Monday, April 18, 2011

Our New Favorite Holiday- Songkran

For the past three days all of Thailand shut down in order to celebrate Songkran. Traditionally Thailand's new year celebration was a time for Buddhists to make merit at local temples and for the elders to sprinkle water on younger people as a form of blessing and tribute. Included in this blessing was the application of white paste or clay to the face, arms and torso as a sign of protection and to ward off evil.  

The modern Songkran celebration has evolved (or devolved depending on your point of view) into a three day water fight. In Bangkok, two of the most popular areas to celebrate Songkran are Silom Road and Khao San Road. In both areas, they close off the streets and people armed with waterguns, buckets, water bottles and firehoses wage a water fight free-for-all. If defending yourself from water attacks weren't enough, there are also people walking around with bowls of white clay that they will smear on anyone and anything.

We decided that we wanted to experience the party at both of these locations so on Wednesday we headed to Silom dressed in old clothing and armed with a waterproof camera.  As soon as we exited the MRT station at Silom, we were hit with a wall of sound and water. Each side of the street was packed with vendors who were selling food, water guns, and clay. We spent hours wandering the up and down Silom and Patpong with Megan, being bombarded with water and clay.

A before picture
Looking down on Silom towards Sala Daeng BTS
 Clay and water for sale
On Patpong, they busted out the fire-hoses
Doesn't seem like a fair fight.
Fun for all ages!
Megan looking gangster with her Pooh water gun
The aftermath- covered in clay and soaked to the core
On Thursday we headed over to Khao San Road to meet a group of friends. There were fewer people on Khao San Road than there was on Silom, but that meant there was more room to fire your weapon of choice. This time around, we bought our own water guns so we could participate in the craziness. 

We spent most of our time on a street that runs parallel to Khao San Road because we were able to find a street side bar where we could launch sneak attacks on the crowd passing by. After an hour or so of this coupled with our 10 minute water fight with the table next to us, we got kicked out of the bar! 

They didn't allow clay on Khao San Rd, so people discarded their bowls
They even had official signs!
These girls were ruthless. I think they hit us 5 times with ice cold water
Guy prepares his Doremon water gun
Disturbing doll attached to an ambulance- not sure why...
I love my new water gun!
Launching an attack on the crowd
Mike and Guy refill their guns for the next attack
Eric and I have both decided that Songkran is our new favorite holiday. How can you not love a holiday where you hang out with friends and spend all day at the world's largest water fight. Can't wait until next year!

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