Songkran festival otherwise known as the water festival is an annual celebration of the traditional Thai new year. Songkran started as a Buddhist tradition. A little sprinkling of water would symbolise purification but today this sprinkling has turned into a huge water fight that spreads across the whole country. However, Khao San road is where the middle of the mayhem is. The entire 5k length of the street is packed out with people holding water guns and throwing a clay-like substance. The main portion of the festival takes place over 3 days but in reality, a whole week is taken up with a mass celebration.
Songkran may have had small beginnings but it has manifested into an iconic event that attracts people from all over the world to come together for the biggest party of their lives.
I love water fights. I remember when I was a child, in the summers, my brother and I would spend hours running through the sprinklers mom had put out to water the grass until we were soaking wet and had completely trampled the lawn. We would fill balloons up with water and throw them at each other and we would fill up the paddling pool only for it to be empty an hour later from us splashing all the water over the fence to annoy the neighbours. In truth, I would still do all these things if I could get away with them so I was very excited to go to the biggest water fight in the world.
In the days leading up to this, I had been on the hunt for the most badass water gun I could find. Unfortunately, my backpacking budget didn’t allow me to go all out on a gun so I had to settle for a pink Minnie mouse one. It was actually quite cute but I really wanted a massive intimidating cherry red one with flames going down the side. Mainly for squirting power. It could reach up to 10 m away whereas Minnie mouse could do about 2 metres.
My backpacking buddy, Lara and I left the hotel with a full belly and took a tuk-tuk to Koh San road. I couldn’t believe the number of people. There was music blasting out from all sides and water being squirted at us from all angles.
We fought our way down Koh San road holding on to another so we didn’t lose each other. I had to keep my face down as we seemed to be moving targets. The amount of water I got squirted in my ear. It took me a few days to recover my hearing.
Along the road, there were various stage setups with bands performing and thousands of people throwing themselves at the stage. Even the band members were soaking wet, but they were loving it. We stayed in the mosh pit for a few hours laughing and joking with strangers as we shot each other.
There were girls walking around in their bikinis with glow paint all over them, people dressed up as various gods, pop culture characters, celebrities…
There was so much to see when you weren’t temporarily blinded by being squirted in the eye with water.
We left the road in the afternoon to grab some lunch. As soon as we sat down we both felt exhausted. After munching on a delicious pad thai dish we made our way back to the hotel for a power nap. Yes, I know, we are grandmas but, it was so exhausting. However, it was a lot of fun and I hope we get the chance to go to this festival again some day. I hope you do too.
Big hugs, Lucy x