Lao, Cambodian, and Burmese celebrate traditional new year in mid-April starting from the 13th to the 16th.
The Water Festival and Blessing Ceremony bring together large crowds and are accompanied by lively street celebrations. During this time, most restaurants and businesses are closed to allow their employees time to spend with their families. It is a good opportunity to get out of the city and check out the countryside, where you’ll ﬁnd lots of celebrations and community gatherings. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited to take part. The three countries refer to their new year as follows: Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei in Cambodia, Songkran in Laos and Thingyan in Myanmar.
There are interesting traditions spreading over three days, including: presenting offerings at pagodas, paying respect to the deceased, and cleansing bathing ceremonies for the coming year.
Cambodia. Best place to celebrate Bon Chol Chhnam Themei?
Siem Reap offers one of the best celebrations in Cambodia, with Pub Street and the surrounding alleys a hive of activity. Travelers can join the Angkor Sankranta festival: three jam-packed days of music, food, games, ceremonies and new year-related fun.
Laos. How to celebrate like a Laotian?
In Laos, the best place to be during this time is Luang Prabang, where the streets are brought to life with colourful processions and parties. A revered image of Prabang Buddha is paraded through the streets on a golden horse, led by the red-faced mythical creatures of Pou Gneu and Gna Gneu, to Wat May.
Sand stupas decorated with offerings and colourful flags to ward off evil spirits are built on the banks of the Mekong River.
In the capital, Vientiane, expect to find bright parades, lively water fights and plenty of fun. Pha That Luang stupa is a hive of activity as locals flock to pour scented water over Buddha statues surrounded by jasmine garlands, incense and marigolds.
Throughout the day, a mixture of locals and tourists gather to hurl water at each other and dance to music that blasts into the evening.
Myanmar. Mingalar hnit thit ba!!!
Yangon and Mandalay should be on your list if you are planning a trip to Myanmar during Thingyan celebrations. On the roads there usually are traditional dance and music. Street stalls sell snacks and refreshments, and crowds are drenched with water from buckets and hosepipes.
While there is a sense of merriment in the air, Myanmar is a conservative country and the water festival celebrations are much more traditional than other countries with the same traditions.