Songkran…love it or loath it?
You are celebrating the moving or passing into a new year, it’s been the case for decades. And not exclusive to Thailand, but water is water and you will get soaked! Despite the ritual ‘pouring on water’, Songkran remains the biggest water fight ever, with Thais and visitor’s actively encouraged to take part. In some cases there is no choice!
Try Chiang Mai if you have the energy and changes of clothing, as it currently holds the longevity record for a water gun scrap…sounds fun. Does it?
Wearing your ‘best’ is not a bright idea, carrying your phone is a no-no, wearing nothing is frowned upon. But if you simply want to unleash your harbored tensions on an unknown foe, go ahead…made my day! It’s crazy and no one is exempt.
The most memorable ‘worst’ experience I’ve encountered is trying to stay dry and afloat in a tuk-tuk between the bus station and train station in Khon Kaen (KK) a few years ago. I was returning to Bangkok from the best ‘wet fest’ ever in a village in Kalasin. Mistake. Even the tuk-tuk captain knew this would end badly. He took me the pretty route, avoiding absolutely nobody who had a weapon. He parked his ark up, and got out! Me, my rucksack, and my best boxer’s were thrown to the werewolves of KK! I came a futile last in the overall points scoring, a recount would have been absurd, but I survived despite my chagrin. Someone applauded, they always do!
The KK experience was what it was! The previous few days had been a perfect example of traditional water and flour spirituality, families welcoming me and my mate, parties each day and a real sense of what Songkran means in so much as washing away the sins of the previous year. I’ll go again this year, the sinbin needs emptying, and beats the raucous hydro frenzy in Bangkok.
Bangkok. Contrasting with Isaan and beyond, Bangkok is just crazy. The purpose of the festival is somewhere in there, but essentially it’s a fun-filled, alcohol induced, orgy of partying and unforgiving torment. Silom road is always over full, and you simply cannot avoid the baptism. Siam area is much the same, but regardless, it’s a festival of unrelenting dousing and the odd scrap…the tension can be felt, macho and co are always on show, girls love it, and if you’ve got a bigger (whatever) one, it doesn’t cut any ice, you’re doomed to a near watery grave of spiritual enlightenment.
Love it or loath it, it’s coming to a Soi near you very soon. At least people can hear you scream!