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Top 5 Destinations
 Koh Samui
 Chiang Mai


November 2019
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Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai

Songkran in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is without doubt Thailand's leading venue for Songkran celebrations! People here take Songkran VERY seriously indeed. They get organized - they drive gangs of people around the city in pickup trucks hunting down willing victims to soak. Herds of people stand along the streets armed with water pistols and great big barrels of water that are continually being filled by hoses. All of this preparation is for just on objective - to get as many people as you can as wet as possible! The whole scene is absolute chaos, but fantastic fun that lasts for three or four whole days - even longer in more rural parts of Chiang Mai province! However, if you dig a bit deeper, order in the chaos. Songkran is not just about wild water fights… it has a calmer, quainter side.

In Chiang Mai, the traditional festival that underlies the Songkran festivities has a structured, ordered route. On 12 April people clean their houses and generally prepare for the coming New Year. It is a day of procession with Buddha images and floats that start at Nawarat Bridge and weave their way through the city streets culminating at Wat Phra Singh. On 13 April people prepare meals and food for merit-making activities that occur the next day. People also go to the Mae Ping River to collect sand to take to Wat Phra Singh. Here they make the sand into sand castles which they stick flowers into. On 14 April the New Year begins in earnest. Merit-making ceremonies take place at temples and the food prepared the day earlier is given to monks alongside other gifts. Everywhere Buddha images are gently cleansed using specially scented water. 15 April sees the last day of activities. On this day people pour water into the hands of their elders (parents, grandparents, etc.) and generally pay respect to them by uttering prayers for their health and good fortune in the coming year.

For the visitor, Songkran in Chiang Mai is a tremendous experience. It is a blend of hedonistic fun, ritual and ceremony that is simply unique to Thailand. It takes at least two or three days to fully appreciate the festival, so if you are in Thailand around this time, and you have the time, consider a trip to Chiang Mai - it just might be an experience you never forget!
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