Songkran in Bangkok

Songkran Street Scene
Songkran Street Scene

Thai New Year is called Songkran. It is a week long celebration. I am unsure of the exact dates, but it was going on when we arrived in Bangkok on the 16th of April. I heard later that this year’s festival was extended a few days because the first few days were marred by political unrest.

The streets started filling up in the afternoon and by night they were packed. Everyone walked around throwing water, squirting water and smearing mud on everyone else. Before I learned about Songkran I assumed this was something sponsored by the Super Soaker Company.

There were street vendors selling everything from fried bugs to Pad Thai to sausage on a stick. Unbelieveably, Sea got a bag of fried grasshoppers and ate them. And I don’t think it was her first time.

Here and there were bands or a DJ and the crowd would bunch up around them and dance. Sometimes girls would be invited to dance on a makeshift stage or table. Often the crowds would be so thick it was impossible to move. We had to head in a different direction.

After being thoroughly wetted and covered in mud, we found

a cafe and sat down for a bite to eat. It was about 20:00. The customers in the cafe were dancing and using super soakers on each other. There was a table of 3 of the strongest looking guys I have ever seen sitting at the table next to me. I hoped they were friendly, and in fact they were.

We ate our rice and only got squirted a few times. As soon as the plate was cleared, we were attacked by several partiers from the street side. Someone had ice water in his squirt gun that was startling when it hit me in the face. Everyone else had tap water that is not bad.

At about 21:30 we left the cafe and tried to make it around the block, but soon gave up.

The celebration lasted long into the night. When we arrived in Bangkok the first night it was 03:00 and the party was still going on, albeit somewhat subdued.

The next morning crews were out cleaning the roads with fire hoses and shovels. By noon it began again.

Songkran was fun at first, but getting wet and muddy every time we stepped

into the street limited what we could do after that. So we decided to head up to the Chiang Mai area for a few days, then return to Bangkok after Songkran was over.

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About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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