Today is the last day of the Thai holiday, Songkran, which is a celebration of the Thai New Year. Although it is celebrated throughout Thailand, it is particularly huge in Chiang Mai and is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. The holiday marks the beginning of summer and began as a way to celebrate the new year by visiting temples and splashing or pouring water on the Buddha and each other, but it has since turned into much more.
Songkran is Now The World’s Biggest Water Fight
Of course we’ve read about Songkran and we knew we were going to get wet, but we didn’t realize how fast, to what extent, and for how long we were going to be soaked. Let’s just say Thais are pros at aiming small buckets of water, hoses, and water guns at those who are walking or riding by!
The Old City transformed itself for this festival. Several roads were blocked off around the moat and almost every sidewalk on the inner ring was filled with stalls selling food or water guns and buckets. There were thousands of people, both tourists and Thais, who came out to share in the fun of showering each other with water and who were enjoying drinks and good food.
So we joined in, bought ourselves two buckets, and had at it.
Supplies of water were everywhere. In addition to scooping up moat water with buckets, businesses alongside the moat voluntarily filled baby pools and huge barrels with water, so there was a never-ending supply. Mind you it was often dirty due to moat water or freezing cold due to blocks of ice, but it’s all used in good fun. People congregate at these “watering holes” and wait for tuk-tuks, motorbikes, and songthaews to pass by because they were easy targets at which to splash and squirt.
We had to watch out for the pickup trucks though! They often had several people throwing buckets of ice cold water on us!
Although it’s a five-day holiday here in Chiang Mai, we celebrated Songkran for two days in a row and were Songkraned-out. It was a lot of fun though and we certainly can’t remember even the last time either of us were in a water fight, but it certainly takes a lot of energy to put up a fight with teenagers! Not to mention, being drenched and cool was a welcomed change from being hot all the time. What a way to kick off the New Year!