This is Songkran!

Can never have too many squirt guns...
Can never have too many squirt guns…

The truck ripped around the corner, almost taking me with it, but with one free hand I held the roof tight. I squinted past the sweat dripping into my eyes, and saw my assailants waiting for me. They lined the corridor as we rumbled into view. I aimed down my sights, and tapped the trigger.
Too soon, I thought… too soon.
My attack was wasted, and we were left wide open. With one massive yell they surged forward, and I didn’t have time to reload. The blast of their attack blinded me, and within moments their hands gripped my chest, pulling me over the side.
I reached into our supply and managed to pull a bucket free. With a cry of “hurrah!” I doused them as I slipped loose. I was rewarded with a laugh and a cheer, and knew I had succeeded. With a jolt we pulled ahead, ready for the rest of the run.
This was no ordinary water fight.
This was Songkran!

The water war zone.
The water war zone.

As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of Songkran (Thai: สงกรานต์). From the time I was a little boy I have loved anything to do with water, whether it be boats, fishing, swimming or diving… I can never get enough. So needless to say it has long been a desire of mine to experience the nationwide water fight that heralds the arrival of the Thai New Year. I had lots of expectations going in, but it truly surpassed all of them. In one fell swoop it has become my favorite holiday.

However, even the best of things can be ruined by ill-preparedness, so I decided I would share a 5 “DOs and DON’Ts” that might help keep me out of trouble when you visit the Land of Smiles during Songkran.

Land of Smiles
Land of Smiles

The DOs and DON’Ts of Songkran

Do: Wear clothes that can be destroyed.
Don’t: Worry about appearances.
Yes, you will be doused, sprayed, dusted, and drenched. In addition to water, there will be loads of baby powder, colored paste, and prickly heat being applied by random strangers. Clothes will be decimated.

1-DSC_0021

Do: Drink a beer or two.
Don’t: Drink and drive.
As much fun as Songkran is, and as much fun it is riding around the slow streets with a beer in hand, don’t forget to play it safe. During the festivities hundreds of people die from traffic related incidents, and most of them from drunk driving.

Do: Drink lots of water.
Don’t: Drink the water being thrown.
The water in Thailand isn’t always treated to western standards. So bring along a sealed source of drinking water, and take care to avoid swallowing the water dripping off of your face. It can get really hot in Thailand, and each year several people die of dehydration.

Can't see past the water.
Can’t see past the water.

Do: Ride in the back of a truck.
Don’t: Ride in a car with the windows up.
Borrow, rent, or beg your way into the back of a truck. Load it up with as much water as the shocks can handle, and get on the road. If you sit in a car you’ll observe the fun that everyone else is having while you are missing out, and if you roll down the windows for a second… say goodbye to your car stereo.

All ages ready for battle.
All ages ready for battle.

Do: Buy a waterproof bag.
Don’t: Leave your electronics out.
Do I really need to mention this one? However, I imagine the statistics on cellphone and camera fatalities during Songkran are higher than the vehicular accident rate… Be prepared.

They said I was paranoid. I say Songkran - 0, Electronics - 1.
They said I was paranoid. I say Songkran – 0, Electronics – 1.

Those are the basics. I could go on and on about the proper water guns (bigger is better!), best roads (get surrounded!), or the many, many ways in which I am already preparing for next year…
However, the most important thing to DO is to go out and enjoy the day. It is the one time a year when everyone magically gets along and really cuts loose. From kids to the elderly everyone is wearing a smile. And I guarantee you will as well, even as the ice-cold water hits your face!

All will be a happy blur!
All will be a happy blur!

 

  18 comments for “This is Songkran!

  1. sueslaght
    April 18, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Sounds like a wild adventure.
    On another note…this post did not show up in my WordPress Reader. I did get an email notification but clicking on any of the links in that email only produced an error message saying the site could not be found. I went back to a comment made on my blog to get here. Just thought you would want to know.

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:12 am

      Oh! Thanks for letting us know! I will try and figure it out… So many new challenges… including responding to comments… 🙂

  2. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    April 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Great photos! Good Do and Don’t list! I’d be the one in the car with windows rolled up! Yes–loser. Terri

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:12 am

      Not Loser! Just… hmm… maybe smarter? 🙂 Sorry I took so long… It took me that long to think up a good response… haha.

  3. The Vanilla Housewife
    April 19, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Sounds so fun! Our San Juan festival doesn’t look as festive as Songkran 🙁

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:11 am

      Okay… now I have to look up the San Juan festival. I love all festivals! BTW sorry I took so long to respond! I am terrible at such things!

  4. bakeritalia
    April 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Woohoo!!! What a brilliant festival and you all looked to be celebrating your hearts out. Great writing also, thanks for sharing…I want to have a water fight now 🙂

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:09 am

      Thanks! It was and is the best holiday of the world… in my opinion! 🙂 Glad you were entertained, and sorry for taking so long to respond!

  5. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
    April 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Great post (Chad looks like he’s really in his element there). I’m going to have to work out a way to make it up there at the right time one year. Can’t believe I haven’t been working on that one before now – but also glad, because now I can come more prepared!

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:08 am

      I really was in my element. I cannot get enough of this… In fact… It may effect all future travel plans. (Always be in Thailand during Songkran!) Also, sorry I took so long to respond, I am not as efficient as my wife! 🙂

  6. Valerie
    April 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    WOW!! What an awesome day! My son would LOVE shooting and getting shot! 😛

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:07 am

      I bet! Little boys and girls were floating in tubs of water and having the best days of their lives! So fun! Sorry it took me so long to respond!

  7. thebritishberliner
    April 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    This is a brilliant list. Have lots of fun and stay safe. Songkran!!

    • chadrmitchell
      April 24, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Thank you! Sorry it took me so long to respond… In between traveling etc. I have been very negligent! Staying fun and safe is the most important DO of Songkran.

  8. joylovestravel
    April 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Wow, this looks amazing and great fun!

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  10. Andy Nixon
    April 12, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Happy Songkran. It is here. Hope the weather is good in Phuket. Had a few storms up in Chiang mai. have fun you guys and see you soon. I promise not to bring the rain with me this time. sa wa dee pii mai khap.

    • andthreetogo
      April 12, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Happy songkran Andy! We have had a couple showers in the evenings, but nothing too bad during the day… We may be okay for your visit. 🙂 sa wa dee pii mai ka.

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