Airbnb releases first-ever Creative Guide to Bangkok ahead of Songkran

Songkran weekend is just around the corner! With the festival, arguably Thailand’s biggest, gaining more and more popularity over the years, more Filipinos have also been traveling to the Kingdom to join in on the fun.

To help you make the most out of your Songkran getaway while getting to know the Thai capital a bit more, Airbnb, together with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, came up with the first Airbnb Creative Guide to Bangkok.

The first edition hopes to drum up the excitement for the upcoming Songkran festivities.
Photo from Airbnb

The guide is aligned with the Thai government’s vision to continue promoting a more local, creative, and immersive form of travel in Bangkok, one that takes visitors to hidden gems not featured in your usual guides.

What is Songkran?

But first, what is the essence of Songkran, also called the Thai New Year or the Water Festival, beyond the rowdy street water fights?

According to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage website, Songkran marks the traditional start of the new year in Thailand. It occurs in mid-April after the rice harvest and is a time when people reunite with their families and pay their respects to older adults, ancestors, and sacred Buddha images. 

More than the street water fights, Songkran promotes community cooperation, unity, and forgiveness. Photo from Channel News Asia

Water is of huge significance to the festival, with pouring water symbolizing cleansing, reverence, and good fortune. Other activities include bathing important Buddha images, splashing water on family and friends, folk plays, games, music, and feasting. 

More than the cultural symbolisms, Songkran promotes community cooperation, unity, and forgiveness. It is a time to reunite with family members and strengthen familial bonds. 

What’s inside the guide?

The Airbnb Creative Guide to Bangkok pools together local insights from prominent Thai tastemakers and Airbnb Superhosts. It aims to support creative tourism and enhance Thailand’s soft power, according to an article on The Nation. The first edition also hopes to drum up the excitement for the upcoming Songkran festivities from April 13 to 15.

The guide highlights the four neighborhoods of Talat Noi, Wang Doem, Talat Phlu, and Kudi Chin, zeroing in on what’s hip and cool from street art and local markets to architecture and food.

The guide highlights four lesser known neighborhoods in the Thai capital. Photo from Airbnb

Speaking at the launch and as quoted on The Nation, Bangkok’s Deputy Governor Sanon Wangsrangboon said: “On behalf of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, we’re excited to see Airbnb shining a light on Bangkok’s lesser known creative neighborhoods to travelers around the world, especially ahead of Thailand’s biggest festival Songkran.”

“We hope Airbnb’s Creative Guide to Bangkok will inspire more visitors to these unique neighborhoods, connect with locals and discover what makes each one so special,” she added.

The guide focuses on what’s hip and cool from street art and local markets to architecture and food. Photo from Airbnb

Airbnb’s Creative Guide to Bangkok also features the latest “it” hangouts, local eats, authentic stays, and must-see places when in the number 1 city in Southeast Asia, as per the the inaugural Asia’s Best Awards from Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.

Published in English, Chinese, and Thai, the guide will be distributed across Asia-Pacific, including in Thailand’s key travel corridors of China and India. You can also access the guide here for free.

Southeast Asia’s tourist mecca

New data from Airbnb reveals that Thailand was the most visited destination in Southeast Asia by Airbnb guests worldwide in 2023, with the US ranked as the top origin country followed by China, Germany, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

The capital city remains top of mind for travelers as Bangkok remains the most visited destination in Thailand on Airbnb in 2023, among both international and domestic guests. Group travel amongst Airbnb guests in Thailand in 2023 increased almost 80 percent year-on-year, while solo travel increased by 52 percent in the same period.

Thailand was the most visited destination in Southeast Asia by Airbnb guests worldwide in 2023. Photo by Anantachai Saothong from Unsplash

Thailand is also popular among us Filipinos. According to Visa’s latest Green Shoots Radar Study, Thailand ranks fourth among Pinoy’s top leisure destinations. The online survey was conducted in January among 8,000 respondents in 14 Asia Pacific markets, including 500 consumers in the Philippines.

Thailand ranks fourth among Filipino’s top leisure destinations according to a recent survey by Visa. Photo by Wally Yang from Unsplash

Japan emerged as the top leisure destination with 32% visiting in 2023, followed by Singapore (22%), Hong Kong (21%), and Thailand (18%).

With the Airbnb Creative Guide to Bangkok, you’ll get to see a different side of Bangkok, beyond the gleaming structures of the Grand Palace compound and the shiny malls in Siam and Pratunam. The four neighborhoods featured in the guide will reward you with a truly creative and authentic Bangkok on your next visit to the City of Angels.

The new lifestyle.