travelers should equip themselves.
5 ESSENTIAL SONGKRAN ITEMS
A Hawaiian shirt of any color or pattern. These can be bought from street stalls or supermarkets for around 79 THB.
A water gun. Plastic water guns of all shapes and sizes go on sale months before Songkran. Pump-action canons require the least downtime for refueling, though a bucket is also very effective.
Plastic wallet/phone holder. When venturing outside, travelers should carry their money and their phone in a plastic waterproof case. These can be bought cheaply from market stalls and street vendors for 20 to 50 THB.
Flip-flops. Trainers and other closed shoes are not a viable option when standing for hours in talc and water in Thailand’s hot season.
Waterproof camera. This is the most colorful and chaotic time in Thailand, and it would be a shame not to have any photos. Rather than risk ruining an expensive phone or camera, disposable single-use cameras can be bought from 7-Elevens or supermarkets.
WHERE TO GO FOR WATER PLAY
Khao San Road in Bangkok. Just entering Khao San Road is consenting to involvement in the most rigorous water play in the city. The party here starts early every day and goes well into the wee hours.
Chiang Mai around the Old City moat and gates. Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most popular Songkran destinations with parades and various merit-making activities.
Pattaya. Songkran starts later in Pattaya with water play lasting until April 19 this year. Only the most devoted water play enthusiast should visit Pattaya at this time of year.
Phuket. Patong beach is the epicenter of water play in Phuket, with traffic at a standstill as youths in pick-up trucks launch water at pedestrians by the bucket-load.
Pai in Mae Hong Son province. Walking Street here offers a comparatively subdued Songkran, with a more laid-back approach to water play. Pai is also one of the most picturesque parts of the country and a mainstay retreat for backpackers and eco-travelers.
AGODA.COM SONGKRAN HOTEL DEALS
Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel, Bangkok 5* – 57.23% discount!
From US$94 per night. Valid from April 10 to 17, 2012.
Centre Point Langsuan 4* – 30% discount!
From US$61 per night. Valid from now until April 30, 2012.
Anantara Bangkok Sathorn 5* – 30% discount!
From US$90 per night. Valid from until December 12, 2012.
Golden Tulip Mandison Suite 4* – 41.55% discount!
From US$57 per night. Valid from now until June 12, 2012.
Dusit D2 Chiang Mai Hotel 4*- 25% discount!
From US$105 per night. Minimum stay 2 nights. Valid from April 1 until October 26, 2012.
Yantarasri Resort 4 * – 10% discount!
From US$61 per night. Valid from April 1 to October 31, 2012.
Kodchasri Thani Hotel 4*- 27% discount!
From US$93 per night. Early Bird rate – must book at least 10 days in advance. Valid from April 1 to April 30, 2012.
Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel 3*- 30% discount!
From US$35 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights. Valid from April 1 to June 30, 2012.
Payi Resort 3.5* – 25% discount!
From US$17 per night. Valid from March 1 to September 30, 2012.
Paiviengfah Resort 4*- 50% discount!
From US$ 25 per night. Valid from March 1-June 30, 2012.
Baan Suan Rim Pai Hotel 3*- 50% discount!
From US$23 per night. Valid from now until May 31, 2012.
Baan Kungkang De Pai Resort 3.5* – 601 THB discount! March 1-Sept. 30,
From US$25 per night. Valid from March 1 to September 30, 2012.
Miracle Suite 4*- 40% discount!
From US$60 per night. Valid from April 1 to September 30, 2012.
Furama Jomtien Beach Hotel 4* – 30% discount!
From US$62 per night. Valid from April 1 to October 31, 2012.
V8 Seaview Hotel 3*
From US$55 per night. Valid from now until June 30, 2012.
Mike Hotel 2.5*- 17% discount!
From US$27 per night. Valid from now until October 31, 2012.
Palmyra Patong Resort 4* – 50% discount!
From US$79 per night. Valid from now until October 31, 2012. Non-refundable rate.
Baan Laimai Beach Resort 4* – 50% discount!
From US$80 per night. Valid from now until April 30, 2012. Non-refundable rate.
Phuket Orchid Resort 3*- 30% discount!
From US$66 per night. Valid from now until April 30, 2012. Non-refundable rate.
Pimnara Boutique Hotel 4*- 50% discount!
From US$93 per night. Valid from now Until April 30, 2012. Non-refundable rate.