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Songkran Festival 2023: Embracing Tradition with Safety Amid Thailand’s Seven Dangerous Days

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As the vibrant hues of the Songkran festival prepare to paint the streets of Bangkok, a dazzling array of water guns becomes the centerpiece of anticipation in Sampeng—Bangkok’s bustling wholesale hub. Amidst the fervent preparations, a scene unfolds: a woman, with determination in her eyes, zeroes in on her weapon of choice. She is not alone in her endeavors; the shop is abuzz with eager festival-goers, all vying for the perfect aquatic armament to elevate their Songkran experience. Shopkeepers can barely keep up with the demand, as water guns assert their dominance as the quintessential festival accessory.

But beyond the festive frenzy, a different journey begins. Thais nationwide are embarking on their annual pilgrimage, making their way to their hometowns with hearts full of anticipation for the Songkran holiday. Yet, this exodus is shadowed by a growing concern among road safety advocates. The notorious “seven dangerous days” of travel—a term that has become synonymous with the surge in road accidents during the Songkran period—have commenced. Stretching from today until April 17, this period is marked by heightened vigilance on the roads.

In a determined effort to curtail the annual spike in accidents, Pol Lt Gen Kornchai Klayklueng, an assistant national police chief, has announced the Royal Thai Police’s (RTP) commitment to reducing road mishaps by 5% during these critical days. With an anticipated 3.1% increase in road traffic compared to last year, the challenges are formidable, especially with the travel peaks expected on Friday and Saturday for departures from Bangkok, and April 16-17 for the return journey.

To bolster safety measures and enforcement, the RTP has inaugurated an Accident Control Operation Centre specifically for this year’s Songkran festivities. Additionally, with the expected traffic snarls, Pol Lt Gen Kornchai has a word of advice for the eco-friendly cohort using electric vehicles: ensure your vehicle is fully charged to avoid the inconvenience of a drained battery amidst the chaos. To assist, the Highway Police has orchestrated a network of routes lined with electric vehicle charging stations, ensuring a smoother journey for the eco-conscious traveler.

Yet, as the “seven dangerous days” inch closer, concerns escalate. Nikorn Jamnong, director of the Chartthaipattana Party and president of the People’s Safety Foundation, highlights a worrying trend—an uptick in accidents even before the official hazardous period kicks in. With 60 fatalities reported on Wednesday, doubling the count from the previous year, and motorcyclists accounting for the majority of these tragedies, the urgency for comprehensive road safety measures becomes apparent.

Moreover, with an alarming tally of 4,207 road fatalities in just the first quarter of this year, the call for action extends beyond the Songkran holidays. Prommin Kantiya, director of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s Accident Prevention Network, echoes this sentiment. He notes that with many opting to extend their Songkran break until April 21, the implications for road safety are significant, casting a shadow over the nation’s festive spirit.

In the end, as Thailand drenches itself in the water-splashing merriment of Songkran, the imperative to navigate the joys and perils of the holiday becomes a collective endeavor. From choosing the perfect water gun in the heart of Bangkok’s markets to ensuring a safe journey home, the spirit of Songkran encapsulates not just a festival, but a journey—a journey punctuated with laughter, familial reunions, and a palpable sense of community. As the nation comes together to celebrate, the hope is that this Songkran will not only be remembered for its festivities but also for a heightened sense of responsibility and safety on the roads, ensuring that the holiday spirit remains untarnished by tragedy.


  1. Thaiguy101 April 11, 2024

    The focus on buying water guns and partying is distracting from the real issue here: road safety. Every year, we see the same sad news of accidents and deaths. When will people start taking this seriously?

    • FestivalLover April 11, 2024

      You’re missing the point of Songkran. It’s a time for fun and tradition. These accidents are unfortunate, but they shouldn’t stop us from celebrating our culture.

      • RoadSafetyAdvocate April 11, 2024

        Culture and safety can coexist. There’s no reason we can’t enjoy Songkran and also be mindful of how we’re getting around. It’s about making better choices, like not drink-driving.

      • Thaiguy101 April 11, 2024

        Exactly what RoadSafetyAdvocate said. Celebrate, but don’t turn a blind eye to the dangers. The high accident rates during this period can’t just be brushed off as ‘part of the celebration.’

    • ElectricAvenue April 11, 2024

      I think it’s great that they’re setting up charging stations for electric vehicles. At least that’s a step in the right direction for eco-conscious travelers.

      • TechSkeptic April 11, 2024

        Charging stations are good and all, but they won’t solve the root problem of reckless driving. We need better enforcement of road rules, not just more infrastructure.

  2. ExpatriateJoe April 11, 2024

    This will be my first Songkran festival in Thailand. Super excited but also a bit worried about the traffic. Any tips for staying safe?

    • BangkokBorn April 11, 2024

      Avoid the roads if you can during the peak travel days. If you’re in Bangkok, the BTS or MRT are your best bets. And if you’re traveling, make sure your accommodations are booked in advance!

      • TravelGuru April 11, 2024

        Also, wear a helmet if you’re on a bike and try to stay sober if you’re driving. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many accidents happen because of neglecting these basics.

    • SafetyFirst April 11, 2024

      Remember, it’s not just about you staying safe, but also about keeping others safe. Drive responsibly and be aware of your surroundings.

  3. DataDriven April 11, 2024

    4,207 road fatalities in just the first quarter is a staggering number. Why aren’t more effective policies being put in place to address this?

    • SkepticalCitizen April 11, 2024

      Because it’s easier to implement short-term solutions, like adding charging stations, than to tackle the systemic issues of road safety and driver education.

      • PolicyPundit April 11, 2024

        It’s not just about policy. Community involvement and cultural change are also needed. We can’t just legislate our way out of this; people need to internalize the importance of road safety.

  4. OldTimer April 11, 2024

    I remember a time when Songkran was more about tradition than tourism and traffic. It’s sad to see it overshadowed by these issues.

    • ModernMind April 11, 2024

      Times change, OldTimer. We can’t stop progress, but we can learn to adapt and overcome the challenges it brings.

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