Lonely Planet Writer

Airbnb wants to help you celebrate Songkran in Thailand

If you’re heading to Thailand in April to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year festival of Songkran – or maybe just partake in the massive water fight that goes along with it – Airbnb wants to help make your experience more cultural.

Tatiya brings you through traditional cultural practices, including pouring scented water over Buddhist statues. Image by Airbnb

As the home rental site aims to do more than just help book your stay, Airbnb has launched new experiences for Songkran in the month leading up to the festival, which runs from 13 to 16 April. While many travellers head to spots like Bangkok for the raucous water fights that accompany the Buddhist festival, there are plenty of other ways to mark the occasion.

Airbnb reports that with more travellers using its platform in Thailand during Songkran this year, it has decided to offer the unique experiences to help “locals and travellers connect and immerse themselves in activities that are authentically Songkran”.

Learn about local Songkran delicacies. Image by Airbnb

Songkran is a time when people pay their respects and gratitude to elders, as well as visit temples for offerings and prayers, which includes pouring water over Buddhist statues for luck and prosperity. Some of the experiences travellers can take part in is learning from hosts like Tatiya, who will teach them about traditional cultural practices, including pouring scented water over Buddhist statues and dressing up with Din-So-Pong (traditional mud-based sunblock), flower garlands and traditional fabric.

Ajarn Neng will conduct both sacred tattoo ritual and ‘Rot Nam Dam Hua’ ceremony. Image by Airbnb

Or, book what Airbnb calls a “social impact experience”, where 100% of the profits go to non-profit organizations. One example is Courageous Kitchen, where guests can learn about Songkran outside the main cities and learn about local Northeastern Thai delicacies. Or, head to a sacred tattoo ritual and ‘Rot Nam Dam Hua’ ceremony to learn about the way that Thai people express respect to elders, teachers and masters.

Learn more about how to celebrate Songkran in Chiang Mai this year.