When Jordan and I booked our brief trip to Thailand we had no clue what was in store for us – truly, we were complete amateurs when it came to Southeast Asia travel. We began researching hotels, restaurants, you know the usual suspects and shortly into our studies realized that we would be visiting on a national holiday – Thai New Year. We though that sounded pretty neat, after all, who doesn’t love a good celebration. We later found out how the Thai’s celebrate their New Year… with a country wide three day water fight. That’s right, supersoakers and all, a country wide festival of dumping water on each other.
The origin of this celebration is actually based in the Buddhist temples. As a part of the Thai New Year celebration, Thai’s will visit the temple and wash the Buddha statues with water, cleansing themselves for the new year. As the new year happens to fall in the hottest part of the summer (we can attest to this) the tradition extended into what is known as Songkran. As it turns out the three days festival fell onto the three days we would be visiting the city. Being still relatively new to travel I was a little overwhelmed by this idea of not being able to walk out the front door of my hotel without getting drenched.
As it turns out, I worried over nothing (as Jordan would say I usually do). It turned out to be the absolute highlight of our trip. As you can see in the photos below, we ad no trouble making new friends (or allies, depending on how you looked at it). We had such a blast enjoying the fun nature of this celebration, but we enjoyed it even more because it felt like we were enjoying a true piece of Thai culture.
I write all of this to say two main things: 1) Don’t believe everything people say online. Yes, it is important to be prepared and to research for your own personal safety. That being said, if I believed everything I read on the internet about Songkran, I would have cancelled the trip! 2) Experience local holidays – So many countries have rich histories and vibrant festivals and celebrations. If your travel timeframe is flexible, search for those! They can be a once in a lifetime way to experience the world of those around you… and have a little fun in the process.