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July 2020

Songkran Festival on Khao San Road 2007

13-15 April 2007
Songkran on Khao San Road

Although Chiang Mai is likely Thailand's most popular destination for Songkran (probably because of its 'no holds barred' mentality towards the festival), a close runner up, and certainly a favourite amongst foreigners, is Bangkok's Khao San Road. Traditionally the capital's backpacker and budget tourist area, Khao San Road has gone a bit up market over recent years and to some extent taken Songkran with it.

Not so long ago Songkran on Khao San Road was typified by massive crowds drenching each other, smearing talcum powder into each others' faces and dancing round to the sounds of massive sound systems. Good fun - but a bit on the extreme side. "Social Order" policies have calmed things down a bit on Khao San and they are still in place. During the festival itself, the ends of the street are blocked off to control access and revelers are usually given plastic replicas of traditional silver bowls in a bid towards getting people 'sprinkling' each other again as per the original tradition. Vans with loud speakers often patrol the area spreading a message of the advantages of the traditional Songkran festival.

This doesn't mean Khao San is no longer fun - far from it...
the traditional Thai quality of compromise means that Songkran on Khao San Road is now a more ordered and less frenzied affair. Talcum powder is no longer allowed on the street (although you do see it on surrounding streets), the venue is well policed and it's a much friendlier, calmer and safer affair. As a result, there's now no better place to experience Songkran than on Khao San…

2007 sees a few innovations on the street. Outside Buddy Lodge - one of the area's leading hotels - there will be fun and games that will include, amongst other things, a foam machine and a snow machine! Snow in Bangkok? Worth coming just for that!

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