When The Heck Is Songkran Anyhow?
Posted by on Mar 31, 2011 in TAT

Is Songkran really three weeks long in 2011? The Tourism Authority of Thailand thinks so.

Officially, Songkran, Thai New Year, is from 13-15 April 2011.  It is roughly the same every year.  Three days in the middle of April with a day or two tacked on to both ends for extended celebration and travel. But the Tourism Authority of Thailand has seen fit to change the dates in various locations.

However, this year, the Thai Government and Tourism Authority of Thailand have decided to celebrate Songkran from 9 – 17 April in 5 major tourist areas and within 13 provinces.

This was posted on Facebook by the Director, Marketing Information Technology Office at Tourism Authority of Thailand

????????????.?????????????
?????????????? “???????????? ??????????? ??????? 2554” ?????????????????????????????? 9 – 17 ?????? 2554 ??????????????????????? 13 ????????? 5 ???????

Translated poorly by Google Translate:

Governor of the TAT. Festival press conference. “cool around the year 2554 La Songkran” festival will take place during the day 9 – 17 April 2554 in 13 provinces in the five major tourism regions.

But, you should get the idea.  The Songkran Festival is now 9 days long.  That is one long and wet drunk.  Plus, add a couple days on both ends for travel and we are up to about 2 weeks of celebrations.

Why doesn’t the Tourism Authority of Thailand just declare the entire month of April as Songkran?

When I asked the Director, Marketing Information Technology Office at Tourism Authority of Thailand what happened to the official dates of 13-15 April, her reply was:

“There are many places throughout Thailand celebrate Songkran festival starting from early till late of Apr. including I-San like Khao-Neaw Road which I think it will be great fun there.”

This is a crock of shit.  I have been traveling to Thailand since 1973 and have spent the last three Songkrans in Khon Kaen, and there are ALWAYS three official days and then a couple days extended for more partying and travel – usually totally 7 days in all.  Her reference to “I-san” and “Khao-Neaw Road” are here in Khon Kaen which must be one of the 13 key tourism locations.

There was also an extension granted by the Thai Government and the Tourism Authority of Thailand in 2009 when the Red Shirts were protesting but this was only for the Bangkok area and had everything to do with tourist dollars.

It looks like this is another attempt by the Tourism Authority of Thailand aimed at tourist dollars.  Extending a three-day holiday into a 2 week or longer festival is crazy.  It is bad enough that we have to suffer getting soaked for a few days, but now for a couple of weeks, will keep many people locked inside their houses.

And, like the Tourism Authority of Thailand did during Chinese New Year, they planned celebrations in different parts of Thailand throughout the month instead of just during the actual New Years Day.

I guess we will celebrate the Western New Year throughout all of December and January and not just New Years Eve on December 31st and New Years Day on January 1.

This appears to be a scramble by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to attract tourists but it may be too late for most to plan their holidays.  I can also see that some may cancel or change their dates to avoid Songkran since not everyone likes to get soaking wet for a couple of weeks.

Anyhow, here are the dates and locations as provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand from their tourismthailand.org web site.  I have no idea how accurate these dates are since I have already seen discrepancies when Amazing Thailand (Tourism Authority of Thailand) has posted Event Dates on their Facebook page.  Good luck and plan on getting wet throughout April.

Nakhon Si Thammarat
April 11 2011 – April 15 2011

Chiang Mai
April 12 2011 – April 15 2011

Sukhothai
April 7 2011 – April 19 2011

Bangkok
April 9 2011 – April 17 2011

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
April 13 2011 – April 13 2011

Suphan Buri
April 12 2011 – April 14 2011

Koh Si Chang
April 13 2011 – April 18 2011

Bang Saen
April 16 2011 – April 17 2011

Pattaya
April 7 2011 – April 15 2011

Bangphra
April 17 2011 – April 18 2011

Si Mah Racha
April 19 2011 – April 21 2011

Samut Prakan
April 22 2011 – April 24 2011

Nakhon Phanom
April 12 2011 – April 15 2011

Songkran Festival and Dok Khun Siang Khaen Festival on Khao Nieo Road 2011 (Khon Kaen – the only listing that doesn’t list the city name in the title.)
April 8 2011 – April 15 2011

Nong Khai
April 12 2011 – April 15 2011

Hat Yai
April 9 2011 – April 15 2011

Phuket
April 10 2011 – April 13 2011

Nakhon Si Thammarat
April 11 2011 – April 15 2011

It appears that the Tourism Authority of Thailand has now made the Songkran Festival run from 7 April all the way until 24 April and knowing the Thais, they will add a couple of extra days to it making it about 3 weeks long. I guess the Tourism Authority of Thailand is following Prime Minister Abhisit’s directive to pursue quality tourists and is aiming to get them during Songkran and have them get soaking wet on Khaosan Road.

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