Songkran - a country wide water fight celebrating the Thai New Year
We were so excited when we heard Songkran was going to coincide with our last couple weeks in Thailand and as we close out our journey to Southeast Asia. The celebrations are known for being the wildest in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but we had already made plans to head to Koh Chang. Many locals from Bangkok head to this island for the holiday so we were still hoping for a proper party.
THAI NEW YEAR
In short, Songkran is one massive water fight celebrated on April 13th which marks Thai New Year's Day. The festival usually carries on for the following two days, although in Bangkok it often starts earlier, going for about 6 days in total. The festival is rich with tradition which typically involves visiting the local Buddhist temples, offering food to the monks and pouring water on the statues to symbolize washing away one's sins and bad luck. This is also a time to visit family members, loved ones and elders. As a westerner visiting during Songkran it is very easy to partake in the fun which entails sloshing each other with as much water as possible using buckets, water guns and hoses. Everyone gets involved and everyone gets wet. Don't expect to leave the house during the days of Songkran and come home dry.
KOH CHANG CELEBRATIONS
We weren't sure how wild or tame the party would be on Koh Chang, however we were warned by the owner of our bungalow not to travel in on the 13th as we were sure to get our stuff soaked. Instead, we arrived a couple days earlier giving us some time to get our water guns and dry-bags ready. We stayed up the hill from Lonely Beach so we headed down to the main street to participate in the festivites. The celebrations are more full-on the closer you get to Whitesand Beach, however given the number of traffic accidents due to reckless/drunk driving we decided to stay put and soak everyone in our path.
There is one road on Koh Chang so anyone trying to go north or south has to pass by you at some point. All of the restaurants set up big tubs of water filling them with their hoses. Some even went as far as buying ice to really add an extra shock. A day on the town with locals and other travelers turned into playing music, dancing and laughing and having a great time. Truly the best day to visit any major city in Thailand.