Perhaps no subject draws as vehement an opinion of Pattaya as the city’s Songkran celebration.
Opinions of the week-long water fight generally depend on how many Thai New Year celebrations a tourist or expat have endured. Newcomers, especially young ones, seem thrilled with the idea of splashing anyone and everyone with water, no matter how cold the liquid or what the victim is wearing.
Many experienced hands hate it. Even those with complimentary things to say about the way Pattaya celebrates temper their words with caution.
British expat Julie Lythgoe said she’s spent several Songkran holidays in Pattaya. She initially liked the traditional, funny and unique festival and enjoyed watching people splashing water on each other. But Lythgoe also recalled the many road accidents caused by careless revelers throwing water in the faces of moving motorcyclists and fights fueled by excessive alcohol abuse.
Julie Lythgoe has witnessed a number of Songkran celebrations.
Thais, she said, are much more considerate when throwing water than foreign tourists.
Another Briton, identified only as “C.J.”, said he’s been living in Pattaya for three years after coming four times for Songkran as a tourist. He recalled how exciting his first Songkrans were, but offers plenty of warnings to newbies: Beware of ice thrown by some, powerful water jets blasted by others and do not go outside at all during daylight if you want to remain dry.
Pawilai from Udon Thani says the holiday is much different here in Pattaya than in her home town.
Thai tourist Pawilai from Udon Thani marveled at how differently Pattaya celebrates Songkran compared with her hometown. She said ice, powerful water guns and sticky powder are used only in Pattaya, where there are also many more foreigners fighting water battles.
C.J. (right) and his younger brother enjoy the reveling.