Water everywhere as Pattaya brings Songkran to a close

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These traditional Thai dancers from Pattaya School #9 manage to stay beautiful during their performance, even in the sweltering heat and the water splashing fun of Wan Lai in Pattaya.  Gridlocked traffic and relentless heat didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Pattaya-area residents and tourists as they splashed their way to the end of another well-attended Songkran festival last week.

Gridlocked traffic and relentless heat didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Pattaya-area residents and tourists as they splashed their way to the end of another well-attended Songkran festival.

The “wan lai” water-throwing finales in Naklua April 18, and Pattaya April 19, saw streets mobbed with soggy, powder-covered revelers interspersed with music and a smattering of religious rites.

These traditional Thai dancers from Pattaya School #9 manage to stay beautiful during their performance, even in the sweltering heat and the water splashing fun of Wan Lai in Pattaya.  Gridlocked traffic and relentless heat didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Pattaya-area residents and tourists as they splashed their way to the end of another well-attended Songkran festival last week. These traditional Thai dancers from Pattaya School #9 manage to stay beautiful during their performance, even in the sweltering heat and the water splashing fun of Wan Lai in Pattaya.  Gridlocked traffic and relentless heat didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Pattaya-area residents and tourists as they splashed their way to the end of another well-attended Songkran festival last week.

On April 18th was the official wan lai in Naklua and North Pattaya area where a religious “rod nam dam hua” ceremony was held, chaired by former Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome and top area officials.

Thirty seniors, including deputy mayors and city council members, were invited to join the ceremony which saw scented water gently poured over palms in exchange for New Year’s blessings at Lan Po Public Park.

Thousands of residents participated in the traditional water pouring ceremony while they asked the leaders of the city for blessings.

Modern Songkran tradition – complete with drenching by water guns and buckets – followed in Naklua and, the next day, on Beach Road in Pattaya. Water trucks were provided by the Provincial Waterworks Authority.

Sanctuary of Truth Managing Director Pijarn Weeriyapan organized a Buddhist relics parade around Pattaya for residents to participate in lustral water-pouring before the water wars reached their peak.Sanctuary of Truth Managing Director Pijarn Weeriyapan organized a Buddhist relics parade around Pattaya for residents to participate in lustral water-pouring before the water wars reached their peak.

Meanwhile, Central Festival Pattaya Beach threw a large celebration, attracting thousands of people to its ground floor where water was mixed with musical performances. A huge hose soaked the crowd as celebrants tried to stay cool.

The day also saw the traditional Songkran parade, with monks from Chaimongkol Temple hosting religious ceremonies and residents pouring water on statues of the Lord Buddha for good luck.

Nong Plalai held a traditional “ramwong” dance performance. Attendees dressed in traditional Thai costume and sales booths offered locally made products and food.

Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens always has striking floats in their Songkran parade, this one honoring HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her 5th Cycle, 60th birthday.Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens always has striking floats in their Songkran parade, this one honoring HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her 5th Cycle, 60th birthday.

Pattaya police and volunteers were located all over town, trying to free gridlocked traffic and manning checkpoints that tested people for drunk driving while looking for weapons.

More than 100,000 people were estimated to have spent their time celebrating Songkran in Pattaya April 18-19. But Beach Road wasn’t the only place for Thai New Year activities.

Many residents joined the more traditional “Song Nam Pra” ceremony at Wat Samakee Pracharam.Many residents joined the more traditional “Song Nam Pra” ceremony at Wat Samakee Pracharam.

Songkran, however, begins officially on April 13 and organizations throughout the area marked the holiday with various activities.

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden got a jump on festivities with its “Blooming Flowers of Songkran” celebration with Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Tourism Authority of Thailand Pattaya Director Suladda Sarutilavan April 13.

The day began with a lustral water pouring ceremony for blessings and good fortune in the new year and continued with concerts and contests.

The highlight of the event was 40 young elephants shooting water at tourists and a parade with thousands of flowers organized to commemorate the 60th birthday of HRH Princess Sirindhorn.

The Sanctuary of Truth in Naklua, meanwhile, organized a Buddhist relics parade around Pattaya for residents to participate in lustral water-pouring before the water wars reached their peak.

A Buddha image was situated near Wat Chaimongkol for residents to ask for blessings.A Buddha image was situated near Wat Chaimongkol for residents to ask for blessings.

Sanctuary Managing Director Pijarn Weeriyapan kicked off the parade April 13 at 8:09 a.m. It traveled from the wooden temple to Naklua Soi 12 and headed towards Lan Po Public Park and the Naklua Market, where vendors and residents lined up to pour scented water on Buddha statues and relics.

The parade then moved to Beach Road and plodded along towards Walking Street before heading towards Chaimongkol Temple and Pattaya School No. 8.

The parade was a great attraction for foreign tourists and residents, as they came out to receive blessings and get splashed by the holy water from Buddhist monks.

City officials and guests lead the Buddhist relics parade around Pattaya.City officials and guests lead the Buddhist relics parade around Pattaya.

The parade proceeded back to Pattaya School No. 7, Nong Pang Kae, and the Pattaya Floating Market before returning to the sanctuary.

Chonburi Province had its own parade and water-pouring ceremony for seniors. Two senior citizens from each district were invited to participate in the traditional rod nam dam hua ceremony, including the governor of Chonburi, Khomsan Ekachai.

The floats were judged and trophies awarded, with the decorated vehicle from Banglamung District winning the top prize and 50,000 baht among the 11 entrants.

Songkran activities included merit making ceremonies in Naklua near the Lan Pho Park area.Songkran activities included merit making ceremonies in Naklua near the Lan Pho Park area.

It is one of the most fun holidays for the elephants at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.It is one of the most fun holidays for the elephants at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.

Yes, thank you, the cool water feels great on this hot day.Yes, thank you, the cool water feels great on this hot day.

Armed and ready for action.Armed and ready for action.

It’s all a bit much, time for a snooze.It’s all a bit much, time for a snooze.

Looking for her next target.Looking for her next target.

 Incoming! Incoming!

PCEC secretary Sali Thesasophon came from Bangkok to celebrate Wan Lai in Pattaya.PCEC secretary Sali Thesasophon came from Bangkok to celebrate Wan Lai in Pattaya.

Trying to drive through Naklua was an effort, even on motorbikes.Trying to drive through Naklua was an effort, even on motorbikes.

Just outside the Night Bazaar on Thepprasit Road was a scene of crazy fun.Just outside the Night Bazaar on Thepprasit Road was a scene of crazy fun.

How much fun can an entire nation have?  This much for sure.How much fun can an entire nation have?  This much for sure.

Of course the police are not immune from the good natured fun.Of course the police are not immune from the good natured fun.

Trying to enter Pattaya was almost impossible from Sukhumvit.Trying to enter Pattaya was almost impossible from Sukhumvit.

The Sunken area of Central Festival Pattaya Beach was packed as well, splashing water and dancing to the concerts held there.The Sunken area of Central Festival Pattaya Beach was packed as well, splashing water and dancing to the concerts held there.

The entire Pattaya Beach Road was packed with countless numbers of water throwers from north to south.The entire Pattaya Beach Road was packed with countless numbers of water throwers from north to south.