After a couple of years during the pandemic when the Thai new year celebrations were put on hold, you can be sure that Songkran will return with a vengeance this year. It looks very much like the festivities will start around the 13th of April and will certainly go through until the “official” Pattaya Songkran day, which is the 19th. The return of the madness will bring a mixed reaction I’m sure and the dividing line normally is that the longer you have been here, the less enthusiastic you are. The exodus of some of the Thai population in the city to return to their home villages and celebrate with their families will ensure the shutdown of many businesses and the influx of thousands of holidaymakers who will arrive with the express purpose of drinking as much as possible whilst throwing water over everyone in sight on the streets of the city will have the long term expats running for cover, both figuratively and literally!
The major attraction over the holiday is the massive music festival, Rolling Loud, being held at the new “Legend Siam” attraction in Na Jomtien. This is probably the biggest event ever put together in Thailand and even an old man like myself has heard of the headliners. I have no idea what size the crowds will be but a minimum of 20,000 plus revellers is expected, with the possibility of an actual figure some way North of that. This is the first time the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival has ventured into Asia after the cancellation of the original event in Hong Kong due to the pandemic in 2019. This really is some logistical task that the authorities in Pattaya have taken on and it will be interesting to see how they cope and what effect that will have on any future plans to bring major events to Pattaya, and indeed Thailand. This is not a festival where people will be attending and staying at the site, so we have the prospect of not only a massive influx of people seeking accommodation for the three days but those same people travelling back to that accommodation, probably in the early hours of the morning. It’s hard to imagine how the city’s transport infrastructure will cope with such a task, especially given the fact that Pattaya will be extremely busy with Songkran revellers anyway.
I have seen many Songkran festivals in Pattaya over the years but I don’t think anybody knows what to expect this time. Hopefully the powers that be are not in the same position and plans are in place to at least make sure the city doesn’t come to a standstill. Perhaps the more cynical amongst you may think that things may not go too well, after some of the previous efforts by the authorities. I couldn’t possibly comment but we can hope for the best.
Whatever your thoughts on the holiday, if you’re staying in Pattaya for the duration expect a madhouse on the streets and get some provisions in to see you through. Good luck everyone!