The Lowdown on Songkran 2023 in Chiang Mai

Songkran 2023 in Chiang Mai

Songkran is nearly upon is and preparations are underway for the most important festival in Thailand.  Celebrations can last up to a week as the Thai New Year marks the end of the dry season, with a variety of religious ceremonies and events taking place, as well as the famous water fights seen across the country.

Chiang Mai is a hugely popular destination for both foreigners and locals during the Songkran festivities but what exactly is Songkran?  The word ‘Songkran’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘samkranti’ which means change or transformation, and it is this time that Thai people celebrate the New Year. The festival is determined according to the movement of the sun from one zodiac position to another which is why the date changes each year.

Water is splashed on buddha statues which is a symbol of renewal and younger generations will bathe the hands of their elders as a mark of respect and to receive their blessing.     The huge water fights have become synonymous with Songkran and all major towns and cities will have their own battles!

Songkran in Chiang Mai in 2023

When is Songkran 2023?

Songkran 2023 falls between April 13th – April 15th 2023.  The first day of the new year is called Song Nam Phra (pouring water on monks) day.  Processions are held all across Thailand and it is this day that the biggest water fights happen.

April 14th: This day is also known as Wan Nao and it celebrates the old Thai New Year’s Eve.  Everyone is encouraged to spend time with loved ones on this day and enjoy a family meal.

April 15th: On this day, the New Year begins. This day is also known as Wan Payawan (‘Bathing Buddha’) Day. Parties, water fights and concerts are commonplace throughout Thailand on the final official day of Songkran 2023.

Songkran in Chiang Mai

Songkran in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is an amazing destination to visit during Songkran and many Thais head to the region for celebrations, with the old town being the focal point.  There are lots of traditional ceremonies and events going on at famous temples such as Wat Phrasingh and the Three Kings Monument which make for a unique spectacle to witness.  The entire moat is the main area for the water fights and trucks will clog the streets as they battle people lining the road.  It is best to avoid this area if you have no intention of joining in, and any attempt to stay dry will be futile!

The biggest concentration of people will be close to Thapae gate and crowds will use anything they can to splash passers by, whether it be a water fun, pipe or bucket.  You can buy any of these from the many vendors along with waterproof bags, comedy wigs, glasses, costumes and more!

What to do During Songkran in Chiang Mai

If you have no intention of getting wet or dislike the crowds then there is plenty to do to escape Songkran 2023.  Tour companies operate as normal, including Trailhead Thailand.  We recommend a trip to Doi Inthanon on our Waterfall Wanderer tour to escape the April heat and to enjoy some must see highlights in Chiang Mai.  Among the places you’ll visit are the highest point in Thailand, the famous Twin Pagodas and a beautiful hike to a Karen hilltribe village.  You’ll find the air is a lot clearer and cooler up in the mountains and this is a memorable trip.  Visit for details.


Waterfall Wanderer

Keeping the water theme, if you’re a cycling enthusiast, our Rural Explorer cycling tour includes a wonderful visit to Mork Fa waterfall before a 25km ride through idyllic countryside.  Don’t worry if you think it’s to hot as our support vehicle follows the entire way with lots of snacks and refreshments to keep your energy levels high!  You can book this tour at

Rural Explorer

To get really off the beaten track you can experience our Hilltribe in the Clouds trekking tour, we’ll take you along seldom used trails deep in the national park and can even customize it to your requirements.  Chances are you’ll not see another person on this tour so is great for getting away from the mayhem of Songkran 2023!   Book this tour at

Hilltribe in the Clouds

Whatever you choose to do in Chiang Mai for Songkran 2023, enjoy the spectacle and wish the locals a ‘Sawadee bee mai’ or Happy New Year in Thai and get in touch with us to book your tours!