SINGAPORE – Agoda.com, one of Asia’s leading hotel booking sites and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is offering superb holiday hotel deals in Thailand to celebrate Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year and one of the country’s most anticipated annual events.
The origins of Songkran go back hundreds of years, when April marked the end of the dry season. Families gathered together, often at temples, to celebrate a successful year and to pray for a fruitful coming year. It was also a time to wash valued images of Buddha with scented water, which was then poured over the hands of senior members of the family as a blessing. It also didn’t hurt that April is the hottest time of the year, and a dousing of cool water was a welcome distraction. Songkran is based on the solar calendar. This year it falls April 13-15.
What started as a discreet and modest celebration has turned into an event that fills the streets of most major Thai towns and cities. Time spent with family and visits to auspicious temples are still an essential part of the event for most Thais, but exciting street parties and over-the-top water fights with thousands of revelers have become the most visible part of the celebration.
Visitors are welcome to join the fun, but prepare to get wet and even messy – those walking in or even near a party area will find it impossible to stay dry. On top of this, Thais will often rub white paste onto cheeks and into hair of strangers while saying “Sawa Dee Pee Mai!” (Happy New Year!) before moving on to the next person.
As with most big parties there are some common rules of etiquette to follow: put wallet, phone, and other valuables in a plastic bag; wear clothing that is comfortable but not too skimpy; wear sunglasses if in the thick of things; and be part of the fun. When hit with a stray jet of ice water or getting paste smooshed into hair or ears react with a jovial “you got me!” and take your soaking or pasting with the good intentions with which they were delivered – it’s all part of the fun!
This year Agoda.com is offering superb hotel deals in six of the most popular Songkran destinations around the country: Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Chiang Mai, and Krabi. Visit the special landing page at www.agoda.com/songkran2014 to see featured hotels in some of Thailand’s most popular Songkran destinations. Have fun!