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October 2019
Nakhon Phanom Illuminated Boat Procession 2019 and Red Cross Fair                                         

Songkran Festival on Khao San Road

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. 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 festival.

Of course, 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…

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