Songkran Festival: World's Largest Water Fight

Friendly Planet Travel •

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Escape Kit

  • A Nine-Day Trip to Thailand's Songkran Festival ($2,299 per Person), Including:
  • Round-Trip Flights from Los Angeles to Bangkok on China Airlines
  • Double-Occupancy Accommodations for Three Nights in a Standard Room at Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok and Three Nights in a Standard Room at Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa in Chiang Mai
  • Intra-Thailand Flight From Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • Six Breakfasts and One Songkran Lunch
  • Experienced English-Speaking Tour Director
  • Water Gun
  • Ground Transportation and Sightseeing Tours as Specified In Itinerary
  • All Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges Included
  • Priced per Person Based on Double Occupancy (See Fine Print)

The Destination
The Thai know how to end a year—and a dry spell. Held in mid-April, the region's hottest month, Songkran ("astrological passage") is the nation's New Year's Day festival. With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, crowds take to the streets for friendly water fights, brandishing water guns, water hoses, and trash cans filled with ice cold water. There's a more solemn origin of the waterlogged festivities, too: Traditionally, scented water was poured over Buddha as a sign of cleansing, and so modern observers douse his image as it passes them in the streets. The reverent also carry sand to the wats (temples) to build mini-Chedis (mound structures), pray, and give food to monks, all for good luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Soak yourself in Thailand's vibrant culture during a nine-day trip to Bangkok and Chiang Mai to celebrate the Songkran Festival, courtesy of Friendly Planet Travel.

The Itinerary
day 1 and 2: Your exotic journey begins with a flight to Thailand, via Taipei. Cross the International Dateline and lose a day en route (you'll recover this day on your return trip).

day 3: Arrive in Bangkok in the morning. After customs formalities, transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure in the country's sprawling, fantastic capital. As you move throughout the city's 50 districts, you'll find yourself passing everything from seafood markets to fiscal markets; the Grand Palace of "Old Bangkok" to neon glitz and go-go bars; and from upscale government buildings with a decidedly European flair to quiet riverside museums.
Overnight at Dusit Thani Hotel.

day 4: Rise and shine for a city tour that takes you to Bangkok's center. Temples, along with the monarchy, are the fabric that binds together the national identity of Thailand, and some of the most interesting temples are found here in Bangkok. Begin at Wat Trimitr where you will view the 700-year-old Golden Buddha, the largest in the world weighing approximately five tons. At Wat Po, the oldest temple in the city founded in the 17th century, you'll view the amazing Reclining Buddha, whose face depicts the attainment of Nirvana and whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. You'll also visit Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the "Marble Temple," and one of Bangkok's most important tourist attractions. Built of white Italian marble, it is a wonderful example of Thai temple architecture.
Overnight at Dusit Thani Hotel. Breakfast provided.

day 5: Today, the city is your playground. Explore Bangkok on your own, or join an optional excursion.
Overnight at Dusit Thani Hotel. Breakfast provided.

day 6: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, you'll be greeted by your guide for your transfer to the hotel for a day of leisure. Chiang Mai is an ancient walled city and the chief site of Songkran celebration, where the waters of the Ping River course alongside its streets. The nightlife thrives along the riverbanks, too, and you'll find live music venues and bars near Nawarat Bridge. Chiang Mai is Thailand's fifth-largest city, and though it's known for its cosmopolitan culture, the "Rose of the North" is surrounded by mountains and still hosts a Sunday Evening Market and traditional Thai fixtures.
Overnight at Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.

day 7: Songkran is celebrated nationwide, but in Chiang Mai it's a grand and colorful event with street parties, family reunions, and friendly water fights.

Depart your hotel early and drive to the foothill of Doi Suthep Mountain to join the locals for a daily alms-giving ceremony—a serene Buddhist procession where dozens of monks walk barefoot through the street collecting food and everyday items. Continue up the mountain to Wat Doi Suthep and climb the 309 steps of the Golden Naga staircase to reach its golden pagodas.

Then, experience the Songkran cultural activities at Wat Phra Singh, just like the locals do. Give yourself a blessing by pouring scented water over Buddha images, and carry sand to the monastery ground of the temple to build sand Chedis. In the afternoon, arm yourself with a provided water gun and enter the splash zone. Crouch behind buildings and ambush locals with water. Head back to your hotel soaked head to toe before an evening of exploring the Songkran activity at night around Tapae Road.
Overnight at Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.

day 8: Experience the Thai Songkran culture with a local family in Hang Dong. In true Thai style, slip into a pair of local "fisherman's pants" and discover the architecture of a traditional Thai house and rice barn. Enjoy a basket weaving demonstration, a tradition that has been in Thailand for centuries.

Then, enjoy a cooking extravaganza. You will learn to cook traditional home-cooked recipes with authentic Northern Thai flavors, and enjoy the delicious lunch with a local host family.

In the afternoon, join in on a must-do Songkran activity: Rod Nam Dam Hua. During this beautiful ceremony, water is poured reverently on the hands of elders, senior relatives, or respected persons as a request for forgiveness and blessings. Afterward, explore Chiang Mai on your own.
Overnight at Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa. Breakfast and lunch provided.

day 9: Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the states via Bangkok. You'll return awash with a new found love for the Land of Smiles.
Breakfast provided.

The Date
Los Angeles (LAX) departure: April 7, 2014 ($2,299)
*Priced per person based on double occupancy (See Fine Print)

  • "The Lunar New Year in Thailand marks a time when the country literally goes to water...Held in the peak of the hot season, Songkran is a literal chance for the country to cool off."

    -- Lonely Planet
  • "After honoring local monks and family elders, folks hit the streets for massive water fights...such areas as Khao San Road become messy war zones where everyone gets soaked (police included) and then covered in flour or colored powder."

    -- Frommer's

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the fine print

  • Vouchers cannot be combined to extend stay
  • Reservations required and subject to availability; must be booked by November 26, 2013
  • Must be 21 or older to make booking and anyone under 18 must be traveling with another person that is 21 or older; travelers on the tour must be 8 years of age or older
  • Not valid toward existing reservations
  • Merchants cancellation policy applies. For more information, please see www.friendlyplanet.com/terms/packages.html?tourId=523
  • Rates are per person based on double occupancy (two people sharing a room). Each of two guests must purchase an Escape and arrange to stay together at the hotel. Single occupancy requires an additional fee of $499
  • Rate for extra nights is available upon request; subject to availability and must be confirmed at booking
  • All other major US airports available for a surcharge and will be collected at time of booking
  • Does not include gratuities to drivers, local guides, etc., meals and beverages other than specified, personal and baggage insurance, and items of a personal nature
  • Passport required
  • Review the State Department's website for passport/visa requirements and important announcements before traveling to your destination
  • Nights must be spent consecutively; all inclusions must be redeemed during one stay
  • The promotional value is valid only for date range purchased and may not be exchanged or redeemed for any other dates
  • Other conditions apply • PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES ON April 7, 2014 • Enjoy By April 7, 2014
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