Happy Songkran (Water) Festival (Thai New Year)
Monday, April 13th thru Wednesday, April 15th
Here it comes again, the largest water fight in the world or so it is known for. I can hear the cries for submission already, “not in the face, not in the face!” as blasts of freezing cold water are squirted, thrown and dumped, (sometimes with force) from water-guns, hand-pumps and buckets at the driest targets in the crowd. Of course they are the most fun people to target, but the dry come hard to find in the most crowded parts of old square of Chiang Mai, which is anywhere along the moat that surrounds the old city, and it gets even more crowed at the epicenter which is Thae Pae Gate, which is located in the middle of the east side of the moat. There are four main gates that are nearly in the middle of each side of the moat, Chiang Puerk gate (north), Thae Pae Gate (East), Chiang Mai Gate (South), and Suan Dok (West).
I spent 2014 in Ayutthaya to bring in the Thai New Year. And it turned out to be a very different experience from the two prior Songkran’s I’ve participated in, in Chiang Mai, and I say that thankfully. I was told Ayutthaya would be more traditional and it did have the feeling of what Thailand must have been like prior the more recent economic success that country has been experiencing but not entirely. Things are changing rapidly in Thailand, we can only hope that its people can hold tight to some of its traditions and not let them get watered (pun intended) down so much that all Songkran becomes known for is smashing ice cold buckets of water in peoples faces. Ayuttaya was much kinder and gentler Songkran than Chiang Mai. And I loved it for that. I still got wet from head to toe, it was just minus being assaulted and victimized. Don’t get me wrong, Chiang Mai is fun too, but does get out of hand at times.
I‘ll expand on my experiences in Ayuttaya and Chiang Mai in the coming weeks. I have lots of pictures, video and thoughts, plus information on Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, i.e., getting there, maps, tourist office and more.
*Note: Songkran is recognized as a national public holiday. Thailand has sixteen public holidays that are observed by both private and public institutions.
Happy Songkran 2559!