Agoda.com, Asia’s global hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed priceline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN), celebrates Songkran 2011 with great rates across all of Thailand.
Thai New Year – Songkran – is Thailand's biggest celebration. Every year, Songkran takes place over a three-day national holiday, with festivities lasting several days in some cities. Songkran's defining feature is 'water play'. In Thai Buddhist tradition, water poured over the hands is part of a cleansing ritual – for Songkran, this solemn blessing is transformed into boisterous, fun-filled water fights. Super-soakers and buckets increase the intensity, with iced water often used for fuel and dousings followed by a blast of chalk powder.
Travelers visiting Thailand during Songkran can experience the country at its most exuberant. Bangkok traffic eases as workers take time off and Silom Road and Khao San Road are blocked off for music, dancing and water play. All of Bangkok's major malls stay open, although smaller restaurants and street stalls may close for the three-day period (April 13 to 15).
In the coastal resort city of Pattaya, 90 minutes' drive south of Bangkok, the beachfront promenade fills with parties and water play for a full week of partying. In Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, Buddhist parades take place through the city, while people bearing super soakers and buckets transform the historic moat into a giant water fight.
Songkran is a prime time to visit Thailand. Engaging in water play with the locals is one of the most unique and fun ways to experience Thai culture. Many Thai families go on vacation during this time, so hotels fill up fast and room rates can rise. For first-time visitors to the Kingdom during Songkran, there are a few travel tips that can enhance the experience.
Tips for Songkran:
• Wear light, quick-dry clothing. Thais don Hawaiian shirts, which are inexpensive and available from local supermarkets.
• Carry your mobile phone and money in a waterproof satchel. Street vendors will start selling these a few weeks in advance in anticipation of Songkran.
• Khao San Road in Bangkok is one of the liveliest places for Songkran and not for the feint-hearted.
• Be especially careful around roads at Songkran, as water is often thrown from moving vehicles at pedestrians and vice versa.
• Avoid taking a tuk tuk or motorcycle taxi anywhere during Songkran if you expect to stay dry. Tourists riding in open vehicles are especially inviting targets for local teens.
• Say, 'sawasdee bee mai' to people. That's Thai for 'Happy New Year!'
• If you get squirted or drenched, just smile and say, 'Thank you!' It's good luck.
• If carrying a laptop or camera, make sure it's in a waterproof bag.
• Escape water play by staying indoors in one of Bangkok's big malls or full-service hotels – also the coolest places to be during Thailand's hottest time.
• Book your hotel as early as you can – it's peak travel time in Thailand and you don't want to miss out!
Super Special Songkran Hotel Deals
Bangkok Marriot and Spa – 5 stars
Early-bird rate: Junior Suite with American breakfast from USD 163 per night. Enjoy 14.7% discount.
Baiyoke Sky Hotel – 4 stars
Superior standard zone room from USD 62 per night – enjoy 25% discount.
Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel – 4 stars
Early-bird rate: Superior room from USD 59 per night – enjoy 49% discount.
Kao Mai Lanna Resort – 3 stars
Hot deal – Superior room for USD 38 per night. Enjoy 20% discount. Free Breakfast.
The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel – 3 stars
Superior room from USD 56 per night – free breakfast. Limited rooms left.
Baan Laimai Beach Resort – 4 stars
Rates from USD 89 per night – enjoy 26% discount.
Alfresco Phuket – 3 stars
Rates from USD 46 per night – enjoy 30% discount.
7Q Hotel – 3 stars
Rates from USD 42 per night – enjoy 40% discount.
Dusit Thani Hotel Pattaya – 5 stars
Early-bird rate: Superior Garden View room from USD 110 per night. Enjoy 20% discount.
Baboona Beachfront Living Hotel – 3.5 stars
Studio room from USD 62 per night. Free breakfast. Limited rooms available.