Thailand’s Songkran festival, also known as the largest water fight on Earth is well under way in the streets of Thailand this week! The festival runs from the 13th-15th April to celebrate Thailand’s New Year (following the Buddist/Hindu solar calendar.) The 3 day festival is also celebrated in other South East Asian countries such as Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The water fight stems from traditional water pouring, used to ‘wash away sins’ and to start a fresh in the New Year which has turned into a 3 day non stop water fight- Amazing!

Thailand's Songkran Festival

Ultimate travel ledge, Becca went to Chiang Mai (Thailand’s wildest water fight!) in northern Thailand to celebrate Songkran festival. She tells us a bit about her experience and shares her top tips on how to survive Songkran!

“Songkran was literally the best weekend of my whole trip! I celebrated in Chiang Mai and stayed at Soho Hostel which is right in the middle of it all. I arrived in Chiang Mai the day before and the festivities had already begun early. I remember having to get trashbags and cover our backpacks to avoid the water. We also had to take side streets to the hostel just to avoid the mayhem – it was so busy! The festival begins at around 8am every morning and lasts pretty much as long as the people can! There’s lots of music and Changs (Thai beers) being passed around. There are also buckets set up around town as “refilling” stations where you can refill your weapon of choice! 😉 The best part about it is that everyone is celebrating – locals and tourists of all ages! The atmosphere is amazing! It’s as if everyone is reliving their childhood and having the best time- not one frown around! Luckily it’s the hottest time of the year too so its nice to cool off a bit getting shot at with ice cold water! If you’re in Thailand, don’t miss out on Songkran and make sure to check out my top tips (below!)”

Invest in a good water gun

My personal favourite…the turtle backpack!

Invest in a good water gun backpack during Songkran

Don’t wear white

Because there’s a time and a place for wet t-shirt competitions…and Songkran isn’t it!

Don't wear white to Songkran

Waterproof pouch

Keep your valuables safe in a waterproof pouch!

Thailand's Songkran Festival


Protect your peepers…plus they look cool.

Wear goggles to protect your eyes during Songkran

Make friends with the locals

There’s no better way to celebrate a national festival than with the locals – you never know who you’ll meet!

Chill with the locals during Songkran

Thinking of travelling to Thailand? Check out our 11 day Ultimate Thailand tour and get in touch for help planning your trip!

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The famous Full Moon Party takes place every month (normally the night before the actual full moon) on Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan, Thailand It’s safe to say that it’s one of the biggest beach raves in the world with between 10,000 and 30,000 people attending every month so it’s not surprising that it can get a little bit mental! The Full Moon Party could either be the best night of your life or one you’d rather forget! Have a read through our ‘what not to do’s’  to ensure your Full Moon Party is a night to remember…for all the right reasons!

Turn up with no plans

Dragging your backpack up & down the beach the day before the full moon party looking for accommodation will definitely be the highlight of your trip. If it’s a hot humid day, it’ll be even more memorable!

On a serious note: Be prepared. Pre book your accommodation on the island in advance as everywhere WILL be fully booked by the time the Full Moon Party comes around. I’d recommend getting there at least 1 week before the party kicks off to make sure you’ve got somewhere to stay! If you’re doing Ultimate Thailand, your nights in Koh Phangan will be pre-booked and any extra nights can be booked through us in advance so you can kick back and enjoy the party!! Some people prefer to stay on Koh Samui and take a boat over to Haad Rin for the party. If you want to do this, just make sure you organise a good boat to take you over & back to Koh Samui after the party. Some illegal boats operate in the area & they’re not safe.

Who needs money anyway?

Take all of your most valuable belongings out with you. Stuff all of your money and your passport in your bra or pants & shove your phone, camera, keys & other valuables in your pockets. It’s not like you’ll be dancing all night so losing your stuff isn’t likely and there are lots of friendly locals who love spending their time reuniting people with their lost/stolen belongings.

On a serious note: Don’t take anything to the full moon party that you don’t mind losing. There will be thieves floating about just waiting for the right opportunity to nab your phone/camera/money and things left on you & in your pockets can easily get lost in the sand. I’d recommend taking enough cash to last you for the night and if you want to, your camera. Lanyards are a great way of carrying your camera around so you won’t lose it! Leave your belongings where you’re staying, preferably in a padlocked bag. If your hostel has a safe, use it or leave your passport & key behind reception. Just grab a receipt from reception so you’ve got proof you left it there. Having a copy of your passport saved on a USB is also a good idea.

Get f****d up!

Getting tricked by undercover Thai police selling you drugs is always fun. Spending 6 months in a Thai prison looks like a laugh too!

On a serious note: Don’t take drugs in Thailand…just don’t. Drugs are illegal and if you’re caught you could be spending your gap year or longer in a prison cell. There are plenty of others ways to enjoy yourself at the Full Moon party!

Wear black & grey

Who can be bothered to get dressed up for the biggest beach rave in the world? Wear black, a thick comfy jumper and blend in with the crowd.

On a serious note: It’s cheaper to buy your own face paints from a local shop than paying to get it painted at the Full Moon Party. You’ll also be able to pick up some Full Moon fluro gear from pretty much every shop in Koh Phangan!

Go skinny dipping at night

Swimming in the ocean at night is fun…you’re on holiday right!? Thinking of going for a dip…well why the devil not?! The water is clean, warm and will seem even more fun after a few drinks!

On a serious note: It’s not a good idea to go for a dip at the Full Moon Party. Not only do people use the ocean to ‘ahem’ relieve themselves instead of queuing for the loo and for a bit of late night hanky panky, but swimming in the dark when you’re pissed on buckets is dangerous and a little bit silly, especially if you’re alone. Save your skinny dips for another night.

Go with the flow

Backpacking is all about going with the flow and not preparing for anything. The best thing to do when planning your trip to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party is to not plan anything! Don’t worry about finding out where the nearest medical centres are – there will be someone there to help you if you need it at the time!

On a serious note: Be prepared. Find out where the nearest medical centres are before you start to party as you never know what could happen. Most likely, you’ll have a great night and nothing will go wrong but just in case, it’s good to know where you can find help if you or someone you know needs it. Bear in mind that not all of the police you see will have your best interests at heart but tourist police (wearing white bibs) are there to help and point you in the right direction so keep an eye out for them too! It’s also a good idea to keep some change handy for toilet breaks – approx. 15 baht in most bars. If you’re travelling with mates, try to stick together. When you’re walking through a crowd, keep a hand in the air and have a hand signal ready so your mates know where you are & can follow you. It might seem a bit intense but if you lose them you’ll struggle to find them again without your trusty signal! 😉

Go mad on the buckets!

The buckets of alcohol sold at the Full Moon Party are such a rip off. They’ve barely got any alcohol in so you’ll need to buy quite a few to get you in the mood!

On a serious note: Alcohol buckets are strong! They contain a bottle of liquor that has an alcohol content of between 60-95% so not your average Smirnoff vodka or JD! Also, Thailand has it’s very own version of Red Bull (M-150) which will keep you dancing for hours. Mixed together it can be a bit of a lethal concoction so enjoy the buckets but share them with your mates (you won’t need a lot!) and take it easy. Start on the beers (or waters!!) and wait until midnight to start drinking buckets. That way you might actually make the sunrise!

Hell no H2O!

Drinking water at the Full Moon Party? But, I’m a hardcore raver and it’s all about the buckets tonight! Also, aren’t hangovers great?!

On a serious note: Without sounding like a concerned mum, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the night. You’ll be partying for 12 hours straight in the heat, and you’ll enjoy the night more if you can remember it…not to mention your hangover won’t be as bad the next win!

Check out our Infographic for more info on the Full Moon Party:

Thailand Full Moon Party Infographic

Have an amazing time and stay safe! Been to a Thailand full moon party? Share you story with us in the comments below. Got any cool FMP pics? Tag #myultimatemoment on Instagram to share them with us!

Interested in travelling to Thailand for the Full Moon Party? Check out the Full Moon dates for 2015 here and check out our 10 day Ultimate Thailand tour.

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Travelling SE Asia is a rite of passage for any backpacker and rightly so! It’s an incredible place, with so many amazing things to do and see! But … you wouldn’t go to London and say you’ve seen England would you? Well, you can’t say you’ve truly seen SE Asia until you been to Vietnam!

Although growing in popularity, backpacking in Vietnam is still not very high on a lot of young travellers’ agenda. Which is a shame, because it is an amazing country! It may not be rich in wealth, but it is rich with culture, has lots of history and is home to potentially some of the nicest people you will meet on your Ultimate quest to tick off as many countries as possible!

This is exactly why we made Vietnam our next Ultimate adventure! If you don’t know by now, our Ultimate Vietnam tour kicks off in January 2015 and we are SO excited for it to start!!

When it comes to launching new tours, we’re very thorough with our research … a lot of hard work goes in to finding the best spots to take you, the best things to see and do etc. After all, it has to be the ULTIMATE tour of Vietnam right?!

So earlier this year, two of our lovely Travel crew were shipped off to SE Asia to check it all out and put something together that will be an awesome experience for everyone that joins us.

The stories they came back with were amazing! Here’s a little snippet of what they thought about their time in Vietnam …

What was your favourite part of Vietnam and why?

Ultimate Hanoi

Dirk: The island stay in Lan Ha Bay, which is part of Halong Bay, was stunning! We cruised through a maze of little islands, stayed on a stunning beach, ate amazing food and saw some incredible sunsets!

Karin:  I loved the authenticity of Hanoi … it feels like a step back in time. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is so different to any place that I’ve ever been before! Life is out on the streets all day and all night. People cook on the streets, people eat on the streets. We sat at little plastic tables, on tiny plastic chairs and drank beer from kegs with the locals.

Was there anything about Vietnam that surprised you?

Dirk: The coffee was crazy good! Also, despite tourism being such a big part of their economy, Vietnamese people live their own lives and culture. Ho Chi Minh is becoming more westernised but the north of Vietnam is still authentically Vietnamese.

Karin: I had no idea that the Vietnamese beaches and underwater world were so stunning! Pristine white beaches and Nha Trang is awesome for snorkelling!

What’s your favourite part of the tour and why?

Da Lat – Where else can you abseil down a waterfall in the middle of a rainforest?!

Dirk: Lan Ha Bay is a definite highlight! But I think the awesome buzz of Hanoi and the chilled out vibes you find in Hoi An will be popular with a lot of people who join us!

Karin: I think everything we do on the tour is amazing but Halong Bay and Da Lat are definite highlights for me! Halong Bay is incredibly beautiful and serene (and has the best food!!) I loved Da Lat because it was the first time I have ever abseiled down waterfalls in the middle of a rain forest – there’s not many places you can do that and I’ll never forget it!

Is there anything that isn’t on the tour that you would recommend people do?

Dirk: Trekking in Sapa will blow your mind! It’s not just about picturesque mountain scenery and rice fields, but also seeing how local Vietnamese people make a living, which makes you appreciate just how privileged your own life actually is.

Karin: Sapa for sure! It has the most amazing scenery and you get an awesome cultural experience! Comfortable shoes are a must as the trip involves a lot of hiking and climbing – it’s so worth it for the views!!

What’s your top tip for travelling Vietnam?

Dirk: Learn a few Vietnamese phrases, be curious and don’t be shy to mingle with the locals.

Karin: Do it with Ultimate Vietnam, we’ll show you the best places and make sure you have the most fun! :0)

Join us on Ultimate Vietnam!