April 13-15: SONGKRAN (photos to come)
One of the highlights of the trip for sure…we’ve just come out of a 3 day water fight. The Thai celebrate their New Year on 13-15 April and up in Chiang Mai it is celebrated most famously with the Songkran festival. It is thought that Songkran was brought to Northern Thailand by the Burmese, but it has spread throughout the country as a massive nationwide celbration (and 3 days off work).
So what is it…literally a 3-6 day waterfight. The entire city stops work, fills up massive drums of water at each of their houses/work places and proceed to throw smaller bucket of water or shoot water pistols at every single person that walks past. In the centre of the city (around the moat) people line the streets and sit in the back of ute’s with drums of water throwing it at everyone. The photo’s will give you some idea of how big this festival is, basically no one is safe and you don’t take anything into town that you don’t want to get wet. Picture somewhere like Courtney place, up to the Basin Reserve, across to the top of Cuba St and down to the water front being a big square road absolutely jammed with cars, people hurling water at each other for 3+ days…nuts!
Some of the action from the middle of town:
We tripped around in a sweet Tuk Tuk getting out every minute to smash some muppet with water or to fill up our buckets, each time getting a dowsing with 3-4 buckets of water ourselves. Everyone is drinking beer/Thai Whiskey and having a great time, no one get’s annoyed about getting wet – it’s actually a sign of good luck, kind of a scenario like: “Oh I just smashed you in the face with 4 litres of water” and the person replying “Thanks that was really nice of you” in a genuine, non-sarcastic way. Classic.
Certainly a little different from the traditional NZ one massive night on the diesel – but hey that definitely still has it’s merits!