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Songkran – one week to go!

Last year’s Songkran still seems a fresh memory, but another year has flown by and a week from now Songkran 2011 will be underway. If you were planning a trip to Chiang Mai you’ve hopefully organised everything already as reports are the planes, trains and buses are already fully booked for next week!

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most renowned and popular Songkran destinations, and for one week every year becomes a wet and crazy party in stark contrast to it’s normal laid back atmosphere. Revelers from all over Thailand and abroad come to experience the party around the cities moat.

If you’re wondering, Songkran is the water festival celebration of the Thai New Year. It grew from the original unassuming concept of washing the hands of family elders, into the modern mega party. Officially running from 13 – 15 April it seems the entire population is out on the streets attempting to drown each other in as much water as possible.

Water everywhere – Songkran 2010 at Soho Bar

Some are out along along the roadsides, and get their ammunition from the nearest hosepipe. Others lounge in the back of pick up trucks which maraud through the city with a large drum of water, plenty of buckets, high powered water pistols and plenty of liquid refreshments! No body is safe! Don’t imagine that wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase will protect you from a drenching. Even uniformed policemen get soaked!

So where should you go to celebrate Songkran in Chiang Mai? A great choice is Soho bar, open everyday from 12 noon with cheap beer and wine coolers during the day, lots of water and plenty of fun. After the water throwing stops, around 6 p.m. Soho offers it’s normal bar service until late! That section on Huay Kaew road is closed to traffic during the daytime festival and packed with people going to the big party stages outside Kad Suan Kaew 200m down the road.

Revelers at Soho - Songkran 2010
Songkran Partygoers at Soho Bar

Just up the Road from Soho, Soupasteak will be selling fast food outside the restaurant as well as cooling beer. Apart from the big party outside Kadsuan Kaew, Thapae Gate is another major area for festivities, as is all the way around the moat; with traffic at little more than walking pace for most of the day you can just follow the procession and join in.

In previous years, the area around Lucky bar, on Kotchasarn Road (near the top of Loy Kroh Road) has always been popular with the gay crowd for some moatside action. This year we also have the welcome addition of Yokka Dok, just across the moat from there, which is also open for fun.

Despite the modern party themes and activities, Songkran has it’s routes in ancient traditions and beliefs, which is still reflected in the number of cultural and traditional activities to complement the water throwing. For a list of this years activities, visit the Chiang Mai Mail

If you have any special events for Songkran please let us know, we will be happy to publicise them here and it’s free!

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