I'll be visiting Thailand in early March & again in April 2016, and specifically wanted some advice as to when the Songkran holiday rush will be. On the calendar it states the public holidays are from April 13-15 . My wife and I arrive in Thailand early on the 11th April, and were considering visiting Kaeng Krachan for two nights on the 11th & 12th, then heading somewhere like Huai Kha Khaeng for the following few days, hoping it would be quieter.
If the public holiday officially starts on the 13th, will there likely be a mass exodus from Bangkok on the 12th?! If this is the case we might re-arrange our trip. We could potentially head for Khao Yai for a night on the 11th, then travel further north to spend a few days in Phu Khieo - would this place would be immune to the festivities?!
At the moment the main places we'd like to visit are as follows:
Phu Khieo/Nam Nao
Huai Kha Khaeng
Pang Sida/Thap Lan
All up we'll have 18 days to travel around and our schedule is flexible - any suggestions on places which would be not visited by crowds during Songkran? And how long does the festival last for?
Honestly, from what I remember, Song Kran is not as bad as some of the other national holidays. Maybe more people spend this particular holiday with family and playing with water, and not so much traveling. At least, from what I remember in Khao Yai it is not as extreme as some of the other public holidays. I expect Song Kran could be big around the Phetchaburi river in Kaeng Krachan town, but not sure if the park gets much more busy than on normal weekends. Maybe others on this forum have spend Song kran there...?
Though it will probably not be quiet in any of the parks.
Yes, there will be a mass exodus.
It's a bit hard to predict. Normally I think the 11th is one of the worst days to travel. But this year the 11th is a monday, and perhaps people travel in the weekend on 09 or 10? Still expect long traffic jams on the few days prior the official dates.
And around 16 - 17 it will be just as bad only opposite direction, back to Bangkok.
I would guess the road North, so to Huai Kha Khaeng, might be the most quiet during these days.
In previous years I know it has taken people about 7 hours to get to Khao Yai. Normally it should be 2.5-3 hrs.
Of all the parks in your list, I guess Pangsida, Huai Kha Khaeng and Phu Khieo will be the most quiet, just as usual.
It was busy last night in Pangsida. Busy for Pangsida standards, probably 5 or 6 cars at the camp ground, haha.
But seriously; rather than Huai Kha Khaeng try Huai Mae Dee which is in the same sanctuary but farther south with the access from Bahn Rai it is visited by very few people and has a good camping area as well a couple of places to rent. No phone, no food, no pets as the song says.
It is the only place where there are wild water buffalo although you are very unlikely to see one, there is good birdlife and I have seen more hornbill there than anywhere else I have been except Koh Chang Island off Ranong, mostly Pied but I have seen a Great.
The other place where there should be no people I have covered in another topic.
Incidentally We have never been charged for either of these places.