Songkran is the biggest and most fun festival in Thailand that will be celebrated all around Thailand from 13 to 15 April 2023. If you are planning to be in Thailand and join the celebration of Thai New Year 2023, check for the best places to celebrate Songkran 2023 in Chiang Mai.
Where to celebrate Songkran 2023 in Chiang Mai?
Chiang Mai will make a grand comeback for Songkran holiday after many years of having to change according to the situation of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. If you will be visiting Chiang Mai during the Thai New Year holiday this year, make sure to visit at least some of these best places to celebrate Songkran 2023 in Chiang Mai.
1. Chiang Mai Songkran Festival 2023
Date: 12-16 April 2023
Chiang Mai Songkran Festival 2023 that is organized by Chiang Mai Municipality will take you back to the ancient and beautiful local traditions to experience the unique Lanna culture. There will be various activities both day and night such as offering food to monks on the Thai New Year's Day, Phra Buddha Sihing procession, Light and Sound show telling story of Chiang Mai New Year tradition, Songkran beauty contest, Lanna Folk Art and Cultural Show, Lanna Tung Making Contest, Sand Pagoda Contest and more. Chiang Mai residents are invited to wear traditional costumes and speak the indigenous Lanna language (Kham Muang) during Songkran Festival. Chiang Mai Songkran Festival will be held from 12-15 April 2023 at Tha Phae Gate, Three Kings Monument and in the old town area.
2. Water Festival 2023
Date: 13-16 April 2023
Water Festival 2023, a unique Songkran Festival celebration in Thailand, will be held for the 8th time. The festival is taking place between 13-16 April 2023 in 4 regions, 6 provinces of Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Phuket.
In Chiang Mai, the festival will be held at Chiang Mai Ancient House (Ping River). There will be many activities to enhance the prosperity of Lanna traditions including authentic Lanna local food set served in Khantoke style by community chefs, contemporary music in the cool atmosphere, Lanna Speaking Contest by youth, shopping for various products.
If you will be staying in Bangkok during Songkran, find more information about the venues and activities of Water Festival 2023 in Bangkok.
3. Water War Chiang Mai
Date: 16 April 2023
If you are looking for a party and music festival during Songkran, Water War Chiang Mai is a great choice. Water War Chiang Mai is a big music festival in the midst of Chiang Mai city with full WATER EFFECT with a height of 20 meters, like never before. You will have fun with NEVER DRY party all day until midnight. This event is filled with a line-up of top Thai artists such as Three Man Down, slot machine, Potato, PALMY, Tilly Bird, Paper Planes, and Wonder Frame. There will be gathering of the famous Chiang Mai pubs such as Tha Chang, WARM UP, HOM BAR, Challui, THAY NIMMAN and LIVING MACHINE with the unique atmosphere of each pub along with a special SIGNATURE DRINK for this party only. In addition, there will also be a full production of lighting, color, sound and visual effects. The Water War Chiang Mai will be held on Sunday, April 16, 2023 at Lan Muan Jai, Central Chiang Mai Airport Shopping Center.
4. Tha Phae Gate
Date: 13 – 16 April 2023
Tha Phae Gate is a popular area for tourists both Thais and foreigners that should not be missed during Songkran Festival. It seems to be the busiest place in Chiang Mai during Songkran with the whole area becoming the largest water battlefield. When you get here, be sure to pack all your water fight gear – water guns, buckets and be ready to get soaked.
At Tha Phae Gate, there is a large courtyard that Chiang Mai government uses for organizing Songkran festivals. There are many cultural activities that make you like going back in the atmosphere of ancient Chiang Mai including distributing of Namthip to tourists, ceremony of giving alms and merit to monks, Mae Ying Kee Rod Theep Klang Jong Contest (ladies wearing traditional dress with umbrella riding a bicycle), Songkran Thepee & Thepbutra Contest, Lanna Tung Making Contest and Khantoke Lanna Contest.
Tip: Not far from Tha Phae Gate, there is Chiang Mai moat, another popular landmark during Songkran with fun on both sides of the canal.
Tha Phae Gate and Chiang Mai moat are two of the best places to celebrate Songkran in Chiang Mai not only this year but also every year.
5. Chiang Mai Zoo
Date: 13 – 16 April 2023
Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand, which is home to a wide variety wildlife, is one of the most popular destinations for families. During this Songkran holiday, Chiang Mai Zoo organizes many Songkran activities to welcome tourists. You will be able to enjoy time at Chiang Mai Zoo, visit many adorable animals such as pandas, zebras, elephants, or penguins, and have fun at Chiang Mai Zoo Kid Water Park. Not only this, there are activities to cool down for tourists to experience the cold weather of minus 10 degrees and enjoy the snow city atmosphere inside "Snow Buddy Winter Land". At the Mini Zoo area, you will be able to listen to traditional music in a shady atmosphere in the garden, see the cuteness of various animals, join games at the fun game booth and have a delicious meal from the famous food truck restaurants. You can also join many traditional activities such as sprinkling water onto Buddha images to receive blessing, sand pagodas at Wat Ku Din Khao for good fortune, water pouring to elderly.
Chiang Mai Zoo is offering a special promotion price only during this Songkran holiday between 13-16 April 2023 for 295 THB.
6. Temples in Chiangmai
If you want to experience Songkran festival in the local Thai way, it is best to visit one of the top temples in Chiang Mai. In general, locals start celebrating Songkran by pouring water on the Buddha image, receiving blessings from the monks, and building a sand pagoda at the temple as a good beginning of Thai New Year.
Wat Phra Singh Temple
Wat Pra Singh, located in the heart of the old city at the end of Rachadamnoen Road, is the second most important temple in Chiang Mai, after Wat Phra Doi Suthep. There will be enshrinement ceremony of Phra Phuttha Sihing on Bussabok (Tradional Buddha Throne) and Buddha Images procession on 13 Apr 2023. Wat Phra Singh also arranges a place to play water battles in front of the temple as well.
Wat Chedi Luang Temple
Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai, once home to the Emerald Buddha, houses a magnificent pagoda. There will be a pouring water ceremony and coving the Maha Chedi in the morning of 15 Apr 2023.
Wat Chiang Man Temple
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai, built by the city's founder in the 13th century. It houses two statues of Buddha, Phra Setangkamanee (Phra Kaew Khao) and Phra Sila, which will be bathed during the ceremony on 12 April 2023. At Wat Chiang Man, there will also be Lanna Folk Art and Cultural Show.
7. Lanna Rueng Poi
Date: 11 – 17 April 2023
Central Chiang Mai Shopping Center organizes "Lanna Rueng Poi" - Thailand's Songkran festival 2023 that will be packed with activities, entertainment and cultural arts of the northern people for the whole family. You can participate in the cultural tradition of Songkran and activities to promote prosperity all in one place:
Lanna Chuen: Enjoy great entertainment by bathing the Buddha image that is invaluable to Chiang Mai city and take pictures at a Lanna-style photo studio
Lanna Chom: listen to classical Lanna style jazz music, sip Lanna Mocktails and mix up the atmosphere in the middle of a giant dok koon tree, auspicious tree of Songkran Festival
SONGKRAN FUN FEST 2023: Dance to the max with top 5 Thai artists - NUM KALA, JOEY PHUWASIT, POTATO, F.HERO, and BODYSLAM who will take everyone to have fun together without stopping for 3 days on 13-16 Apr 2023 from 16:00 to 24:00
Lanna Shop: Try the best of hard-to-find northern foods that should not be missed such as Nam Prik Ong Pizza, Fried Pork with Ma Kwaen Balls, Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao Chiang Rai, and Khao Kan Jin
8. Pool Party at Meliá Chiang Mai
Date: 13 April 2023
Meliá Chiang Mai will host a pool party on April 13 to mark Songkran, featuring five DJs from entertainers Elevate CNX, beverage promotions, a barbecue, lucky draw and more. The Songkran Festival Pool Party will be staged from 14:00-21:00 at the urban hotel’s picture-perfect swimming pool on the first floor above the lobby. Executive chef Suksant Chutinthratip (Billy) and his team will serve a selection of grilled items alongside truffle popcorn and freshly made churros with chocolate sauce. Priced at THB 800 net per person inclusive of a glass of beer or mixer shots and entry in the lucky draw, the party is open to anyone over the age of 20.
Tips for the best Songkran experience
Make sure to carry your essentials like wallet and smartphone in waterproof bags to avoid any damage or leave all valuables at your hotel.
Try to wear easy-to-dry clothes.
Locals often wear brightly colored, flowery shirts, the so called "Songkran shirts" to celebrate. You will find many Songkran shirts available for cheap price.
Watch out for pickpockets as the Songkran water fight zones are definitely crowded.
For more information about Songkran celebration check our Guide to Songkran Festival Celebration
If you will be visiting another part of Thailand during Songkran, check: Where to Celebrate Songkran in Thailand
Find out where Bangkok's best Songkran Festival celebration spots are: Where to Celebrate Songkran in Bangkok