The “Wan Lai” water-throwing finales in Naklua, April 18, and Pattaya, April 19, saw streets mobbed with soggy, powder-covered and sometimes-drunken revelers with street vendors offering up more weapons and drink, and police trying to break up fights, keep an eye out for handbag snatchers and keep traffic at least crawling.
Scorching heat and foreboding clouds couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Pattaya-area residents and tourists as they brought the annual Songkran festival to a water-soaked close.
Some attempts at reverence were made. In Naklua, religious services began at Lan Po Park at 7 a.m., followed by the giving of dried food and rice as alms to 90 monks from Wat Jittapawan. Former Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome, Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho and Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome led the ceremony, which was followed by ceremonial water sprinkling onto a Lord Buddha statue and onto the hands of elderly representatives from Pattaya’s 44 neighborhoods. Then came the annual Lord Buddha parade through the market and park communities.
Former Chonburi MP Poramet Ngampichet pours water on the hands of Diana Group MD Sopin Thappajug.
Around Naklua Soi 13, police helped tourists and directed traffic, particularly on North Road, which was surprisingly clear of cars headed west. The same could not be said of Sukhumvit Road, which was bumper-to-bumper throughout the day.
On April 19 in Pattaya, Itthiphol and former MP Poramet Ngampichet started the alms-giving ceremony at Chaimongkol Temple, then sprinkled water on a Lord Buddha statue and the elderly an hour later.
Robert John Lohrmann, General Manager of Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, pours water on the hotel’s Lord Buddha image.
As part of the Thai traditions organized by the temple, sand pagodas were built by residents from the Wat Chaimongkol, Arunothai, Kophai and Soi Yensabai communities while contestants climbed oily posts for prizes and cheers.
The elderly also were paid respect to, and listened to dharma lessons at the Sanctuary of Truth during its water-pouring ceremony. More than 30 senior citizens attended and blessed temple administrators and employees.
Elephants at Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens pour lustral water on the Buddha statues there.
Nine monks from Banglamung and Jittapawan temples performed religious ceremonies while 50 employees from Queen Sirikit Naval Medical Center and members of the Laem Ratchawaet Elderly Club participated in traditional activities.
The Diana Group and Pattaya Journalists Association organized a similar ceremony for employees and more than 20 rescued children at the Diana Garden Resort. Phra Chonyanmunee, abbot of Uthokkhep Simaram Temple, and Watchara Netnoi, judge at the Court of Appeals Region 4, presided over the event, which featured meditation and dharma lessons.
Pattaya citizens pour water on a Lord Buddha image during Naklua’s Wan Lai.
Diana Group Managing Director Sopin Thappajug led the water-pouring ceremony with Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, along with current and former city officials.
The Diana Group and journalist association donated 10,000 baht to sponsor a vegetable garden project at the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child-Abuse Center and 11,200 baht for disabled programs at the Sattahip Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education.
Pattaya’s annual Buddha parade then slogged through the streets from the temple to Walking Street, with revelers pouring water on anything that moved. The entire parade route was lined by citizens pouring water on a Lord Buddha statue, and were in turn sprayed with holy water by monks.
The quieter side of Songkran - Citizens present alms to monks, offering rice and dried food at Lan Po Public Park.
The Pattaya Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department staged a fire truck outside Central Festival Pattaya Beach to offer water to revelers, who filled a closed Beach Road from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A thousand police officers and volunteers were out in force to keep order. There were a few fights and drunken disorderly events, and police did have to contend with 10 reports of bag snatchings, some purportedly by a Vietnamese gang using sharp blades to slice open bags and steal smartphones.
There was plenty of Songkran activity happening elsewhere as well.
Former Culture Chairperson Sukumol Kunplome dances in the parade.
Up to 500 people attended a “Drink, Dive, Duck” party on Pattaya’s Songkran day Saturday at the A-One Royal Cruise Hotel while Richman Toy, Pek Phalitchom, Dome Jaruwat, and Ten-Ploy Mike Idol headlined a concert at the Hard Rock Hotel.
City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai hosted Central Festival Pattaya Beach’s “Wan Lai” party at the beachfront mall and the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort organized an alms-giving ceremony and water-pouring event for Thai and foreign guests, as well as about 50 employees.
‘Lao Kratop Mai’ or the bamboo tapping dance being performed by students from Pattaya School No. 9.
General Manager Robert John Lohrmann invited nine monks from Chaimongkol Temple to accept alms and offer New Year’s blessings.
Finally, in Sattahip, District Chief Phawat Lertmukda and his wife Naphat, the head of the Sattahip Red Cross, led representatives from the public and private sectors to the area’s Lord Buddha water-pouring ceremony.
Phawat blessed and thanked everyone who attended for making Sattahip a livable district. He encouraged them to continue working for residents and eradicate drugs.
Dancers perform in traditional Thai dress.
Pattaya students dance to the song “Malengpoo Tom Dok” (bees swarming over flowers).
Citizens scream in delight after the cash atop the oiled post was successfully retrieved.
Everyone, both Thai and foreign, enjoys Songkran in Pattaya.
Dome Jaruwat, The Star 8, sings ‘Ruang Jing Ruang Sudthai’.
Pek Phalitchom sings his hit song ‘Rue Khae Khum Khum’.
Giving Charlie’s Angels a run for their money.
Beautiful pretties enjoy Songkran at Big C in North Pattaya.
Go ahead! Hit the target and watch the girl fall into the water.
Getting around on a motorbike during Songkran is not always the safest.
The A-One Royal Cruise Hotel organized a mini-concert and foam party, and provided water to Thai and foreign customers.
These guys set up their own foam party on Thepprasit Road.
Youths sure have fun throwing water on each other.
Ready or not, here it comes!
A lovely lass from the A-One Royal Cruise Hotel fills guests water bottles.
The youngsters certainly enjoy spraying water on people they don’t know.
Even the motorcycle taxis are fair game.
Sukhumvit was all but closed down during the festivities.