Songkran Festival in Chiangmai 2010 (Thai New Year)

The  Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) runs from 13th-15th April. We decided to cellerbrate this in Chiangmai as this is where the cellerbration originated from. In the 20th century it spread across the rest of Thailand, and is now cellerbrated across the whole of Thailand. However Chiangmai is still regarded as the best place to be for the festival, and the cellerbrations there go on for 6 days and more.

The main way people cellerbrate Songkran, is by throwing water over eachother. Many tourists come to Chiangmai especially for this event. Every shop stocks up with water guns and by the end of the festival water guns are left behind in guest houses by tourists, and probably sold on again next year.

People also visit Wats (Buddhist Monasteries) to pray and they also give offerings to Monks. People also go o visit with family and friends. During the festival a parade is performed around the city. Here you can gently throw water over beauty queens and Buddha images and shrines. This water is mixed with Thai fragrance and is believed to bring good luck and prosterity for the New Year.

The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by capturing the water after it had been poured over the Buddhas for cleansing and then using this “blessed” water to give good fortune to elders and family by gently pouring it on the shoulder.The water is meant as a symbol of washing all of the bad away and is sometimes filled with fragrant herbs when celebrated in the traditional manner. (Wiki)

Throwing water over the Buddha Image

Throwing water over the Buddha Image

Even though the Festival runs from the 13th-15th April be prepared to get soaked for a few days running up to this time. The locals and tourists are eager to get started with the water throwing. The best place to be in Chiangmai is around the Moat. During the festival all around the moat is packed with tourists and locals throwing water. People buy buckets on string and thwo it in to the moat to fill up with water. No one stays dry! You can get a taxi, tuk tuk and even stay in doors, but guaranteed someone will come and wet you! In fact people like to target people who are trying their hardest to stay dry in a taxi.

The festival is a lot of fun. The locals are very welcoming to tourists and you can join in with everyone and have a lot of fun. During the festival guest houses and bars have massive barrels of water outside to throw at people passing. Also people go around on pick up trucks with buckets of ice cold water to throw. This is quite nice in the heat, and helps cool you down:)

We spent the first day of the festival around the Moat and joined in with locals and tourists and had a lot of fun getting wet and soaking people. We bought ourselves super soaker water guns. These are very powerful and can hurt if you shoot them too close. We stayed out for most of the day. People continued to wet eachother till about 7pm. We also watched the parade during the day.

Paul waiting for passing Taxi's

Paul waiting for passing Taxi's

On the second day of the festival we also meant around the moat again. There was a foam machine spilling out foam all over the street. This was a lot of fun! People were runnign around in it and throwing it at eachother. In the afternoon we went to spend time with Suriya and joined in with some of his friend in a near by guesthouse. They had massive cubes of ice in massive buckets of water. We soaked every person passing by on this quite street. There is no escaping the water, not even on a small quite street!

Foam on the streets of Chiangmai

Foam on the streets of Chiangmai

I would definatley suggest you visit Chiangmai during the Songkran Festival. We had so much fun with the locals. They are so welcoming and ensure that you have an amazing time! Be prepared to get soaked! It is a nice way of cooling down in the heat!

Pictures of Songkran coming soon,

Ruth and Paul

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