Pattaya Marks a Wild Songkran 2024, But Night Time Water Play Annoys Many

PATTAYA- The renowned Walking Street of Pattaya City was transformed into a vibrant arena of joy as both Thai and international tourists gathered to celebrate the official commencement of the Songkran Festival 2024. The festive night was marked by an outpouring of visitors armed with water guns, engaging in wild water play that continued throughout the evening until the very early hours of Sunday morning, April 14th.

As the first official national day of Thailand’s most cherished water festival unfolded, Pol. Lt. Col. Piyapong Ensarn, Inspector General of Tourist Police Station 4, Subdivision 2, Tourist Police Division 1, led a contingent of tourist police officers and volunteers. Their mission was to ensure the safety and security of the revelers, with a focus on preventing altercations and safeguarding against any instances of sexual assault.

The city’s entertainment zones, including Soi Buakhao, Soi 6-8, Pattaya Beach Road, and Walking Street, witnessed a surge of activity as tourists flocked to these areas to partake in the festivities. The influx of visitors contributed to a palpable increase in the city’s liveliness, with many foreign tourists and local Thais, especially younger people, expressing their enthusiasm for the event.

Not everyone is happy, however. In Pattaya, the festival started on some sois as early as April 9th and will continue until the final day on April 19th, known as Wan Lai, in a wild final hurrah that will see hundreds of thousands of revelers. Besides the length of the festival, many expat residents are peeved that the former “unwritten rule” of stopping water play at night (A Pattaya rule, notes TPN, as in Patong and Bangkok late night parties had been standard for some time) appears to have ended since last year. Police have stated previously that ending water play at night, although discouraged, isn’t a law, especially in entertainment zones.

According to the Thai Lawyer’s Council, hitting someone with water that doesn’t want to be hit can be against the law, but would require some rather expensive and time-consuming legal steps to be taken.

Meanwhile, many restaurant owners and business owners who have indoor businesses or retail locations have pleaded for people to stop playing water at night, saying it is hurting ordinary dinner traffic and causing people to stop going out altogether. Many have called for a “truce” in the water wars around 6-7PM nightly when the sun sets. However, that seems unlikely without any sort of enforcement.

Looking ahead, Pattaya City has organized its Songkran celebrations into two distinct zones. Na Kluea Flow Day is scheduled for April 18, 2024, while Pattaya City Flow Day will take place on April 19, 2024. On these designated days, residents and tourists alike are expected to immerse themselves in the spirit of Songkran, engaging in water play across the city.

The Songkran Festival, also referred to as the Thai New Year, is a time of renewal and purification. The water play symbolizes the washing away of the past year’s misfortunes and the welcoming of a fresh start. The festival is incredibly polarizing, attracting tourists from all around the world, but also a pain to many of the city’s permanent expat residents.

Adam Judd
Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of TPN Media since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America, but has also lived in Dallas, Sarasota, and Portsmouth. His background is in retail sales, HR, and operations management, and has written about news and Thailand for many years. He has lived in Pattaya for over nine years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail About Us: Contact Us: