Bangkok Nightlife: Christmas versus Songkran?

I had this question by email: “How is Bangkok Nightlife during Christmas?” And we had this forum topic recently: “Should I go to Bangkok for Songkran?“.
Christmas and Songkran are with no doubt two of the most festive moments of the year in Thailand, but is it a good idea to come and enjoy Bangkok’s nightlife then?

Here is what you need to know:

- Songkran, the water festival, is celebrated every year on April 13, 14 and 15. If all 3 days are week days, as it will be the case in 2011, then the whole week is very slow in term of business activity. It is the equivalent of the Christmas-to-New-Year week in the West.

Songkran is a very festive celebration with the main activity during the whole week being to throw buckets of water and chalk at each other. If you are in a mood for this kind of fun, then you will enjoy it. The best place to get crazy is Kao San Road, where tons of foreigners join the Thai crowd to fight with water pistols and other “water weapons”, but Silom, Sukhumvit soi 4 and Soi Cowboy are also popular spots for foreigners, and not only at night.

Bangkokians and Expat who wish a quieter celebration tend to leave Bangkok and travel in Thailand and in neighbor countries, therefore hotels are far from being full and good rates can be found.

But:

- if you don’t want to get wet, you are in for a big disappointment. Day and night.
- it’s the hottest time of the year and Bangkok weather is very hot and humid at this time.
- Songkran is also a family event: many girls go back to their home and family. Bars are not as full as during the high season.
- One day it’s fun, two days it’s enough, three days it’s too much!
- If the water battle is your thing, you’d better go to Pattaya or Chiang Mai where Songkran is even crazier.

As a conclusion: Songkran is definitely not the best time to come to Bangkok.

How about Christmas?

- Christmas is not a public holiday in Thailand. Christmas trees and Santa Claus are everywhere, but Thais don’t celebrate Christmas and business goes as usual until the 31st of December, which is a public holiday, as well as the 1st of January of course. This means that few people take long holidays or go to visit their family up country. On the contrary, most Thai people tend to stay in Bangkok and enjoy the Christmas spending frenzy. Especially bar girls!

On the pros side:

- The weather is the best of the year, mild and dry.
- Lots of people, party atmosphere, Christmas mood.
- Girls are asked to stay here and to come to work every day. Bars are full.

On the cons side:

- Hotels are expensive and fully booked.
- Travels to and from Bangkok are very expensive too.
- Barfines are raised on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Popular Night Clubs ask for outrageous entry fees. Restaurant charge a lot for their special menus. Etc.

Christmas is a good time to come to Bangkok, but you’re definitely not going to save money.

Now you know.

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