Songkran, the official Thai new year celebrated with water because it’s the start of the rainy season, officially starts on April 13 and goes through April 15. In reality, hwever, it starts the night before, so I wrapped my camera and phone in plastic bags and caught the songtoew to the bar district to see what was going on.
The taxi became entangled in a traffic jam three blocks from bintabaht (the bar district), but the walk to the district was crowded with revelers and plenty of water and face painting. I didn’t get half a block before two pretty young ladies just had to paint my face, which is done for good luck. Pretty much everyone gets painted in white, pink, yellow or neon green.
You can expect to get soaked during this event, it’s part of the fun. There are plenty of water guns around but the real damage comes from people with buckets. Sometimes they used ice water. They will have a huge container filled with water and dip their buckets and fling it, or direct it more accurately over your head or down your back.
I arrived before 9 pm but it was already crowded. By the time I left two hours later the crowd was really building, with people just pouring in (pun intended).
Bintabaht is a series of connected, narrow alleyways, with bars, massage parlors and restaurants on either side. Tuk-tuks, motorbike and pedestrians compete for the small roadway. And on this night, it was like walking a gauntlet, with people on both sides eager to douse or paint you.
I walked the whole time with my camera in my left hand, held high above my head so that people could see and aim lower. Miraculously, the camera made it through the experience, as everyone was considerate of the expensive toy. I, however, did not. Soaked many times. Soaked with ice water many times. Painted several times.
I even got into the act and reciprocated on several occasions by dousing my tormentors in retaliation. It was all in good fun and there were nothing but smiles everywhere.
Of course, there was no pool playing this evening, with most of the tables covered with plastic, although the water throwing was kept to the streets, miraculously.
Instead of my usual slideshow photo presentation, I’m going to post most of the photos individually so that I can add comments. I’ve tried to arrange them from when I first got off the taxi until dinner at the end of the evening. You can enlarge the smaller pictures by clicking on them. Enjoy!
Before I even made it to the party, these two lovely ladies did a paint job on my face.
Along the way you pass a food court:
And, of course, street vendors:
Let’s get into the water fights:
The bintabaht alleys were crowded with wet people:
The farang (expats) were definitely into the partying:
The kids were having a great time! The colored pills in the plastic bags (upper right) are the paint for face painting. The girls at left chose pink.
Everyone was painted:
And then there were the ladies:
Time for dinner, so my friend, Win, and I stopped at this restaurant, where we had spicy roast duck and vegetables, another plate of vegetables, and rice. And, of course, I forgot to take pictures of the food. Oops!
Maybe the most fun since I’ve been here.