04/11/2014 03:28 EDT | Updated 04/11/2014 03:59 EDT

Songkran 2014: When Does Thailand's New Year Festival Start? (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

If you've ever doubted how serious Thailand handles their water fights, you need to stop by during Songkran.

Fire fighters soak the crowd with their fire hoses during Songkran, Thailand's New Year festival on Silom road.

For locals, Songkran is known as Thai New Year. It also marks the end of the country's dry season and welcomes the start of the rainy season. For everyone else, it's a national holiday and this year it runs from April 13-15. It's the country's longest holiday according to the festival's official website with festivities lasting as long as a week in cities like Chang Mai.

A Thai woman on a motorcycle taxi participates in a waterfight during the Songkran water festival on April 14, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The holiday is steeped in Buddhist traditions and is supposed to give Thais a moment to reflect spirituality and pay respect to their elders. As a result, you'll see lots of people making their ways to local temples to pray and cleaning Buddhist figurines and statues in order to bring good luck for the coming year.

A woman pours water over a Buddha statue at the Songkran and Thai Food Festival held at Wat Buddharangs.

But that's only part of the festival. The main attraction tourists will likely witness is the massive water fights. During this part, everyone is a fair game for a soaking either by hose, water gun or by buckets filled with ice-cold water. The water fights are meant to symbolize the cleansing and rejuvenation of the body.

A foreigner gets soaked by a big splash of water during Songkran, Thailand's New Year festival on Silom road.

Tourists are especially targeted by locals so it's best to bring clothes you don't mind getting wet in. Cameras and electronics will also need to be stashed safety as no one is really safe from a drive-by-soaking. Traveller's looking for a good city to take part in Songkran can't go wrong with a trip to Chang Mai.

Tourists (L) splash water at elephants as people celebrate ahead of the Songkran Festival for the Thai New Year with water battles in Ayutthaya province on April 9, 2014.

It's regarded as the premier spot, trumping cities like Bangkok and Phuket for fun. That's partially do to the moat located in the Old City, an area dotted with ancient Buddhist temples according to Fest3000.

A Thai and a foreigner both get attacked with buckets of water on the third day of Songkran, the Thai new year or 'water festival'

Can't make it to Thailand this year? Not to worry, smaller and more localized versions of Songkran are also scheduled to take place in Cambodia, Laos, Burma and parts of southern China, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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