Wednesday, 18th April 2012; 16:13
Location: Hmon-Oon Cafe, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Why: The soggy sassiness of Songkran
Songkran, the wettest outdoor party this side of Asia was one of the main reasons I came back for another romp in Chiang Mai. This three day wet fest is something every dirty backpacker should experience if they are in SE Asia in April for surely one will come out drenched and perhaps a little cleaner? Well maybe not, there's still loads of dirt in my crevices. T.M.I? Sorry.
For those not hip to Thailand's beats, the Songkran Festival is a 3 day event from 13th-15th April celebrating the Thai New Year. It conveniently falls in the hottest time of the year in Thailand and is a prelude to the wet season ahead.
During this time, it is a countrywide water splash for three days straight, no school and sadly, no alcohol:
But when you're busy Rambooing your way through the wet crowd, who has time to chug a Chang when there's a driving songtheaw target full of dry people a few meters away?
And why hold a bottle of beer when you can hold these blasters? Built-in fun and full-on badassness:
That's right, two hot Asian Falangs fully loaded. Run, you cannot. Hide, you cannot. Wet, you will be:
On day one, we made our way into the moat for the madness that started in the morning until well after sunset. We couldn't walk more than a few meters without getting soaked or soaking someone(s). And all the laughter along the way surely gave me a few new wrinkles under the scorching sun.
This guy may have a tank of water but solo in a tuk-tuk, he is the perfect target for a wet douse:
Case in point. This female didn't stand a chance!
And I just love the expression on the girl with the hat: Oh yes, my next target...
On day two, we tracked down a bunch of couchsurfers, a motley crew from all over the world including a Thai expat named Pat, a website designer from Philly now based in Beijing and a dude who's building a travel expense tracker for people like me and Anna. Together, we possed over to the Chiang Mai Gate (south entrance of the moat) where we stationed ourselves at a local Thai business with a continuous water source. Perfect.
As the day went on, we bucketed, sprayed and chased passersby with ice cold water. Oh, we were cruel at times. With the traffic jam all along the moat, there were so many crawling songtheaws with victims inside, we couldn't resist the Couchsurfer Ambush. And ambushed we did.
Of course, we also got nailed by locals driving by on their pickups with just as cold ice water and gangs of Thais with impeccable aim.
What a street party. At the famous Tha Pae Gate (east entrance of the moat):
Taking an obligatory self portrait as wet debauchery ensued in the background:
By day three, we met up with the Couchsurfers again for more water blasting. Then we found a little reggae bar on the south side of the moat and suddenly we parked our guns. As the hot sun baked our skin, I was happy for the gift of a nice little doobie (or two) that's been missing in my life for months! Gotta love that sweet Canadian we met there, ha! Canadians and doobies, what a combo.
Of course, the munchies came almost immediately for me so I had to brave the crowds for the closest minimart. I didn't even get three feet out the reggae bar without getting shot down with a healthy squirt square in the face. Love it.
Of all the fun things I've done in my travels, I have to say, Songkran is tops for traveling to Thailand this time of year. All the more fun with my girl Anna, couchsurfers and of course our badass waterguns.
If you ever want to hose someone down in the best water fight party, come to Chiang Mai. Just make sure you are not completely defenseless. Make sure you pick up a badass watergun.