Pattaya-area Thais gave Pattaya’s Songkran Day water party lukewarm reviews with many saying previous “Wan Lai” festivals were more fun.
The less-than-enthusiastic reaction to the manic April 19 water fight may reflect the general dour mood among many Thais due to the country’s long-running political turmoil and the resulting downturn in tourism.
Janjira Phetsuwan, a 26-year-old clerk at the Pattaya Outlet Mall, said Wan Lai was not “as fun nor as successful as last year.” She said there were fewer people celebrating and there were too many Cambodian and Burmese laborers participating.
Phanoi Prasert said she enjoys Wan Lai very much.
Clothing retailer Pronpimol Futhap, 30, was dismayed at the sight of many young Thais who were scantily dressed on Beach Road.
“Many were half-naked and drunk,” she said. “I think Songkran ought to stick to traditional ways, but it seems that many teenagers took this chance to get attention from others in a bad way.”
Archan Ouarun, 19, also said the party wasn’t as fun as last year. “In my opinion, if there were fewer accidents and wrangling among people, I think this festival would be perfect,” he said.
Archan Ouarun said he hoped there would be no accidents during the Wan Lai festival.
Another Outlet Mall clerk, Phanoi Prasert, 22, said this year’s Wan Lai seemed the same as last year, except there was a bit of a water shortage on Walking Street. “I went to Walking Street with my big gang of friends and all of us extremely enjoyed water splashing, she said.
Mr. CC (who didn’t want to give his real name) is a long term expat in Pattaya. He said that he very much enjoyed the Wan Lai festival and he found it is a highlight event in Pattaya.
Miss Gift, Cherry and Nan say Wan Lai this year was less crowded than last year.
Promotional models Gift, Cherry and Nan said they spent April 19 working on Beach Road and Soi 7 and saw fewer tourists than last year. They said most people they saw respected the Wan Lai tradition, but others just used the day to “assault others just for fun.”