Songkran at Patong Beach - Wet Fun!
Ah, Songkran! You either love it or hate it... It can be a bit silly, some people go a bit crazy, it does help to be a little tipsy and (warning!) don't carry expensive electronic equipment in the streets unless it's waterproof. Anyone in a sour mood... stay at home. I know some expats will happily spend the 13th of April watching DVDs and getting rat-arsed. I think it helps to have kids. I also now believe it helps to have a pick up truck so you can load up with big barrels of water and enter hostile territory fully armed for battle! And last year we bought a Toyota Vigo... so this year we were ready for anything!
We drove over to Patong after midday - already quite a queue of traffic coming over the big hill from Phuket Town. I was driving the "first leg" with my wife, sister in law and 2 kids in the back. Patong is certainly THE place to go crazy for Songkran in Phuket. We checked Phuket Town last year, we have been to the turtle release ceremony before, but this year we just wanted to ride around, get wet, throw water and have fun. And YES, it's fun. Humbugs stay home!
Of course, Songkran does have it's traditions too. We got fresh flowers for our Buddha Shelf, we cleaned the Buddha and King images.. and then waited for the morning rain to stop before heading to Patong. If you come for Songkran, it's best to get to Patong before midday. I can tell you, by about 2pm when we were leaving the traffic was backed up over the hill and down the other side, about a mile of traffic heading into Patong.
I had my trusty Canon Powershot in a plastic bag sealed with tape. Worked pretty well too. When my turn came in the back and my wife was driving I invited water to be thrown in our general direction. There was a bit too much ice water for my little boy and after about an hour he retired to the safety of the cab, but had plenty of fun until then :)
Oh, and if anyone was thinking Phuket was empty, tourist numbers down, credit crunch, Bangkok protests.... I tell you it was packed in Patong yesterday! The pictures do not lie!
I think it is important to remember why we are throwing water. This is not a water fight, this is not "I'll get you back, you bas***d".. the water is to symbolise a washing away of the old year. A good throw should be accompanied by a smile and a "Sawatdee Pee Mai" (Happy New Year). I did see some foreigners who were treating the day as a kind of war - shoot and hide, like a paintball game.. but most were getting the right idea. This is such a happy day. It gives me a "smile buzz".
Songkran is a public holiday for several days, but here in Phuket the water throwing is limited to the 13th, so normal life can continue afterwards! However on the 13th of April, anything goes!
All photos by Jamie - either through the truck window or with my Canon Powershot in a plastic bag :) And I reckon we'll be riding around in our pick up truck next year too! Songkran is a fun day. But I am happy that it's only a day. Happy New Year everyone.
More Songkran Photos
Songkran 2011 in Chumphon
Patong Beach Hotels
More Phuket Festivals