Songkran Festival Celebrations!

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Kalboz, Apr 7, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Songkran, is the traditional Thai New Year's Day celebrations and the most important Thai festival, will be held this year from Friday 13th to Sunday the15th of April. This is celebrated by drenching other revelers (total strangers) with water. A recent article by a local paper about the celebration at Khao San Rd., the back-packers area of Bangkok:
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  2. estnet
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    besides water which is okay as long as you have your electronics and passport protected, they also spray a white chalk like substance or reach out and put it on your face or clothes. not sure of the significance but it can be a bit messy and annoyining. the other thing that is a bit scary is people with trucks with hoses who squirt passing vehicles, sadly leading to some accidents b/c of loss of visibility.
     
  3. Kalboz
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    You can protect your valuables and electronic devices with a plastic pouch such as the yellow one pictured here:
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    As for the chalk placed on my face by some weirdo, I'd be annoyed too ... but, for them (a different culture), it is mai pin rai! :) In Thailand (or anywhere else for that matter), I wouldn't touch anyone's head/face regardless of their age.​
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  4. MLW20
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    The white powder is talcum from what we were told. Nobody was really throwing it, they come up to you and rub it on your face.
    To fully enjoy Songkran you need to be prepared. Protect your electronics, passport & $ in plastic bags/ dry bags.
    If you have a bag that you do not want to get wet, just say so & they will soak you elsewhere!
    The trucks you mention have ice cold water on them which can be a shock to the system even in the extreme heat.

    We had an amazing time during the festival. My wife and I went to Khao San Road with a local from our hostel, bought a water gun and joined in the fun. After we went back to the hostel on Sukhumvit Soi 7 and soaked whoever came by. It was a nice little group-all different ages & nationalities and we had a blast.
     
  5. MLW20
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    Have you experienced Songkran?
     
  6. Kalboz
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    Sure, several times ... my wife is Thai and our oldest was born in Thailand :)
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  7. MLW20
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    Did you have positive experiences with Songkran???
     
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  8. estnet
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    Yes, yesterday I was in Chinatown and they were selling lots of stuff for Songkran. Iast year I was in Bankok at the end and buses and cars were covered with white splotches, some on the windshields and I saw many hosed as they went by obliterating their ability to see the road. There are also many accidents of people on motor cycles who have been sprayed:(
     
  9. estnet
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    Yes, for most of last year's celebration I was at a hotel in Hua Hin where they had a small ceremony for the monks early in the day (that guest could watch), then a thing in the afternooon with free ice cream, some entertainment of thai dances, etc. and LOTS of water.
    I put my unprotected camera away near the electrical equip to keep it dry b/c water was coming from everywhere - I even got pushed in the pool which was a little scary b/c I wear contacts - but luckily my blink reflex was fast enough that I didn't lose one:)
     
  10. NEVERhome

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    That would be my style of celebration, ice cream oh yes. Trust nobody takes offence but I find this festival terrible, they only ever got to me once with the water and the flour and that was years ago as i walked out of the Sheraton down on the river, now ever year we leave Thailand and head over to Danang. Never deny it is an age thing, the young ones think it is so much fun, the same way they love tatts, all night binging and tongue piercing
     
  11. estnet
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    Yes :) free ice cream was great! I'm going to have to check my travel dates more carefully as I'd rather not be here for Songkran too, luckily I'm leaving Bangkok today for Hua Hin and a "safe" out of the way hotel, so I think I'll be okay, but next year I'll make sure I don't come during songkran - how do u get to Danang? Fly?
     
  12. Kalboz
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    Positive and much fun for the first few times ... but it gets old after a while. :) I know some people who visit Thailand annually during this period to be around for Songkran.
     
  13. Kalboz
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    Surat Thani Songkran celebration expected to draw ...
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  14. Kalboz
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    Songkran is coming: Where will you get wet?
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  15. NEVERhome

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    We are very lucky, or maybe if I should say we planned it that way. We love Cambodia and Vietnam, so when we were making arrangements for a bolthole in Cambodia we choose REP as there is a direct flight. We can fly from REP to DAD, but we find the service through Vietnam airlines also to be superb, the planes are new, cabin crew are beautiful, and any stopover in HAN or SGN is minimal and the lounges are fun
     
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  16. Kalboz
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    Schedule and Map for Bangkok Songkran Parade 2013
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  17. Kalboz
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    Some Tips for Enjoying Songkran 2013

    * If you go out during Songkran, then you are fair game. Don’t complain if you are squirted in the face with a water pistol or someone rubs white powder on your face. Although it might not seem like it, they are actually taking part in a centuries old tradition of paying respect to their elders. Let them do it and smile. Resistance is useless.
    * If you are a woman, try not to dress provocatively – particularly spaghetti strap tops or white t-shirts that become revealing when wet. Thai people are traditionally conservative, but some young men will take advantage of Songkran to grope you. Many of them have been partying all night and are drunk.
    * Keep your cool at all times. Everyone is just having fun. Be prepared for the buckets of water which have been pre-chilled with ice. Also beware that people might come up to you from behind to smear white powder on your face. If they are polite they will ask first. But, you won’t see that happen often. Try not to move too much when they are doing it as you might end up with the paste in your eyes. However, that is inevitable the longer you stay out.
    * Don’t wear your best clothes. If you take your camera then make sure you also have a plastic bag. Better still, buy a camera that is waterproof. Last year, many people ended up with soggy mobile phones that stopped working. The mobile phone vendors do good business during Songkran repairing them.
    * By law you have to carry your passport at all times. However, during Songkran you are running the risk of your important documents getting wet. Make photocopies of your passport to take out with you and leave all important documents in the hotel safe.
    * If you don’t want to take part in the water fights then you will need to stock up for at least 3-4 days. Some expats go out to buy enough DVD movies and food to last them the holidays. If you do venture out, the chances are high that you will get soaked.
    * The shopping malls and movie theatres are all open during Songkran. So, you can use these places as a safe haven. However, getting to them safely might be a problem. If you have to use public transport, make sure you use an air-conditioned bus or meter taxi. If you use a normal bus with the windows down or a tuk tuk then you will get soaked.
    * If you are going out in your car, try to stick to the main roads. There is no point in washing your car before or during Songkran. Wherever you go your car will get plastered with white paste. Make sure that you have topped up your windscreen wipers with plenty of water. You will use them often. Whatever, you do, don’t forget to LOCK all car doors. If you stop at traffic lights or in a traffic jam, they will try to open your doors.
    * Lot’s of people drink day and night during Songkran and this new year period in Thailand sees the most horrific crashes on the roads. Most deaths occur on the side roads and in the evening. On the main roads most accidents are caused by speeding. If you are driving take extra care. There are a lot of drunk drivers out on the roads during Songkran. Personally, I don’t like to drive too far during this period and if I do, I stick to the roads that I know near my home.
    * Songkran is not just about water fights. Do make an effort to see the more traditional side. Early in the morning Thai people will be going to the temples to make merit. They will also bathe the monks and Buddha images with rose scented water. In the afternoon, they will build sand pagodas in the temple grounds.
    * Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the waterfights are only on 13-15 April. This year this is up against the weekend and so the government has made it a five day holiday. In addition, some areas of Thailand have their Songkran celebrations a week later.
     
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  18. Kalboz
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    After a relatively quite Songkran trip to Kanchanaburi, we decided to hit the road to Issan to celebrate with family. First, we did the family thing getting blessing from the elders, and, then, providing heat relief by "wetting" the dead at the temple:
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    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  19. Kalboz
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    After blessings by the elders, a pick-up truck full of neighborhood's kids pulled over and all hell broke lose! :D[​IMG]
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  20. Kalboz
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    We were staying at the Pullman Khon Kaen which is located right in the downtown area. For 3 nights, the entire downtown was blocked to vehicle traffic and only pedestrians were allowed. More than 20 makeshift stages were constructed complete with go-go dancer pedestals for the Songkran festivities. Various rock/Thai concerts with the biggest water fights I have ever seen by 10Ks of revelers. Did not have water-proof camera and I was always trying to avoid getting my camera wet as I was on the receiving end of many powder in your face treatment & the occasional ice-cold water in my back! My boy would retaliate and get them back ... all was done in good spirit and the most beautiful smiles. :)
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  21. Kalboz
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    More from Songkran 2013 Khon Kaen:
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  22. LIH Prem
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    lol "resistance is useless".

    -David
     
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  23. Kalboz
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    Now that we are leaving tomorrow for Thailand, here is the Songkran 2014 issue! :)

    Songkran 2014 water festival, Thailand: details and guide to the Thai New Year
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  24. Kalboz
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    Another Happy Songkran video from the Americans:

     
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  25. Kalboz
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    We will be in Hua Hin starting today 4/12 until the 15th celebrating Songkran. We are staying at the Intercontinental Resort Hua Hin ... if anyone wants to meet up, drop me a line.
     
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