Every April, visitors from all over the world head to Thailand to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year’s festival, Songkran, by splashing, spraying, and sprinkling water on themselves, their friends, and total strangers. More than 500,000 overseas tourists will be coming for this year’s Songkran.
Fun-loving tourists, expats, and Thais alike participate in this boisterous festivity. For those planning to join the fun, these common sense tips can make the festival safer and healthier — and remind you what to do if you need to see a doctor.
Cups and small buckets used to be big enough to deliver Songkran’s sprinklings and splashes. Over the years, the festival has expanded to include hoses and high-powered squirt guns, too. A lot of people start celebrating early in the day and continue into the evening, which means many hours of sun exposure and wearing clothing that never gets completely dry.
- Wear sunglasses with quality lenses to protect your eyes from sun damage and direct water hits.
- Choose clothing that offers some sun protection and be sure to re-apply sunscreen about every two hours.
- When you’re soaking wet, your body still perspires, so drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Too many hours in wet clothing puts you at risk for hypothermia, so take a fresh set of dry clothes with you for a late-day change.
Driving and Travel Safety
Revelers aren’t the only ones getting doused by water out in public. Travelers and their luggage and personal belongings have a hard time staying dry during Songkran.
- If you are traveling in Thailand during the holiday, wrap your valuables in plastic or use zipper-lock storage bags, and stick to cars and taxis with doors and windows — water-intensive celebrations render open-air options like tuk-tuks and motorcycles defenseless against water and especially hazardous when the streets are slick and slippery.
- Drivers and passengers traveling by car, truck, or motorcycle are prime targets for roadside deluges — and when the water takes the driver by surprise, losing control of the vehicle is often the result.
- Drivers should take extra care to avoid speeding. Better yet, consider taking a holiday from driving altogether for a few days and enjoy not being out on the roads.
- If you’re driving a motorcycle or riding as a passenger, protect yourself with a quality helmet and protective clothing.
Finally, it’s worth repeating that oily road surfaces become hyper-slippery when wet. Reduce your speed and avoid sudden braking.
Illness and Injury
After the big celebration, it’s not unusual to feel sick or under the weather, and injuries from falls and accidents tend to peak during Songkran. Common ailments include stomach upset and diarrhea, earaches, eye infections, and colds.
If you need to see a doctor or simply don’t know where to go for medical care, doctors at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok can help. New patients can register at the Sky Lobby on the 10th Floor of Bumrungrad International (BI) Clinic Building. Call +66 2066 8888 [ in case of emergency, please call +66 2011 5222]. Or send an email to us at [email protected]
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