Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Wet, wet, wet! Our Songkran Happy Easter from Thailand.

We had no idea what to expect heading into our first Songkran celebration living in Thailand, but we knew it was all about water and that we needed to be like all good scouts, be prepared. 

A trip to the local supermarket, yes the Brits amongst you will laugh, the not very Thai sounding supermarket, Tesco Lotus Bangkok finds us suitable weaponry. These mother of all water guns come with their own protective glasses and waterproof bags for phones. Some indication of the ferocity of what is ahead, when Thais "play water"


Songkran is the celebration for the Thai New Year, often called the water festival. It has its roots in the religious celebration of cleansing Buddha and is a three-day holiday. At its heart, is a time for families, for cleaning the home, and new beginnings.  We're very happy to have a special family time ourselves as all three of our adult children will join us from the UK and Australia. We are keen to see how the three days of Songkran, the world's largest water fight, will play out on the streets of Bangkok.

Day One we escape relatively unscathed. After months of seeing Thais dressed in the dark colours of mourning for their late King's passing, the first thing we notice is the bright shirts everywhere and music. It makes us realise how subdued life has been, but arriving in Thailand after King Bhumibol Adulyadej's deaths we knew no different.  The authorities have requested that certain Songkran events be more muted, out of respect at this time. If this was the case, I wondered what it was like on previous occasions. 


Planning our route carefully, walking as far as we can inside the "no play" shopping malls. We reach the water and take a canal boat ride and find that it is free as part of the Songkran celebrations - that's a nice touch. It's lovely cruising through the small canals looking at life on the water. Those already back from Songkran festivities are drying their clothes on the canal banks!



Our canal ride finishes close to the Khao San Road, a popular backpacker and party area and from a safe'ish distance, things looked in full drunken swing. Hmmm, not really my sort of cup of tea. I soon find I have double standards. If any of those drunken western lads-on-tour types so much as fire a few droplets at me, I'm not so impressed and glare with disdain. However, when jettisoned by a local Thai, I'm equally unimpressed, but to be honest, happier to cop a fair gotcha!

Walking on quickly by, we stroll (ok puff our way) up the 300 plus steps in the heat of the midday sun, to the top of Golden Mount. Inhaling a deep breath of frangipani trees and mix with the vibrations of the gongs of the massive drums which people ring as they pass, we are back in the more spiritual world of Songkran. I like it more. As some zen calm returns, we find ourselves amongst the orange clothed monks, all with umbrellas. Is that for the sun or the water? Whatever, good idea. I make a mental note to be more monk-like in the 2017 New Year, more zen calm, or at least carry an umbrella!



By the end of the day, I'm waiting at the end of the road to direct my son's taxi into our apartment block, I was well caught out, from behind. My son arrives after months of not seeing me, to find me looking like a drowned rat! 


'Hi, Mum, whatever happened to you?!'
Thailand 1 - Foreigner 0.

Day Two we are invited to join some Thai friends to their Songkran celebration, They take us to Silom road. Sorry no pictures, it was not safe to get a camera out!

As we descend from the SkyTrain into the roaring crowd we are an easy target, taller and drier than most. This is much less touristy, more local than yesterday. All ages mixed together. We discuss tactics, anyone who goes for us, we ALL go for them! It's a lost cause.

Within seconds we are drenched in icy cold water. It feels like the whole of Bangkok has come out to play water. It's not quite an even playing field as some people are literally throwing buckets of icy water at us. 


Thailand 10, Foreigners still 0!

We shuffle amongst the crowd, water everywhere. I am happy that cliff jumping, perforated ear-drum son has come prepared with his ear plug and wonder whether I will ever hear from my own waterlogged ears. It's impossible not to swallow any water as weeks of religiously brushing my teeth in bottled water are superseded by one massive drink from a Bangkok water festival - Oh for goodness sake ignore Wren, and find your inner Zen Wren! We slosh through the water-logged streets and hooray we've reached Lumphini Park and we can walk home!

Day Three we are determined to stay dry, and whilst we're clearly over it, the rest of Thailand is happy to party on. We escape down to the river and in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, we find Easter Eggs! Easter is not a big celebration here in Thailand, in fact, it is fair to say it has been totally eclipsed by the Songkran festival... It is a jolt to remember the rest of our family are sitting down to their Cadbury's and a Sunday roast!



We take to the water the way we like it, out on a James Bond long-tail boat whizzing around the Chao Phraya River and into some of the smaller canals at sunset. Yep, I've decided for my Songkran I much prefer to be on the water rather than under it!

I'm glad I've experienced my first Songkran but give me chocolate rather than a water fight any day! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend festivities however you were celebrating.



Linking with thanks to all the hosts at

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