Thailand's water festival, Songkran, is a great experience and an opportunity to mix, and get soaked, with the local population, says Roberto Cabarcos
Give a man a water gun and you will almost certainly turn him into a nine-year-old child.
Thailand's water festival, Songkran coincides with its old Buddhist New Year, and although the religious connotations may have been diluted, this may be your best experience to truly mix with the local population throughout the country.
Although this year the festival coincided with the recent political troubles, the festival was never cancelled. In the sweltering heat of the tropic's dry season, there are few things as refreshing as being drenched by a bucket of cold water, or shot at with a water gun by some old dear seated on a chair by the side of the road.
All over Bangkok children and adults ambush passers-by, attacking with eagerly re-filled buckets, water guns and hoses. Things get heavier if you get to the nominated festival areas, then it's open warfare. People also wish you a happy new year by covering your face with clay.
Somehow there is not a single person that seems to take it badly, from the tourists that are targeted by the local old ladies, to the tuk tuk drivers revenged by tourists for their constant hassling, or even the police force.
There has been a level of commercialisation of the festival (water is being sold in key places), but head off the main street, and there is always a family that would love you to fill your gun for free in their house...as you long as you let them soak you to death...and you soak them in return of course.Read Roberto's blog hereRead more Bangkok tips here
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