Songkran in Chiang Mai

Alena, volunteer from Germany in ICL Phayao Project (RPK24) August 2022- August 2023 

Songkran is the New Year celebration in Thailand and lasts for several days. We were in Chiang Mai over the time, where Songkran is celebrated very extensively. Water fights and parades as well as music and dance. This was the first time for me to experience a Thai holiday first hand, as I was sick in bed in November at the time of Loi Krathong. Those were some unforgettable days I spent together with my roommate, her boyfriend and a friend.

We took the bus from Chiang Kham to Chiang Mai on April 12. The bus ride with the Green Bus is very pleasant, it takes about four and a half hours, but you spend it relaxing in an air-conditioned vehicle. On the first evening we also got to know what the water during the Songkran festival is all about, because on the way to the restaurant we were showered with buckets of water. However, this was a welcome refreshment due to the very high temperatures.

After the first night in the guest house, the festival really started. There was loud music playing in the streets and everyone splashed each other with water guns or filled buckets. We then also first equipped ourselves with water pistols and walked along the main street. At first I was still hesitant to get strangers wet, but as soon as I was soaking wet myself, I didn't mind shooting back. Anyway, we had a lot of fun.

Around the early afternoon hours, we found a good spot in the shade to watch the parade from. This consisted of several festival floats on which there were images of Buddha or shrines, which were then sprinkled with water by the locals to bring good luck, as was explained to us.

In the evening, exhausted from all the running around, we went to bed early. We spent the next few days visiting temples and sites in Chiang Mai. The most beautiful, in my opinion, was Wat Chiang Man.

On May 17, I said goodbye to my friends and took the bus back to Chiang Kham by myself. There I was picked up by one of the teachers of my school and taken to a picnic by the river to " post-celebrate" Songkran together.

All in all, I had a great time. I like that my project gives me the freedom to travel around during the vacations, because it allows me to get to know my host country better and meet new people. I had so much fun in Chiang Mai and I will surely travel to Thailand again during Thai New Year in the future.

Alena, 06 May 2023