I have a new favorite holiday. A holiday that is only celebrated in Thailand: Songkran. Songkran is a 3-day festival celebrating the Thai New Year. Now if you are in Chiang Mai, you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate Songkran in all its glory for a full week. Songkran is a countrywide water fight where everyone (except Monks) is fair game and if you are a westerner you are the first target. Tacky Hawaiian shirts are worn, super soakers are loaded, and buckets/trashcans are filled with icy water. The streets are lined with vendors selling buckets, water guns, goggles, and waterproof bags to store your money and phone.
Our TESOL group headed down to the Chiang Mai’s Old City where the main Songkran celebration is held. We arrived at the Old City early in the morning so we could find a good spot to make our base and get the festivities started. We were lucky to leave our accommodation early enough that we somehow stayed dry for the entire Songthaew ride to the Old City. Now once we arrived at the Old City we were soaked in a matter of minutes. Everyone who walked past us was being soaked with water from our trashcan and people who drove or walked by us were hurling water at us. The main targets of the day were westerners, anyone who was dry, songthaews, and trucks that had 8-10 people in the back with trashcans full of ice-cold water.
After a couple of hours near the moat outside the Old City gates we all wanted some beer and food so we ventured farther into the Old City to grab a bite to eat. We ended up at the ever popular McDonalds where we demolished our burgers, fries, and drinks. Across from the McDonalds was a stage with live music and dancers where we wandered next. It was basically a huge dance party with water flying all around. We made it to the front of the crowd and danced away while enjoying the craziness surrounding us. The rest of the day was spent meandering between bars and finding people to soak with water.
One of the things I have come to love about Thailand is how genuine and nice the people are here. Even when they were pelting you with water they had a huge smile on their face and gave you a thumbs up once their bucket was emptied. I can not remember the last time I had that much fun and it was made better by the great people who I was able to be with. There is no holiday that compares to Songkran. It is 3 days spent acting like a kid, where you have no cares in the world except for who you are going to soak next. I do not know of any other country that celebrates the New Year with a massive water fight but Thailand has the right idea. One year I will come back to celebrate the glorious festival that is Songkran!
*A special thanks to the awesome Phoebe for this video:)