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.
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. The "Social
Order" policies of the last Taksin government made it
to Khao San and there was a bid to calm things down a bit.
You could witness curious sights of female officials marching
up and down the street advising bemused foreign women on what
to wear in the run up to the Songkran festivities. During
the festival itself, the ends of the street were blocked off
to control access and revelers were 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 were also seen to patrol the area
spreading a message of the advantages of the traditional Songkran
the efforts of the authorities did not fully reform Khao San
Road's Songkran; instead the traditional Thai quality of compromise
kicked in! 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…